Most people understand there is nothing playful about national disasters but a Texas woman posted disturbing comments about New Orleans residents on her Facebook page over the weekend. Black Boot News received screenshots of posts made by Janet Hoskins Dickerson on Facebook.
It didn’t take long for people to remind her of how insensitive her post was. It read…
“I heard New Orleans is mad that we are getting Harvey instead of them. They said they haven’t gotten new TVs since Katrina.”
Very quickly people copied the post and the comments came in numbers. One person who shared her post was very disappointed because she was a former student of Mrs. Dickerson. As the negative comments poured in, Dickerson took the post down. However, it didn’t matter. It had been screenshot and shared all over social media.
Of course, people make negative comments every day on Facebook but what made this post disturbing is that Dickerson’s bio on Facebook describes her as an employee of the Texas Board of Pardons & Paroles. When Black Boot News received the information from several concerned Facebook supporters we reached out to her for clarity on her original post.
After days of no response from Dickerson, we wanted to varify that she was a real person and not a social media catfish. Texas has Pardon & Parole Board Offices in Austin, Amarillo, Angleton, Gatesville, Huntsville, Palenstine, and San Antonio. Our staff spent two hours on the phone calling each of these offices and nobody in any of the offices had even heard of Janet Hoskins Dickerson.
One of our journalists called the Texas Criminal Justice Department and no one in that office had heard of Dickerson either. So, just out of curiosity our staff member re-called one of the offices and asked for the Human Resources Department. After speaking with Human Resources, we found out she is a real person, definitely employed by their office, and she is a Parole Officer at a branch that is not listed on their site.
According to Human Resources, Dickerson is a Parole Officer at the Beeville Institution of Parole.
What made her post so alarming was her ability to form a general perception of an entire city of people according to the actions of a few of them in their weakest moment. It means her judgement of the people she is hired to monitor can be clouded by her personal opinions of others who look like them.
A person on Facebook named Ibiene Inyang responsed to Dickerson’s post with a picture of dead bodies collected in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. She insinuated that Dickerson’s petty post was unacceptable and ruefully sarcastic. Dickerson replied in such manner that she was unapologetic about her original post. Rather than accept the responsibility of her pettiness as a Texas State Official she ignored how insulting her post was and brought up looting in New Orleans again.
Interesting though, about 45 minutes from the Beeville Pardon & Parole Office, the closest major city is Victoria, Texas. The Victoria Advocate, a local newspaper in Victoria, TX posted a story about looters in their own area during the hurricane.
During the same weekend, Harvey swept through the very region that Dickerson works in and more than likely lives in. Homes were destroyed. People were injured. Businesses were flooded and looters… well they must’ve drove all the way from New Orleans because they showed up in several Texas cities over the weekend.
It is never acceptable to joke about natural disasters anywhere. It’s especially unacceptable to generalize an entire city for the actions of a few of them. If you’re brave enough to make insulting comments then you should be brave enough to apologize for them. The citizens of New Orleans understand clearly what citizens of Houston and the Texas region are going through. The seriousness of these deadly catastrophic storms are nothing to joke about.
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