BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Buffalo pastor Darius Pridgen is reacting to stunning statements made by a man following a possible hate crime in the Old First Ward. He says those comments have opened a necessary Pandora's Box.
On Thursday, while investigating a possible race-related arson fire, News 4 interviewed a man who made comments that shocked many of our viewers.
The man stated, "People in these neighborhoods don't want those type of people moving down here and destroying the property value so when things like that happen it shouldn't such a shock."
And what did he mean by "those types of people?"
The man responded, "Minorities. African Americans."
|>> EXTENDED VIDEO: Watch Ed Drantch's full interview with this man to hear his complete shocking comments on race in Buffalo.|
The South Buffalo man's comments have created a buzz in Buffalo. Friday morning he called into the Shredd and Ragan show on 103.3 The Edge, hoping to set the record straight.
The radio hosts said, "I think what's come across is that you believe black people ruin neighborhoods."
The man responded, "Well they just happen to ruin this one and I'm not going to take back what I said. Because I firmly believe in what I said."
He told News 4 on Thursday, "I don't feel there's anything wrong with [what I'm saying]. A lot of people would feel wrong about it but I don't."
His comments created headlines around the region, opening a dialogue about race relations in the city.
Rev. Pridgen said, "I'm going to be honest. When I first heard it, it blew my socks off; I couldn't believe it."
Rev. Pridgen used the News 4 interview as a conversation piece on his raido show. He says our interview exposed what many think, but don't say - even in 2012.
"I was almost kind of happy about it. And the reason I was happy about is because if I bring up race, people say he's using the race card because I am African American. Cut to hear somebody else bring up race and to be very honest about how they felt, it was almost like an "ah-ha" moment... we can finally have this conversation that there are people who still feel that whole groups of people are wrong because of the actions of a few."
|>> EXTENDED VIDEO: Watch Ed Drantch's full interview with Rev. Darius Pridgen.|
Seeing the intense reaction from the community, we took the interview to Mayor Byron Brown.
"I think those kinds of views have no place in our society today," the mayor said. "We need to be a tolerant people; we need to respect the diversity of this community."
Pridgen added, "Here it is - it's in front of us. We've just been ignoring it, hoping it would go away. Obviously it's not."
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