GREENVILLE CO., SC (WSPA) – A Greenville high school student is the target of hate spray-painted on a popular Greenville County natural attraction.
The message calls Wade Hampton High School senior, Asha Marie, a curse word followed by the n-word.
“I don’t want to say that I was shocked because it’s not that surprising that something like this would happen to me,” Asha Marie said. “I’m actually surprised it didn’t happen sooner.”
Asha Marie believes she was targeted after leading the charge this past spring in creating a petition to change the name of Wade Hampton High School, not wanting to glorify the general and his racist history. She says her idea was met with a lot of opposition.
“People definitely said some nasty things…It’s mostly just been online hate from strangers,” Asha Marie said.
However, she says this is the first time it’s been written out in such a way that she felt personally attacked.
“I really have put myself out in a public position condemning racism in Greenville, and saying hey let’s break down these barriers, let’s talk about the elephant in the room, and a lot of people don’t like that,” Asha Marie said.
The DNR heritage preserve manager says his team has seen racist and anti-Semitic messages on the rock before. He says vandalism and graffiti at Bald Rock have been a constant problem. The DNR sandblasted the rock in the past but says within a week it was covered with graffiti again. They say now that option is too expensive, and they’re running out of ways to deal with fix the issue, short of closing the park. However, Asha Marie says the hurtful words could serve a purpose.
“People should be able to see it,” Asha Marie said. “People should be outraged. People should be upset about this.”
She says it could continue the dialogue on racism.
“It’s right in front of our faces,” Asha Marie said. “It does exist because someone in our community wrote this in a public space.”
She said she hopes the community uses this instance to promote acceptance.
“The best way to fight hate is with love,” Asha Marie said.
The DNR says they would welcome anyone to work with them and volunteer to help clean up some of the graffiti. People can call (864) 986-6242 if they would like to volunteer.