News by VICE

Why a black family kept racist graffiti on their house

People drove for hours just to look at it and take pictures.

by Dexter Thomas
Mar 19 2019, 3:31pm

DENVER — In March, someone spray-painted racist graffiti — including the word "nigger" and crude drawings of lynchings — all over the front of the house of a black family in Denver.

But instead of painting over it immediately, the homeowners decided to leave it up — to force their community to have a conversation about hate. For a week, their house became a weird tourist attraction, with people driving for hours to come take pictures and talk to the family.

Homeowner Ken Jenkins said he initially wanted to hide the graffiti from his two sons, age 3 and 9. But he decided that seeing hate sprayed all over their family home would be educational — if painful.

“You won't change anything if you don't [show it to them],” he said. “How would your son understand it later, when he deals with it?”

VICE News visited the family to ask how that conversation was going.

This segment originally aired March 12, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.