In a recent effort to tackle race relations, some county social workers were sent to New Orleans to a conference held by the National Association of Black Social Workers.Brian Parnell said he and his co-workers attended the conference, but Parnell said he wasn't allowed inside because of the color of his skin.
Parnell is Caucasian, and he said he never made it in the conference.
"I approached the registration table and was greeted by a very friendly fellow who looked me in the eye and said, 'Are you black?'" said Parnell. "I told him that I'm not and he told me that the conference was only for people who were black and so I wasn't able to register to attend the conference."
Convinced the individual had mis-spoke, Parnell said he contacted his fellow co-workers and his superior in Bakersfield.
"I was able to speak with a conference chair at the conference who basically reiterated to me the same thing that Brian has been told," said, Parnell's supervisor, Pat Cheadle.
"I was shocked," said Parnell. "I was surprised that in 2005, I could be singled out because of the color of my skin."
The organization's website is down, but the Dallas Chapter website is running. While it doesn't overtly exclude other races, it does focus on empowering the black community.
Local attorney Richard Papst said since the organization is non-profit and tax-exempt, if the discrimination occurred, there could be huge consequences.
"They could lose their tax-exempt status and then be subject to all the usual tax obligations that everybody else has," said Papst.
Parnell hasn't decided whether to take legal action, but he has filed a civil rights claim with the federal government.
No one from the National Association of Black Social Workers were available to comment at this time.