I had another post lined up for today. It will have to wait.
This week two separate incidents of Howard County students using social media to publicly share racist hate speech and threats have come to light. And when am say "come to light" I really mean that African American students found them and exposed them. They shared them, and shared them, and shared them.
Why? Because they don't trust the school system to address this unless they are publicly forced to do so. I think that parents who have tried to get a response from the school system on bullying, or mold, or special education have a pretty good idea where these students are coming from.
If you have a sense of trust that your concerns will be addressed fairly you don't feel the need to shout for justice from the mountain tops.
I have seen a variety of responses to what these students posted. Most, like me, are outraged,disgusted, heartbroken. But there are some people who appear to be more concerned about the perpetrators of the racist posts than they are about the victims. They focus on handwringing over "kids don't understand that what they post on social media could be a mark on their reputation forever."
While I harbor no wish that these students come to any harm, I completely reject that notion that they are the people we should be concerned about right now. One parent said, "I hope no one gets hurt."
Someone has already been hurt. Every African American student who has to deal with this is hurt. Hate speech, especially hate speech that promotes violence, is not a victimless crime. How on earth do we propose that students get a decent education if they are in an environment that threatens and degrades them? No one can thrive in a state of fear. These students' right to an education is compromised by this.
Can we maybe talk about that?
Racist behavior should be called out. We shouldn't be hushing it up. Yes, it's really ugly. I think we have to sit with how uncomfortable that is. My priority is how this makes minority students feel, period.
One of the perpetrators goes to my daughter's school. Some people may now generalize that the school itself is a racist community. While I don't agree with that assessment, that's just not the point. It's too bad if people say mean things about our school.
It is horrific that minority students are traumatized.
FYI: Black Lives Matter Vigil, Sunday November 13th, 4-5 pm, at Governor Warfield & Windstream, Columbia, MD