Thursday, December 1, 2016

Tut, Tut. It Looks Like Rain

So it seems we have a pattern going. Student uses social media to make violent racist threats. School system responds with what looks like a form letter which uses words like "hurtful" or "unfortunate."

This is crazy. Why does this keep happening? This time a student in Oakland Mills (Oakland Mills? Really?) has used social media, including YouTube, to publish racist views and violent threats. Fellow students have again taken to Twitter to call out this behavior. One wonders if they will be the ones to suffer consequences from the school system for asking the public to look at this.

When someone publishes hate speech and /or violent threats, it causes actual harm to actual people. And when the people authority go to great lengths to avoid calling it what it is, they add to that harm. As I said the last time this came up:

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.

Recently a video has been making the rounds on social media of Dr. David Anderson of Bridgeway Community Church speaking with a young woman who was at the center of another racist social media post. This video has received a lot of praise. Certainly Dr. Anderson is a Christian pastor whose focus would naturally be Christian reconciliation. In addition he is well-known for fostering community conversations about overcoming racial divides. 

I would feel better about his video if he had also given a platform for students harmed by the racist messages. I am uneasy that his focus is solely on the perpetrator. Where is a voice for the victims? 

Sadly I don't really have much more to say on this subject than I did the last time it reared its ugly head. I applaud the students who are shining a light on this behavior. As one said:

I'm sick of hcpss principals copying and pasting from the same template to excuse the racist actions of students.

Making excuses deepens the harm. We shouldn't be asking our kids to bear that extra insult from people they should be able to trust.


Just read this piece by OMHS student Rosa Kirk-Davidoff in he Columbia Flier. Too good to omit. Please read.

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