Thursday, May 22, 2008

White Student Wearing Racist T-Shirt Mocking African Americans

Fleming senior wears racist T-shirt to school

Those are the words a former senior at Fleming Island High School remembers hearing as he walked from his fifth-period algebra class toward the gym. The 18-year-old, who is not being identified due to his family's concerns of safety, had just taken off his Dixie Outfitter T-shirt, exposing a highly offensive shirt.

"What about it?" replied the 18-year-old, skinny and white.

"Well, you know it's racial," said a black student, now in a group confronting the 18-year-old.

"Yeah. So?"

The undershirt the white student wore had a confederate flag on the front with the words "Keep it flying." On the back, a cartoon depicted a group of hooded Klansmen standing outside a church, waving to two others who had just pulled away in a car reading "Just married."

Two black men in nooses were being dragged behind. Upset by the shirt, a 17-year-old black student hit the white student in the head. A crowd of about 100 students gathered to watch the Aug. 29 fight before authorities intervened.

The white student said he left the school following a three-day suspension. He said he was supposed to go back on a Friday but school officials called and asked his family to keep him home until the following week because "the school's in an uproar."

"Everybody was threatening to come jump me, so we were like, whatever," he said. "So I'm not going to deal with it over some stupid shirt."
Clay County school officials said the incident is isolated and both students involved were disciplined "quickly and appropriately," although they would not release specifics citing privacy concerns.

"There's no way you can prevent it when you've got students coming and bringing an attitude like that to school," said Ben Wortham, deputy superintendent.
Principal Sam Ward said Fleming Island High School's dress code prohibits such apparel, but faculty were unaware the student wore the shirt because it was covered.

"If this kid had this shirt on for very long, some teacher or administrator would have gotten him," Ward said. "... When you put this many people together, every once in a while you're gonna have somebody that does something immature and wrong."
Sgt. Darin Lee of the Clay County Sheriff's Office investigated the altercation and found no criminal action.

Lee said the white student didn't want to press charges against the 17-year-old who hit him. Offensive as it may have been, the former student's shirt is protected by free speech, Lee added.

The white student, who is now enrolled at a community college, said he got the shirt about a week before the incident for $10 at a flea market. He said he typically took off his shirt on the way to the gym, and on that day he didn't think about what he wore underneath.

He said he put the shirt on in the morning because he planned to wear it to a party that night with others who, like him, had enlisted in the Marines.

"I'm not racist or anything," he said. "It's just, some people I hate, some people I don't get along with. And black people just happen to be the ones because they think they're better than everyone else."
The student said his parents were shocked at his decision, Mom dismayed and Dad disappointed.

"I just can't believe you'd wear a shirt like that to school," he said was their reaction. "My mom was kind of upset about it. My dad was like, whatever, it's your life."

The 18-year-old said he has friends who are black, and he said he does not think they would be mad at him because they know he would not do what was depicted on the shirt.

Although a friend has borrowed the shirt, the man said it is "more than likely" he'll keep it in his own wardrobe.

"I'm a redneck," he said. "But no, I'm not racist."

Works Cited

Schmidt, Brad. “Fleming senior wears racist T-shirt to school.” The Times-Union 15 September 2005. The Times-Union. 20 May 2008 .

African American High School Student Gunned Down by Hispanic Gangs

With his mother serving a second tour of duty in Iraq, 17-year old Los Angeles High School football star Jamiel Shaw Jr. was doing everything in his life to make her proud before he was fatally gunned down by male Hispanic gang members just minutes away from his 5th Ave. home in West Los Angeles early Sunday evening on March 2nd.

As the City planned an emergency meeting at George Washington Carver Middle School on Tuesday, March 4 to discuss solutions to the increasing shooting deaths in the Newton police region, the senseless murder of Shaw delivered yet another blow that also left the specter of ethnic tensions between Blacks and Hispanics.

Shaw was a young Black teenager who was known for regularly attending church and had emerged as a rising football star for his high school team, gaining attention from prestigious academic institutions such as Stanford and Rutgers, according his coach Hardy Williams.

As he walked home from the local mall at approximately 8 p.m. on that tragic evening, he was on his cell phone with his girl friend Chrystale Miles when the white compact sedan pulled along side him. He was asked what “set” he was from and before he could answer, he was shot multiple times. The suspects then got out of the vehicle and shot him again.

Shaw was not a gang member according to relatives and friends. LAPD spokesman Lee Sands told the Sentinel this week that the department is investigating the shooting death as a random act of gang violence.

LAUSD Board Member Marguerite P. LaMotte, in whose district Jameil Shaw resides, said, “The death of this young man is another example of the senseless violence that permeates our community. My sincere sympathies are extended to his family, friends and fellow L.A. High School students. I pray that young people continue to reject violence as a way of life and focus on positive habits, a love for learning and constructive activities that can open up a world of meaningful possibilities. I am hoping to convene a meeting with law enforcement agencies (including school police) and community violence prevention organizations to draft a plan to address the youth violence in our community. Unless people are willing to come forth and report incidents of violence, these killings will continue. Anyone who witnessed the shooting or has any information should contact the LAPD.”

Meanwhile, the slain teen’s father, Jamiel Shaw Sr. is pleading with the community and law enforcement to find the individuals responsible for the death of his son, whom he hailed “as the greatest kid ever.”

Shaw Sr. held a photograph of his son as tears streamed down his face. His modest home is filled with trophies, plaques and mementos of his son’s athletic accomplishments.

Shaw Jr. rushed for over 1,000 yards during his junior season at L.A. High and scored 14 touchdowns. He was selected MVP of the Southern League and earned All-City honors.

His exploits on the football field had led many to believe that he was set to earn a scholarship to attend college and continue his athletic career.

Now those hopes are dashed. When his mother Anita received the phone call that is every parent’s worst nightmare, she cried and begged for the bad news to not be about her son.

She was granted emergency leave from the Army to return to the Southland to help make funeral arrangements for him.

Ironically, Mrs. Shaw, who is an Army Sergeant and serving in one of the most violent regions of the world to protect America’s freedom, was powerless when America could not protect her son..

Services for Shaw Jr. were pending at press time.

Speak out! Do you feel the ethnic tention between Black and Hispanic street gangs is spilling over into the households of regular Black and Hispanic citizens?

Miller, Kenneth. “17-year-old Jamiel Shaw Gunned Down”. Los Angeles Sentinel. 6 of

March. Los Angeles Sentinel.19 May 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Ethnic Surveys on Tests

ESSAY: 'Check One'

October 2, 2007 -- A 10th grader shares her frustrations of not being able to identify as bi-racial on school forms.

By Nya Reichley

Check one. These are the instructions given on forms and in surveys asking to check your race. I raise my hand and ask the teacher, "Can we check more than one box?" The teacher looks back, almost mockingly, and replies: "Nya, the directions are clear." How do they expect me to check only one box when I am more than one?
I sometimes have friends and classmates telling me, "just pick which one you consider yourself more of." The directions aren't to choose which one you want to be, it says choose what you ARE. I am two, and the form has clearly set a boundary for me expressing my mixed race. My mother is black, born in Jamaica, and my dad is white, born and raised in the United States. I deeply believe that there are no signs of different races in my house. It's not that we ignore it; it's just that we understand who we are. Our family is comprised of different races and this has helped us to become more accepting of different kinds of people and more open to different cultures. Being bi-racial makes me feel unique.

Some may not consider this a boundary that divides, for me it is. It is frustrating to me that I have to identify with only one race, and it frustrates me more to know the expectation is for me to only choose one race. Being bi-racial, I feel pressured to choose which race I should be, especially from friends. Oftentimes my friends attempt to help me decide. They think the decision should be based on the group you mostly hang out with and it shouldn't be this way.

Interracial couples aren't respected or even praised as much as they should be. My parents were able to look past the racial boundaries, and their love broke through that. Mixed couples are able to put aside the differences that make their races unique and focus on the important thing, their love for one another and their relationship.

I feel my community does absolutely nothing to help families who are bi-racial and it feels as if they encourage segregation within the community. I hardly ever hear of any racial problems or racial slurs from my friends or peers. In my school, holding events such as "Multicultural Week" and having multicultural clubs such as "Educate to Elevate," definitely encourage respecting and accepting an individual despite their differences. Mixing of cultures begins with understanding and being exposed to ideas and beliefs of different cultures. I smile when I see the couples of different skin colors walking down the hallway holding hands. It shows exactly how far we have come, but still have some ways to go. I will continue to check the "Other" box on forms until being bi-racial is included in the list.

Works Cited

Reichley, Nya. “Essay: 'Check One.'” Fight Hate and Promote Tolerance. 2 October 2007. 18 May 2008 .

Racism Against Asian American Students

Excerpted from A Report on the Status of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Education

I take public transportation to and from school every day. As I walk to the bus stop, I hear kids in the school bus call me “chink” and many other things that are negative about Asians. When this happens I feel a sense of non-belonging. [1]

There were always those kids that called you names or tried to put you into that (pause) if you’re not white you’re not American. [2]

When you’re growing up as an Asian, you get called names and it makes you feel like you’re not wanted. “Can I get some fried rice?” That’s all I used to hear, and still do. I walk down the street and people I don’t even know make fun of me. They call me Chink and Ching Chong. I hate those words so much. It makes me feel so low. When I was younger, all the other kids who weren’t Asian seemed to be having a good time and I wondered why I couldn’t. I concluded that it was because I was Asian. I thought if I were Black or white people would like me more and I wouldn’t get teased, so I used to wish I were Black or white. [6]

They [whites] will have stereotypes, like we’re smart... They are so wrong, not everyone is smart. They expect you to be this and that and when you’re not... (shook her head) And sometimes you tend to be what they expect you to be and you just lose your identity... just lose being yourself. Become part of what... what someone else want[s] you to be. And it’s really awkward, too! When you get bad grades, people look at you really strangely because you are sort of distorting the way they see an Asian. It makes you feel really awkward if you don’t fit the stereotype.72

According to the model minority stereotype, Asian Americans have achieved academic, social, and economic success through hard work and adherence to Asian cultural norms. Asian American students are depicted as valedictorians, violin prodigies, and computer geniuses. Unlike many racial stereotypes, the model minority designation seems at first to be flattering and even positive. A closer examination, however, reveals its damaging effects for both Asian American and Pacific Islander students and for other students of color. The model minority stereotype hides the diverse and complex experiences of Asian American and Pacific Islander students.

Works Cited

Lee, Stacy J. and Kevin K. Kumashiro. "A Report on the Status of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in Education: Beyond the 'Model Minority' Stereotype." National Education Association. 2005. 25 April 2008 .

Latino Student Statistics

According to the 2000 Census, 30% of Latino youth drop out of high school — compared to 8% of white students and 12% of blacks. In some inner-city school districts, the dropout rates for Latinos are even higher. And the majority of Latino students who do graduate from high school are not eligible for college admission because they have been academically ill equipped.

Works Cited

Munoz, Jr., Carlos. "Latino Student Walkouts: In 35 Years, What Has Changed?" Fight Hate and Promote Tolerance: A Web Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. 1 April 2003. 25 April 2008 .

Racism Against African American Students

Michigan School District Takes Action to Stop Racism After Black Student Is Attacked in "KKK Game" (5/19/2004)

DETROIT - As the country focuses on the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case that ended government-imposed segregation in public schools, the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan today announced the settlement of a complaint filed on behalf of an African American student who was the victim of racial harassment and attacked by white students in a so-called "game of KKK."
Kyron Tryon was an eighth-grader at Bullock Creek Middle School near Midland, Michigan in May 2003 when seven white boys grabbed him during recess on the school playground. According to Kyron, the boys picked him up off the ground and chanted "KKK" while one of them whipped him with a belt. The boys then threw Kyron on the ground and began kicking him. The attack did not stop until the bell rang, signaling the end of recess. When the white students were questioned about the incident, they described it as just a "game of KKK."
Kyron and his older siblings were victimized by racial harassment several times at school, the ACLU said. Prior to the playground incident, Kyron, the only African American in his grade, was told by his white peers to "go back to Africa;" they called him a "porch monkey" and threatened him because he is black.
Over the past year, the school district, the ACLU and the Tryons met with an MDCR mediator and jointly developed a plan to address what the Tryons believed to be a hostile environment for students of color at the Bullock Creek Schools.
Kary Moss, Executive Director of the ACLU of Michigan, said she hoped that other school districts will emulate what Bullock Creek is doing to respond to discrimination on campus. "As we look back at the history of desegregation, Kyron's experience illustrates how far we still have to go in combating racism."
"I just want the nightmare to be over and to go back to being a teenager," said Kyron. "If what I experienced somehow ends up helping someone else, I will be happy."

Works Cited

"Michigan School District Takes Action to Stop Racism After Black Student Is Attacked in 'KKK Game.'" ACLU: American Civil Liberties Union. 19 May 2004. ACLU. 25 April 2008 .

Hispanic Students Bullied

Many Hispanic students are targets of bullying in state By Devona Walker
Staff Writer

Mayra Sigala lives in a two-bedroom mobile home on a remote road behind Frontier City. The door to her room is wrapped in red and pink Valentines Day paper. Cupids and hearts encase her name. At times, she seems amazingly mature for her age. At others, she seems more insecure than most 15-year-olds.

"We try to ignore it as much as we can, but it just gets worse and worse,” Mayra said about the racist slurs yelled at her in the crowded hallways of Edmond Memorial High School.

The first incident occurred in early November, within a week of the passage of House Bill 1804, Oklahoma's stringent immigration enforcement statute. A fellow student, a football player, yelled at her in the hallway.

"He kept calling me names,” she said. "He kept telling me to go back to Mexico. I tried to tell him that I was born here, but he didn't believe me.”

Other students laughed.

"I guess they all agreed with him,” she said. Mayra did not tell the principal. She feared he would not believe her. Instead, she told her Spanish teacher. A few other Hispanic students were experiencing the same thing, she said. They were told by the teacher that something would be done. But the behavior continued, Mayra said. School officials say the information was not passed on. They say if they had known, something would have been done. But they conceded there have been issues in the past.

"It's obvious there were some issues we needed to address, otherwise we wouldn't have started native speaker's class,” said Brenda Lyons, associate superintendent with the Edmond School District. "Do we have bullying? Of course we do ... There's not any more than the norm with any other group.”

The native speaker's class started a few years back at Edmond Memorial. It's a class that blends learning the mechanics of the Spanish language with providing social support to Spanish-speakers.

Bullying at other schools
The problem isn't specific to Edmond Memorial High School. Community leaders say this school year has been noticeably difficult for many first-generation students. Many students have to translate and navigate cultural complexities for their parents; the language barrier means their parents are unable to advocate for them at school. Rey Madrid, youth organizer for the League of United Latin American Citizens, says Hispanic youth are reporting these things across the metro area. It's something all the children of the youth council speak freely about when they meet. The head of the youth council told him she has been targeted because of her race at Westmoore High School.

"These children are getting bullied and they are getting angry,” he said. Madrid warned that for some kids bullying pushes them to drop out, join gangs or use drugs.

"Whenever kids at school pick on somebody, that child that gets picked on is going to look for security,” he said. "Kids don't always know how to work things out for themselves, and they turn to gangs for security. They turn to drugs to ease the pain.”
parents were granted amnesty in 1986, as part of the Immigration Reform and Control Act signed by President Reagan.

The act made it illegal to knowingly hire or recruit undocumented immigrants, required employers to attest to their employees' immigration status, and granted amnesty to undocumented immigrants who entered the United States before 1982 and had resided there continuously.

Contributing: Staff Writer Jesse Oliverez

Works Cited

Walter, Devona. "Many Hispanic students are targets of bullying in state." War on

Racism. 17 May 2008. Waronracism. 19 May 2008