Schools Have A Critical Racism Problem
A few weeks ago, three students at Mead High School, not far from Denver, Colorado, decided to reenact the brutal murder of George Floyd on school grounds. This wasn't a serious dramatic effort intended to draw attention to police violence, but just some young assholes who thought it was a hoot to mock the dead.
Two of the students pressed their knees into the back and neck of their classmate, who was in blackface. (He's apparently a method racist.) They posted the grotesque image on Snapchat with the caption "Bye bye senoirs." Yes, they misspelled "seniors," but the three have more pressing problems than functional illiteracy. Their classmates with human souls shared screenshots of the post and expressed their disgust, but it's unclear what disciplinary action was taken against the students involved. Other students claim the three ghouls were suspended for five days. Mead High Principal Rachael Ayers resigned this week, but the announcement of her departure doesn't mention the racist incident.
White students at an Arizona high school also imitated Floyd's death for yuks in April, a full week after Derek Chauvin was convicted for his murder. Presumably, not all white kids are sociopaths, so maybe the problem is they don't view Floyd as fully human. It's consistent with the old photos of white children attending lynchings like they were on a family trip to the circus.
Conservatives oppose critical race theory in schools, but that hasn't kept schools free of critical racists. Look, no one is teaching your kids that they're racist because they're white. They're racist because they do shit like this (content warning for people more sensitive than teenage racists):
Floyd's death was supposed to have sparked what the media repeatedly calls a “national reckoning on race." That reckoning never materialized. Here's a sampling of some of the grossness we've received instead.
A student at Gastonbury High School in Connecticut submitted a yearbook quote that was attributed to Floyd. It read: "It is a quite special secret pleasure how the people around us fail to realize what is really happening to them." Floyd never said this, nor did Marilyn Monroe. It was actually Adolf Hitler. No one accidentally fucks around and stumbles upon a Hitler quote. This was deliberate. Most Hitler quotes read like supervillain purple prose, so it's weird that the yearbook editor or faculty adviser didn't take the precaution of Googling this one.
Principal Nancy Bean said “we are saddened and distressed by what happened," but apparently not enough to reprint the yearbooks.
Then there was this bizarre entry from the yearbook at Lincoln Junior High in Arkansas.
According to images of the "Current Events" section of the yearbook, one photo showed a crowd of mostly Black men next to an overturned car with a caption reading, "Black Lives Matter riots Started in Minneapolis in may of 2020." A photo on the opposite page showed mostly White men surrounding the U.S. Capitol with the caption, "Trump supporters protesting at the capitol."
That “protest" was a siege on the Capitol. They're still arresting fools! Revisionist history is how America maintains its exceptionalism, but at least let the dust settle before sprinkling around the fairy dust. The yearbook also included a photo of the one-term loser that declared, "President Trump WAS NOT impeached," but here in reality, the thug was impeached ... twice.
West Broward High School, near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, suspended distribution of its yearbook because of complaints regarding a Black Lives Matter spread.
Senior Elise Twitchell said school administrators decided to stop selling and distributing the $90 yearbook last week without consulting with the editors after parents complained. She said the yearbook editors were told that the pages were not objective because they didn't include a conversation about Blue Lives Matter, a pro-police countermovement that emerged after Black Lives Matter amid growing criticism of law enforcement.
Those big babies in blue are incapable of processing Black Lives Matter's very simple request: Don't kill us. There's apparently no way they can avoid killing us without putting their own lives in jeopardy. They're also too intellectually lazy to come up with an original cop-promoting, self-serving slogan that doesn't steal Black people's intellectual labor.
Broward County Public Schools released a statement announcing that the yearbooks were back on sale but with "an insert noting that the views expressed are not sponsored by the District." Yes, "Black Lives Matter" is still a controversial statement.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He writes reviews for the A.V. Club and make believe for Cafe Nordo, an immersive theatre space in Seattle. He's also on the board of the Portland Playhouse theatre. His son describes him as a “play typer guy."