Thursday, June 21, 2007

Overt Racism - Alive and Well

Today's New York Times contains an absolutely shocking piece detailing racial incidents at a rural high school in Colorado. In essence, several students and parents were upset with the local coach, who is African-American. What ensued was just terrible:

  • A parent at a game said he was going to paint his son black and used what the Times refers to as "an obscene racial epithet to describe the type of person who could play on the team."
  • Students harassed another white student, using a racial epithet, who was friends with an African-American student.
  • A group of students loudly discussed forming a club called the "Lynch Mob" or the Klan."
  • Several of the players formed a breakaway basketball team they called the "Running Rebels" and showed up to a basketball camp wearing shirts with the Confederate flag.
  • Later, someone raised a Confederate flag over the school and students began painting it on their cars.
  • Four seniors posed for a picture, holding guns and giving a Nazi salute, which was posted on the Internet.

Of course, the individuals responsible insist that it was not racism, it was just a misunderstanding. Evidently the Confederate flag was merely a symbol of rebellion with no racial overtones. Apparently the Nazi photo was merely a "big mistake" that was not racially motivated. I hope my profound skepticism may be forgiven.

I have no deep analysis of this to offer; I merely put this forward as yet another example that, contrary to popular belief, racism is NOT dead. Of course, racism will not always be as obvious as this; oftentimes it is far more subtle but no less poignant. In every case, it is an evil we must continue to vigilantly watch for and confront at its every instance.

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