Every day, young white people remind us how utterly naive the notion is that racism will end when older generations of white people die out. Because if that were the case, white K-12 students wouldn’t keep posting online their desire to bring slavery back.
According to NPR, one ninth-grade student was expelled and three more were suspended from Park Hill South High School in Riverside, Missouri after the expelled student started a Change.org petition titled “Start slavery again.” The other three students were suspended after the petition was shared on social media prompting them to make racist comments on the thread. On Tuesday, a federal court rejected the students’ request to be readmitted to the school.
“U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough ruled on Tuesday that while the students were likely to suffer irreparable harm if he did not grant their request, they had not shown they were likely to succeed on the merits of their claims,” NPR reported.
OK, so before we continue, it’s worth mentioning that two of the four students, including the one who started the petition, are reportedly biracial. So, who knows, maybe they just figured their white sides would be holding the whips. Maybe they thought white supremacy could even exist in a single human body. Maybe they thought, “Nah, it’s all good, I’ll only be half a slave picking my cotton Monday, Wednesday, and Friday while my white half sips negro-delivered lemonade the rest of the week.”
Anyway, the whole thing reportedly started when the students were on a school bus headed to an away football game last September. The student who started the petition had been engaged in some kind of verbal exchange with a Black student about jobs and slaves. It’s unclear what the tone of the conversation was, but it didn’t go well since it ended in a bid to put negroes in chains again.
The student shared the petition with the football team’s Snapchat group. (Why is it always Snapchat? Is Snapchat some kind of Klan-ish kids gathering spot?). One of the suspended students commented on the petition, saying, “I love slavery.” Another commented, “I hate blacks.” And the third commented, “I want a slave.”
School administrators were eventually alerted to the petition and the students claimed it was all just a joke, but three of them were still suspended for 180 days and the one who started the whole “I heart negro property” drama was expelled.
So the students sued the school district and school administrators, claiming their First Amendment and due process rights were violated. But what they’re reported as having said next was, well, not the ironclad defense they thought it was.
“The students said the use of racial slurs was common at Park Hill South, ‘most often in a friendly bantering,’ and noted that the instigator of the incident was Black and was not disciplined,” NPR reported.
OK, for any racist white kids and their racist white-adjacents who are looking to explain away their bigotry, I’m going to extend an olive branch (just try not to hang a Black person from it) and tell you what not to do.
First, saying “we say racist s*** at school all the time” is an absolute no-no. You think what, that characterizing your entire school as being just as racist as you are is going to earn you a welcome reception back?
Secondly—really? Do you want the Black student disciplined because somehow they made you go full American History X on the school bus?
If the defense of your racism is as racist as your racism, you might want to rethink your strategy is all I’m saying.
“Three whites boys in similar bad judgment wanted in on the joke, intended only for the freshman players,” Arthur Benson, the attorney for the plaintiffs said in an email. “This bad judgment was punished as heinous acts that no one now still claims them to be.”
Note: “Oh, c’mon, who’s even mad about this anymore?” is also not a solid defense.
It’s almost as if the youth need to be taught critical race theory—but that’s a post for another day.