Lakeville South High is the latest Twin Cities high school to have extremely racist graffiti found within its walls and it is the latest school to condone and coddle it by absolutely refusing to do anything about it. Yes they will slap the wrist of the offending student and make gratuitous statements about diversity. And they usually drop this bomb, ‘this isn’t a reflection of who we are,’ but in vehemently refusing to take a zero tolerance approach, that it is exactly, who they are.
If that sounds unfair, then why do these predominantly White school’s administration’s adamantly refuse to say to their student body, that this isn’t acceptable. The only logical conclusion is, either they agree with the racist, mean- spirited, intolerant behavior, or it is not that big of a deal. What’s a little racist graffiti, a little racist slur in the bigger scheme of things, it just kids being kids, they say.
Incredibly the Lakeville Area Public Schools sent a letter to parents assuring them that the fact that the perpetrator was a “non- Caucasian” who has “special education needs,” and this supposedly “will help the community and others put this into perspective.”
In other words, ‘the racist wasn’t White and was a little behind educationally,’ so it must be okay, or at least we don’t have to take responsibility for it.
Of course if it is indeed the case that the perpetrator had special education needs, then that indicates that someone educationally astute, helped this child figure out how to put something on the bathroom stalls that would be sure to offend the kids of color.
In other words, somebody likely put him up to it and its also likely that the special education kid didn’t do it at all, but may have taken the “rap.”
Proving that the district has no intention on dealing with the issue of racism and intolerance, the letter never mentions the word “racist” or “intolerance.” The letter stated, that someone had written “offensive words and images on bathroom stalls”
The letter goes on with the obligatory, “this is unfortunate and does not reflect the values,..” etc, etc.
But it does reflect the values of at least some of the folks in the Lakeville community. Allen Scarsella who was convicted last month of the racially motivated shooting of five people protesting the Minneapolis killing of Jamar Clark, is from Lakeville. The trial exposed Scarsella as a virulent racist. It exposed communications of his in which he even fantasized about killing Blacks, just because they were Black.
Earlier this year, one of the Lakeville schools reported that students taunted Latin students with chants of, “build the wall.” Also earlier this year,a significant number of White students showed up with Confederate flags on their cars and as part of their clothing. And they clearly understand that in the United States the North fought on the side of the Union and last we checked this is a Northern state, so it has nothing to do with their heritage. The kids wore the symbol because they understand it to be a sign of hatred and intolerance, a symbol of one races’ dominance over another.
Ironically the letter says this is a “teachable moment.”
Indeed it was, it taught the students that the administration doesn’t take hatefulness, racism and intolerance very seriously!
Furthermore, the schools’ response taught the kids of color and other sympathetic students that when something evil is directed at them, the school will concentrate on the victims and leave the victimizers in their ignorance. And that no serious effort will be done to ensure that they (kids of color), according to the boards’ letter, “feel welcome and safe in school.”
Though the school board was urged to have Lakeville South call a general assembly and explain why intolerance is unacceptable, while declaring that there will be “zero tolerance” for this kind of foolishness, the school and School Board steadfastly refused to do so. They also ignored a suggestion to meet with the kids of color and hear about their experiences and their concerns. .
Therefore, the only logical conclusion one can draw is that the school doesn’t want to know the truth about the micro aggressions and insensitive and boorish behavior its Black students and other kids of color are forced to put up with, while trying to secure an education.
Ultimately, we are forced to confront the truth and admit that the reason foolish young people continue to post racist and hateful graffiti, is because it is condoned by the greater White society and its institutions. How else can one explain the absolute refusal by school administrations to adopt a zero tolerance policy or even to address the issue of racism with the broader student population?
justice then peace