Intra-Racial Disparities: Acting White Put on Trial
In the fall of 2009 a South Carolina school board settled a case on intraracial discrimination. The Williamsburg County school board paid 150,000 to an African American family whose children suffered sexual and racial harassment from other African American students.
The youngest student contended that she was subjected to racial and sexual slurs in an elementary school during the fall of 2006. The school environment became so hostile that she had to homeschooled for the rest of the school year.
Despite complaints, school administrative staff and district officials allowed the abuse to “escalate to the point where [she] was physically threatened, assaulted and battered,” the suit alleged.
The suit also claimed that a school official and a district official, either individually or together, “retaliated” against the student by causing the state Department of Social Services to launch an abuse-and-neglect investigation of the plaintiffs and their household. The complaint said DSS determined the investigation, which included a strip search of the student, was unfounded.
After a two day trial the case was settled out of court. It’s the first Title VI lawsuit based on intra-racial discrimination. The family’s lawyer Larry Kobrovsky said that his clients upbringing conflicted with the culture of rural Williamsburg county where achieving in school was thought of as behaving white.
An uncle who lives in the same household but now attends high school had his case dismissed but in court he testified to similar harassment he received in school.
“You see, it’s a crime to act white, or it’s a crime to be white,” the uncle testified. He also said that the harassment made him feel, “we are just dumb, we’re just not people, we’re undergraded, we’re degraded, and we’re not even supposed to be in this world.”
As I read this case I thought back to Derrion Albert, a young student who was fatally beaten as he walked home from school. Albert was targeted as he walked past a community center and brutally beaten by local gangs who were in the middle of a brawl. Someone said he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time but another parent whose child was the victim of school violence disagreed. “He was in the right place,” she said. “He was coming home from school.”
Is this the best that we want for black children, just the possibility of not getting shot and a place for them to be during the day? In too many cities over half of African American males don’t graduate from high school, some don’t even get past the 9th grade. This is not something that we can blame on the white community. Who am I kidding? I guess if we try hard enough we can find a way to pin our shortcomings on the white man but in the interim black children in lower income communities suffer. Lower income black children are the ones who are getting the message that all play and no work makes Jack and Jill happy children. Lower income Black children are the ones who treat libraries like new video arcades and not a place to get help with homework that their parents might not know how to do. Low income black children are in schools that are underperforming whether the schools are public or charter and may not have books to take home for homework, if they are inclined to do it at all.
Low income black children are the fulfillment of a community that is floundering because the adults who should be their guides either don’t know what to do or are so self consumed with their own problems or egos that they forgot the children are our future.
You can best believe that black children are an endangered species but it’s not because of abortion as some would have you believe. They are languishing in elementary schools where black kids indoctrinate each other on what is really black and after they jump that soul crushing hurdle it’s off to middle school and high school where they enter schools with gun detectors at the door and worry about violence on the way home.
Parents , Teachers, and School Administrators need to work in tandem to make things better for all students. It helps to strengthen not only the black community but the surrounding area and society at large.
But if that can’t happen lets hope for more lawyers for Kobrovsky because I’m sure there are many more students out there who can alleviate blind school systems of their money. Then the kids can take that money and go to a private school. If you can’t save them all you may as well save the ones you can.