Imagine penning a racial slur on someone’s stomach at a party. Some kids in the Grosse Pointes did. Was it a joke? Not to a legion of those who objected.
The N-word has been repudiated and racial calm reigns in the Grosse Pointe public schools, according to speakers at a news conference Wednesday held at Grosse Pointe South High School.
A “unity press conference” in Grosse Pointe Farms on Wednesday was aimed at praising students, school administrators and civic leaders for their quick response to a racial incident involving students last weekend — an incident that could have ended badly by stirring racial animosity, said Greg Bowens, co-founder of the new Grosse Pointe chapter of the NAACP.
At an after-school gathering of about 40 school officials, community members and students, Bowens said: “It’s not easy to stand up to bigotry, especially if you have people out there saying, ‘You can’t control people’s attitudes, you can’t impose your values on others.’ We really appreciate the way the Grosse Pointe student body has handled this, and the way the administration and the principal handled this as well.”
The school was roiled earlier this week by word that four South High School students had posted on social media photos of three of them during a party last weekend with the N-word scrawled across their stomachs. Two other students were given one-week suspensions when they threatened the students who came forward about the Internet photo posting, officials said.
Another good sign was that “the people behind this apologized,” said Bowens of Grosse Pointe, a public relations consultant and father of a South High School student.
Last weekend’s racist behavior is a learning opportunity for the community, said David Smydra of Grosse Pointe Woods, the interim vice president of the new NAACP chapter in the five Grosse Pointe communities.
“The word that was used in this case has a long, mean historical legacy,” Smydra said.
Source: Detroit Free Press | Bill Laitner