Children live what they learn. Even in the exclusive, wealthy area of exquisitely gorgeous homes and perfectly manicured lawns of Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay, Florida, racism and lives and is perpetuated. We know this because of screenshots of excerpts of a GroupMe chat between some Miami Palmetto Senior High School lacrosse players that has been shared on social media.
Throughout the chat, the students cavalierly and hatefully drop the ‘n-bomb’ many times. Please take note of the attempt to distinguish between black people and niggers. The conversation is vile yet eye-opening. Some of the students have claimed to be friends with black students yet their hearts feel otherwise. Reality check. That’s the way the world is and it’s not likely to change. When children make reference to ghetto monkeys taking their tax dollars, you know they are regurgitating comments they’ve heard from adults.
After high school, these same young men that engaged in the conversation --- all white, except one black student --- are more likely to become doctors, lawyers, politicians and business owners than black children. Their decisions could affect the daily lives of many people that they think should be in cages or go back to their monkey habitats. And some folks take issue with the #BlackLivesMatter movement? If you are black, you feel the frustration of the black team member who tries to put the others in check for racists comments that have obviously been made before.
Some people, even black people, prefer to ignore race and racism. “After reviewing what has taken place at Palmetto High, I think it is time to have a conversation,” said Andre Joyce, whose team “the hope dealers” will discuss the issue tomorrow at 11 a.m. on 880 AM THE BIZ . “We will spend a portion of our time on the show talking about how the school and school system can address this matter. Additionally, we will spend some time talking with experts about the race and its effect on teenagers.” This incident is also on the radar of the local branch of the NAACP and branch president, Dr. Shirley B. Johnson has already notified Miami-Dade County Public Schools accordingly. The school district administration met with students on Monday to deal with the incident. The principal, Victoria Dobbs, posted a message about the incident on the school's website.
While I despise the racist rhetoric of the lacrosse players, the hateful, terroristic threats regarding killing blacks are the most egregious and deserving of consequences more severe than ‘counseling’ provided to the eight young men identified as conversation participants. The school district’s new emphasis on reducing the number of suspensions will likely preclude that as an option for punishment, especially for these students. If suspension is not an option, the young men should be required to do community service and the district should provide them mandatory racial sensitivity training.
While this article is about a private internet group chat among Miami Palmetto Senior High School students, rest assured, it is likely not an isolated incident in our schools throughout this nation. Schools are microcosms of our society. When our nation’s first black president is openly disrespected and blacks are subjected to police brutality with alarming frequency, why should we really expect anything different than the conversation of the Palmetto lacrosse players. Children live what they learn.