This morning, I came across an article published on ESPN.com that was about a high school in New Jersey that recently fired their head football coach. Although the school denies this claim, players, parents, and the coach himself allege that he was fired due to the fact that his team was comprised mostly of African-American players.
This article struck me, as sports have for so long provided a space for minority voices to be heard and for their talents to be expressed, and this story is a huge set back. The coach claims that when he would bring a list of potential student-athletes he sought to bring to the school for his team, administrators would always ask whether the players were white.
The school claims that his contract’s termination was due to unprofessional dress and disrespecting the school’s president when questioned about his unprofessional dress. These reasons seem easily resolved and not ones that should result in a termination of a coach’s contract. He has filed a grievance against the school as a result of the actions taken against him. Players, parents, and students alike have spoken out against the school regarding the decision, and on Monday, 22 students walked out of class as a result of the decision.
Recently, Starbucks has come under a lot of heat due to an incident that happened in one of their Philadelphia coffee shops. During the incident, two black men were arrested after asking to use the restroom. This incident prompted national outrage, and even a hashtag #BoycottStarbucks to arise.
As a result of the outrage, Starbucks plans to close all of their stores nationwide on May 29 in order for their employees to undergo racial bias training. While this is a step in the right direction for Starbucks, i do not think it solves the entire issue. Racial bias is not just a Starbucks issue, it is a nationwide issue. How might we as a nation become better educated on racial biases that occur in front of us everyday?
Over the past year, I have encountered many different instances of racism, especially in the realm of social media. Social media makes it easier to spread the word, whether that be for good or for bad. However, the instances I have seen have been vulgar and inappropriate.
One example is a student from my hometown near Baltimore, MD. The student, who is now in college, dressed up as Freddie Gray, who was an unarmed Baltimore man who was slain by policemen. The student was dressed in an orange inmate suit with the name Freddie Gray written on the back. The action drew much backlash on social media, and it helped display the distance and insensitivity that white people experience when confronting these issues.
So, how must we bridge this gap in insensitivity in order to fully understand the injustices that occur on a daily basis? How must we educate youth so that a disgusting act such as the one I mentioned above does not happen again?