I was, and I suppose I still am a “White Hawk.”
With this history its not too surprising that racism is still alive and well in my hometown.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported story about students from Westonka High School, showing up at a school sponsored dodgeball tournament dawning KKK inspired, “costumes.”
The ensuing controversy that has taken place in the nearly all-white community has been one that reflects one of our nation’s crises with race.
In the moment, the staff supervising the event saw nothing wrong with the costumes.
Let me say that again.
THE STAFF ALLOWED THE STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN THE SCHOOL SPONSORED EVENT WEARING KKK MASKS.
Only after a social media firestorm and student backlash, the district’s administration took action.
In retrospect, just about everyone agrees that what these young men did, at a minimum, amounts to, “bad behavior.” But what didn’t happen is what too often doesn’t happen.
The “White Hawks,” dawning KKK inspired garb, were allowed to participate in a school-sanctioned event, supervised by staff from the school. They played their games and went on their way without an adult in the room reprimanding them, forcing them to remove their costumes, or asking them to leave the tournament.
This inaction is what reflects our nation’s crisis. Do nothing racism.
It represents the worst kind of racism and the hardest to change. The kind that sees it and does nothing. The kind that makes light of a symbol of terror and hatred and looks the other way.
This brand of racism isn’t unique to my hometown. Just over one week ago, a story in Arizona broke about a group of teenagers that spelled the word N-I-*-*-E-R with their t-shirts at a school event.
But, what will continue to plague us as a nation is that “do nothing” racism persists because we refuse to acknowledge how deeply racism is embedded in our consciousness.
It may be time for us to rethink its mascot again. I think its time for us just to be the Hawks.