Thursday, May 26, 2005

Deep in the Heart of Texas

So, I got a phone call the other day from a friend who lives in the troubled little town of Waxahachie, Texas. You see, there was a minor scandal in the town that day (Friday), set off by the publication of the high school yearbook. (Go Cherokees!) Rather than by name, an African-American girl, in the National Honor Society mind you, was identified in a caption as, simply, "black girl."

Wow. I mean, that's racist. I sometimes think that some things which are widely considered to be racist, like my including the n-word in a recitation of an old Richard Pryor routine or something, are not actually racist. But that is really really racist.

So racist, in fact, that the tidbit is now floating rapidly around the blogosphere. Here's Boozhy providing his readers with a link to a republication of the article, and here's Andrew Sullivan pointing readers to Boozhy. Nothing like a horribly offensive faux pas to put your shitkicker Texas town on the map!

Oh, and by the by, how did the high school officials who oversaw the production of the yearbook explain this little accident?

"It was a very poor choice to use as a placeholder for a student's name that was not known at the time," district spokesman Candace Ahlfinger said Saturday. "It was not meant maliciously nor was it meant to be printed.

Yeah...kind of a poor choice...I mean, not the worst imaginable choice...They could have gone with "Dumb Ugly Unknown Negro #1" as a caption or something, I guess. Or just identified everyone by racial stereotypes, so that the chess club caption would read something like "three heebs, a couple of slopes and some Russian immigrant's mongoloid son with a unibrow." Or, you know, something like that.

Now, see, there are probably some of you out there who think that last paragraph itself was racist. I did, for example, type the word "negro" which is not as bad as the other n word that I'm not going to type...but it's still pretty bad. And even though I'm allowed to use "heeb," "slope" may have been pushing it. But I'll say that the whole point of the joke was to point out the abhorrent racism of others, in a satirical fashion, so I should be permitted a little leeway.

And now, if you want to feel bad for finding anything about this item amusing, here's a quote from the "black girl" in question, Miss Shadoyia Jones:

On Monday, Shadoyia Jones spoke with Channel 4 reporter Jeff Crilley about her feelings."Yes, it's very hard dealing with it," said Shadoyia, who the station reported is ranked No. 17 in her class.

"Because with it, along comes disappointment and embarrassment. It feels like all my hard work and accomplishments went unknown."

By her yearbook photo, which was identified correctly, Shadoyia is noted as a member of the National Honor Roll all four years of her high school career, as a member of Who's Who for three years, a member of the Interact club for two years, and as a past member of the Cherokee Charmers organization.

Man, racism sucks. This girl is going to think about this every time she opens up her high school yearbook. Which, if she's anything like me, will be one time post-graduation, for about two and a half minutes, until she remembers that she's not really in too many of the photos anyway, and that she basically hated 99% of her high school classmates.


justin said...

Texas is really running neck and neck lately with my hometown state of NC is the huge ass department.

banjo said...

My jaw dropped when I read that... but now that I think about it, it actually could have been a placeholder. In the vein of 'blonde girl' or 'fat kid' or any other perfectly apt, though no less diminishing, means of identifying someone whose name you don't know.

But hey... hell of a slipup all the same.

Anonymous said...

For one thing, Waxahachie is an awesome place to live. Secondly this person got a full scholarship to college because of this messed-up story!
The true story is that this young lady had a nickname in High School......Black-Girl. Everyone knew her as this nick-name. Her friends called her "Black-Girl". her family called her "Black-Girl".
This was her opportunity to sue for racial discrimmination & get money! The Yearbook staff did not know her name so they used a placecard, her nick-name.
The proof-reader should have caught this & corrected it!!!