Remember the good old days when you weren’t constantly in danger of accidentally becoming a racist? Very few Americans wake up in the morning, a vague voice at the back of their heads warning them not to accidentally murder someone. We just assume that we’ll make it through the day without decapitating our neighbors or stuffing a homeless man into an industrial trash compactor.
But when it comes to being a racist, there’s no telling what the day will bring. You don’t feel racist in your mind. You don’t hate minorities. You pride yourself on judging people by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
Doesn’t matter. You can have a heart of gold and still find yourself branded a racist by day’s end. It could happen at anytime.
Oops, you mentioned that you liked some of the things Donald Trump was saying about immigration.
Whoa, you made the mistake of saying that all lives matter.
Oh no, you made up a fruit basket for your rival marching band.
Students at Atascocita High School in Texas probably didn’t wake up on October 16 thinking they would be branded racists by the end of the day, but that’s exactly what happened. Let us examine this cautionary tale in detail so that we don’t make the same mistake.
Atascocita and rivals Summer Creek apparently have a tradition where the marching bands meet on the field prior to the football games. There, they have a little ceremony and exchange gifts as a sign of good sportsmanship. Well, on this fateful night, the Atascocita band members handed their rivals a fruit basket filled with canned pineapple, a coconut, a watermelon, and some watermelon gum.
Truly, the legacy of the Ku Klux Klan echoed throughout Texas that night.
“School Administrators conducted an investigation and after considering the totality of circumstances, determined that the gift was inappropriate and lacked good sportsmanship,” a high school official told Todd Starnes at Fox News. “Atascocita High School will not tolerate racial insensitivity.”
As you can probably guess, the RACIST element of the fruit basket is not the coconut or the pineapple.
In a letter to parents, Humble Independent School District Assistant Superintendent Trey Kraemer said Summer Creek students were puzzled by the gift. “Typically, these gifts contain snacks such as crackers, candy and popcorn that can be readily shared among students and eaten during the game,” he wrote.
Oh, so the problem is fruit itself? It’s now racist to promote a healthier way of eating? What does Michelle Obama have to say about all of this?
Of course, it’s not the fruit. It’s not the coconut or the pineapple. It’s the watermelon. The weakest of all racist stereotypes. Oh, you eat a fruit that is healthy and delicious, haha!
But there’s apparently still enough power in that old garbage to brand high school students as racists for daring to include a fruit like that in their basket.
“We didn’t do anything wrong,” said bandmember Carolina Andaverde. “We wouldn’t do that because we know better than that. Our parents raised us better.”
But according to one Summer Creek student, it doesn’t really matter what the kids intended. “If they find it racist, then that is their perception, and you can’t invalidate the feelings of someone,” Summer Creek senior Briget Davies told a local news affiliate. “So I would say it’s race involved.”
Atascocita principal William Daniels agrees. In an email to parents, Daniels said, “My investigation did not lead me to believe that the students were engaging in racial harassment, but their actions were inappropriate given the context.”
In-school-suspensions were dished out to the participating students.
So the official investigation says that the students intended no harm, but yet they were still punished. Accidental racism is now just as punishable as intentional racism. All that matters is how the “victims” perceive your actions.
And that’s why, no matter how carefully you tread the balance beam of racial sensitivity, you could find yourself branded a RACIST by the end of the day.
Go cautiously, my friends.