A California high school is facing an investigation after white students were captured on a video that went viral over the weekend abusing a Black doll named “Shaniqua,” stomping it, positioning it in sexually suggestive positions and posing with it during a football game Friday.
The Instagram account that featured the video has been deactivated, but a Twitter user took screenshots of the old account and downloaded some of the videos, which KION News Channel featured in its reporting of the incident.
Parents say this isn’t the first time something like this has happened at Salinas High School. One of those parents, Mercedes, told the television station that the social media posts don’t surprise her.
“These kids feel comfortable enough to do this on campus at a football game where there’s parents, where there’s staff members and other children,” she said. “And, you’re going to tell me all of the staff being around and even parents, nobody saw this go on, nobody saw that there was something wrong with this.”
Two members of the African American Advisory Committee for the Salinas Union High School District (SUHSD) said that the posts reveal a lack of diversity education and shows that a culture of intolerance exists in some schools. Parents and residents have commented on Facebook that the social media posts are racist.
SUHSD is investigating the incident.
“The SUHSD does not condone this type of behavior and although the District has taken steps to support our African American students and staff, this recent incident demonstrates how much more support is needed,” the school district said in a statement to KION. “We urge families to also take time to talk with their students about the damaging effects of racist behavior. Counseling is available at all of our school sites for any students who may need support.”
According to the Monterey County Weekly, parents are not letting the district fumble this incident:
Gabriela Silva, who has a Latina daughter at Salinas High, says in Spanish the district must make structural changes. She says it is important to include ethnic studies classes to prevent situations like this; the district has recently come under fire from activists asking for the school to end instruction on critical race theory, part of a nationwide trend of activist parents engaging at school board meetings.
Silva says the original Instagram posts, since deleted, also showed adults posing with the doll.
Hannah Frances is the mother of two biracial kids; her daughter is a junior at Rancho San Juan High School in SUHSD, and she says this incident brings racism too close to home. “It’s no longer on TV,” Frances says of her daughter. “It’s something she is experiencing in her own city within her own school district.
“If this thing isn’t addressed quickly, it could be really devastating for Salinas youth,” Frances adds. Frances says the video and the images have traumatized Black and biracial kids, causing fear and stress.
Frances’ daughter is part of the Associated Student Body and learned about the racist account through a group text, and she says some of the teens involved are involved in various leadership and athletic roles, including being part of ASB, football or cheer teams. “I think the kids [involved in this] should not be allowed to be in leadership positions,” Frances says.