It seems as if we can’t go more than a couple of weeks without hearing new reports of racism in the classroom.
Harding Charter Preparatory High School in Oklahoma City gives us our latest incident as students were made to line up by the color of their skin and the “nappiness” of their hair as part of an exercise implemented by a recruiter from Oklahoma Christian University, according to Oklahoma’s News 4. Students from the high school spoke to reporters about the incident.
“He barely talked about the school itself,” Rio Brown said.
At Harding Charter Preparatory High School, college recruiters stop by all the time, but this gym assembly was different.
“I could already see through his BS basically,” Korey Todd said. “He was a white man.”
A man representing Oklahoma Christian University left the 11th grade class stunned.
“He was like, ‘Let’s play a little game,’” Todd said. “He said, ‘Okay, everyone now line up from darkest to lightest skin complexion.’”
“He said, ‘Okay, who is going to line up the fastest,’” Brown said.
Then, the juniors were told to shuffle again.
“He told us nappiest hair in the back and straighter hair in the front,” Brown said.
“That’s when I felt uncomfortable like, ‘Okay, this isn’t right,’” Todd said.
“Teachers left,” Brown said. “They were crying and they were offended. Their faces just look disgusted. I know they had a talk with him after, like, ‘That’s not okay.’”
If right now you are thinking to yourself, “What in the fuck fresh caucasian Hell is this?” it’s safe to say you are responding appropriately. It is confounding, to say the least, that anyone who works in education — given the plethora of reports on cases where educators have lost their jobs over racial offenses, many of which were less egregious than this — would think this behavior would fly.
Mind you, there have been two recent reports of professors at the University of Oklahoma (not to be confused with Oklahoma Christian University... but still) coming under fire for either using the n-word or making ridiculous statements comparing its use to “Ok, boomer.” One would think any and all educators from Oklahoma (and everywhere else in America for that matter) would’ve learned a lesson by now.
It’s unclear what
the holy fuck the point of the recruiter’s exercise was, but, according to the university, he was fired shortly after the incident. OCU released a statement to News 4 saying, “The OC admissions counselor who visited Harding Charter Preparatory Academy on Monday is no longer an Oklahoma Christian University employee. OC admissions leadership did not approve the inappropriate activity in advance and has communicated closely with Harding administration since the visit. Admissions staff are scheduled to visit the academy Monday to apologize to Harding students and staff on behalf of the University.”
The principal at Harding Charter Prep also released a statement saying, “As you are aware, our school is visited by many college representatives each year to recruit the most hardworking students in the state of Oklahoma. Unfortunately, an incident occurred this Monday when a college recruiter from Oklahoma Christian University led a group activity with our students that involved inappropriate and hurtful statements.
The Harding Charter Preparatory High School governance board, administration, and staff does not condone any behavior and/or language that undermines our community’s values. Our community, from its inception, has valued diversity, inclusion, and a safe and supportive learning environment. We will continue to do so.”
It’s hard to imagine that any apology offered to the students at Harding Charter Preparatory High School will calm the unrest in their spirits resulting from what they experienced.
“I hope it is a wake-up call because many people at the school need to hear how we feel,” Brown said.
And they sure as hell do; as do educators all over the nation.