Kylah Spring should be approaching her first final examinations of her freshman year at the University of Kentucky. Yet, she couldn’t get there without a white girl assaulting her in a drunken fit while spewing racial slurs. For the first time publicly, Spring shared with CBS Mornings what kept her from returning a punch.
Myself and many others were once taught that if someone put their hands on you, you have full permission to “whoop they ass.” At least, that’s what my mom told me. However, Spring kept her composure even when she had every right to defend herself. Spring told CBS she kept her cool keeping in mind the way it would make her look, especially as a Black woman, to fight back.
“I was raised to act a certain way if I encounter a racial attack or assault. But I also was very disheartened that it happened to me while I was working. I really just wanted to make sure I acted appropriately so that I could keep my job, because the script could have been flipped if I had retaliated,” she said via CBS.
As a result, the shame fell completely and solely on Sophia Rosing, Spring’s attacker. Racist incidents have been becoming more frequent causing even more Black students to have their guard up about who they encounter on or off their college campuses. It’s easy to think of them as isolated incidents until they happen to you. If the the time comes, what would you do?
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When asked by King how the incident has changed her, Spring said it opened her eyes to how often racist incidents occur.
“It’s changed my outlook on how often that situations like this happen,” Spring said. “Obviously I’ve seen things like this in the news, but you never really know how common of an occurrence it is until it happens to you. It was a little bit of an eye-opening moment for me to wake up and realize what’s happening in our country to young children of color, to people of color.”
Spring’s mother, Betsy, appeared alongside her Wednesday. While she was initially hesitant for her daughter to speak out about the incident and wanted protect her daughter, Betsy Spring said she realized it needed to be shared.
“I knew that there are rumors,” Betsy Spring said. “There’s a lot shared about racism in the South, and how people respond. There’s been some ugliness that has brewed in our country in the last few years that makes you aware that racism is still alive, and I was just afraid of what that would look like to my daughter in 2022.”
Spring’s mother, Betsy, said she was proud of how her daughter handled the situation despite her initial fears for her safety upon seeing the video of the incident.
“For more than 10 minutes, she was berated by someone who didn’t even have their right mind she was able to remember who she was and to smile and didn’t even realize the magnitude of who she was until after it had happened,” she said, via CBS.
Of course, Kylah sought justice for the attack. Rosing now faces multiple charges including alcohol intoxication and assaulting a police officer. However, Spring wasn’t so focused on the punishment but more on the lesson and opportunity for growth.
“I say that there is an opportunity for growth in this situation and I also say that this is an opportunity for not just her to grow and educate herself, but people who might have acted similarly or think similarly to her,” said Spring.
What would you have done if you were her?