Naively, you might have assumed that teenagers in the San Francisco Bay Area would be less blatantly racist than teenagers in, say, the depths of Mississippi in 1952. Sadly, you would be wrong.
Earlier this month, we saw the troubling case of teenagers from a high school in Albany who sued the school district because they got in trouble for liking and commenting on racist Instagram posts. Now KRON 4 reports that a federal judge has ordered the Albany School District to stop disciplining the four students in question. Apparently one of the kids was facing an expulsion hearing in June, and he's now off the hook. The teens' lawsuit claimed that they have a First Amendment right to like whatever they want on social media.
But hold on, things are worse than that.
Down south in Los Gatos, high school students at Los Gatos High School have a tradition of dramatically asking each other to prom. It's a whole thing with them and kids are VERY into it. (This American Life covered some similar practices at a Utah high school in a recent episode.) SFGate gives us the scoop (via the school's newspaper El Gato) that this year's prom invitation situation got real racist.
In two separate incidents, students apparently used racist "humor" to ask a potential date to dance around a gym. In the first instance, a student created a poster that depicted a poorly-drawn lynching and asked, "Do u wanna be like a n***** and hang at PROM?"
The two did not end up going to prom together. GOOD.
Another student asked someone to prom using a dark-skinned bitmoji (you know how you can change the skin-tone on emojis? Yeah, that.) The little emoji is designed with blue glasses and a hair bow, but when that student decided to bring the emoji image to life for the big prom ask, he eschewed the spectacles and the bow and instead just showed up in blackface. NBC Bay Area has a picture of this disaster.
School #: (408) 354-2730— ️️️ (@yeunscollins) May 27, 2017
Do your thing twitter. pic.twitter.com/G9pHR1w4uT
As El Gato explains, "The junior asked the sophomore in front of an audience of friends before taking a picture featuring the poster. The picture was posted on both Snapchat and Instagram and circulated throughout the school. Eventually, the administration was notified."
Stanford-bound Los Gatos High senior and editor-in-chief of El Gato Danika Lyle published an opinion piece calling out her classmates. "As Lucey pointed out in his Facebook post, one of the most unnerving things about this prom ask is the lack of protest. It had received fifty seven likes. Fifty seven people viewed the post and overlooked its racism. Moreover, 11 people were brave enough to leave comments like 'this is iconic,' 'GOAT,' and 'U the MVP.' Praising someone for blackface does not leave you innocent. By applauding the Instagram post, you are supporting the perpetuation of a racist practice," wrote Lyle.
Lucey refers to Miles Patrick Lucey, an alum of the high school who took to social media with Los Gatos High School's Facebook Page with his concerns. "GOAT" is teenager slang for "Greatest Of All Time."
Administrators took to El Gato, currently the Bay's most high-trafficked high school newspaper site, to say, "No communication about any school event should denigrate another person or group for any reason. We are aware of two prom asks this spring that have been of a racist nature and want this choice of behavior never to recur."
Obviously, folks are pissed that the school isn't doing more to educate these deplorable teens on the consequences of hate crimes. Instead administrators claim they are working to respond to these incidents "sensitively."
ABC 7 reported on the situation in a post titled, "Los Gatos HS controversial 'prom asks' racist according to some." TO SOME.