Shoot, I forgot to include the link to the article where you can watch the actual video and hear the boys mother speaking about it and see the actual pain in her eyes that I am feeling. You can see it here or by clicking the title link.
For me, Wednesday morning was a bright and shiny new day. I was full of hope and dreams and a certain amount of satisfaction that I played a tiny part in the outcome. All day Tuesday, Wednesday and most of Thursday, I felt this way. This is one reason I wanted to get that first video posted (see below). It showed the exuberance of an entire side of town that doesn't normally have enough hope or belief in the system to even bother to vote. I was proud of the fact that out of 1.9 million registered voters in Mississippi 1.2 million of us (a record) believed/cared enough to go vote. Just to hear all those cars honking and seeing all the smiles on the faces as they honked was a miracle in itself and dammit, it brought tears to my eyes and even more important to the boy's eyes. When I saw that I knew I had done what I set out to do from his very birth...to raise a caring, socially conscious being. I know if I were to die tomorrow, he will be alright.
Then came the Thursday evening news and I had to come on back down to reality and realize that racism is still very much a living, breathing rabid animal. I cannot tell you the sadness that envelops me as I am about to post this article. I just want to go take to my bed, pull the covers over my head and sleep. Sleep...for long enough for change to actually happen. I can't do that, I know. I have to go on fighting for change until I die. It is my lot in life and I live with it. Ok, deep breath...hear is the article taken from WAPT's (our ABC affiliate) website...
"Some Pearl Students Told Not To Say Obama's Name
PEARL, Miss. -- The Pearl Schools superintendent said that a school bus driver and a coach were disciplined for allegedly telling students not to say President-elect Barack Obama’s name.
Reporters with 16 WAPT News received several calls from upset parents that said a school bus driver told the children on a Pearl school bus that if they said Obama’s name, they would be written up and taken to the principal’s office for disciplinary reasons.
Another parent said that a coach at Pearl Junior High School told students that if they speak Obama’s name, they would face expulsion.
Parents said the incident is sad as America begins a new presidency.
"They feel like they are afraid to say our president's name because they will get in trouble," mother Canishia Simpson said. "They shouldn't have to feel that way."
Simpson's son Reginald was one of two students removed from a Pearl school bus Wednesday morning.
Reginald Simpson said kids on the school bus were saying, "Obama is our president." That's when he said the bus driver told the kids not to say the president-elect's name because she didn't want to hear it.
"Somebody said, 'This is history, woman,'" Reginald Simpson said. "She pulled over and kicked me and the kid off the bus."
The two boys were left at Pearl High School. They were later taken to Pearl Junior High School, where they attend school.
"We teach our kids not to be racist, and here it is going on," Canishia Simpson said. "I feel hurt by this."
School officials looked at surveillance video from inside the bus. They told Canishia Simpson that the bus driver overreacted.
In a separate incident, a girl's basketball coach at Pearl Junior High School told students they would be suspended for saying Obama's name.
"I did have two incidents and the principals did review the bus driver tapes. It appears that some persons, out of disappointment and disillusionment with the election, may have been so frustrated that they said something inappropriate to students,” Pearl Schools Superintendent John Ladner said. “We have taken appropriate steps with the bus driver and the coach.”
Ladner would not say what disciplinary action was taken.
"This is what the whole election was about, to support someone," parent Venus Neagu said. "Now they are facing consequences for it."
Neagu's son Devin was on the bus Wednesday. He did not get kicked off, but his mother said she plans to confront school officials about the incident.
Both of the students kicked off the school bus were allowed to ride on Thursday. They won't face any disciplinary action from the school.
“As adults and professionals we are not going to deprive anyone of their excitement over the current election of President-elect Obama, or any other candidate,” Ladner said. “The whole nation was excited, and in no way and at no time will children be disciplined for saying the name of the president-elect of the United States. Any employee who would attempt to do that would be corrected and disciplined. We expect professional behavior, respect and demeanor of staff and students. It is unfortunate that some employees mishandled this situation but they have been disciplined and I have spent the day clarifying our policies."
Pearl's school superintendent said no child will be punished for saying Obama, Barack Obama or President Obama.
Ladner said this is a part of our history now, and students will learn it."
These were junior high school kids with justifiable exuberance...I just want to say "get a grip, bitches...slap, slap, punch" It's probably a good thing I wasn't on that bus or in that gym class. Disciplined, my ass. I personally think they should have both been fired on the spot with no compensation whatsoever. To me, it was terrorism, plain and simple.
Oh, and if you want to read a flip side to the issue and more, Pandagon has a great post up about it.
Friday, November 7, 2008