Having been born and raised in the American south, I have never been surprised by the overt racism and xenophobia that often comes out to play every couple of years. It’s to be expected living in the land of Dixie and the Old South.
Case in point:
The San Antonio Independent School District filed a complaint with the UIL on Tuesday regarding a chant by Alamo Heights students after a boys basketball game against Edison High School on Saturday.
Heights students chanted “USA! USA!” after the Mules won the Region IV-4A championship against Edison at Littleton Gym on Saturday.
Edison’s roster is predominantly Hispanic.
The chant lasted for about five seconds. Alamo Heights head coach Andrew Brewer silenced the students as soon as he heard them.
SAISD athletic director Gil Garza filed the complaint with the University Interscholastic League, the governing body for Texas public schools. It was the second year in a row that a complaint about racially motivated chants was filed after the Region IV-4A basketball tournament.
A similar incident occurred last year in a game between Cedar Park and Lanier high schools.
“A bunch of kids made a poor decision, but we can’t ignore it,” Garza said. “Our community is fed up.”
A bunch of kids “made a poor decision.” Is that what we’re calling acts of racism and xenophobia nowadays?
Apparently, this isn’t anything new in Texas:
In last year’s incident, Cedar Park students chanted “USA, USA,” and “Arizona, Arizona,” the latter being a reference to the controversial immigration bill passed by that state. Leander ISD officials formally apologized.
“What’s different is that Cedar Park’s chants were throughout the game, and Alamo Heights took immediate action,” Garza said. “But it’s really frustrating that kids work so hard to get to this level and there’s another group of kids degrading them.”
What makes this so glaring is these kids were playing another American high school basketball team, which further makes this racist, xenophobic act quite bizarre.
This type of behavior by kids frustrates me because this obviously isn’t something they spontaneously started doing in jest. This type of racist, xenophobic behavior is learned early on in the home and somehow taught to children that it’s perfectly acceptable to lampoon other racial and ethnic minorities that whiteness continues to demonize on a regular basis.
Of course, the defenders have come out of the woodwork to defend these so-called helpless youths. From The Blaze (please check out the comments–they are filled with the predictability and expectations POCs have to deal with when it comes to whiteness dismissing or erasing acts of racism):
In a nutshell, the man in the video Joe Pags, who often fills in Glenn Beck, said no one in this country should ever make anyone feel bad for chanting “USA!” “The idea that that is negative or bad is a stupid lesson to teach kid.” That abbreviation should never be called a negative in this country, he goes on to say.
And if you’re offended, you should “grow up, get a thicker skin and realize where you are.”
After naming off the awards and recognition he’s received, Pags goes onto give his spin on what should have been really covered, which would include a reporter editorializing on what the meaning behind the chanting of “USA.” For someone who boasts about his journalistic excellence, dictating to reporters on how they should spin and cover this is truly professional…
I am well pass fed up with whiteness telling people of color to grow thicker skin and to just learn to take a joke when the insults are hurled at us. I am fed up with having to sit around and listen to backers of whiteness whine and bitch about political correctness cramping their ability to tell racist, sexist, ableist, homophobic, transphobic, fat-shaming jokes. I am tired of listening to the insults and shame being brought about to me just because I don’t fit into whiteness’s acceptable mold of what is right.
I am tired of being told by whiteness that people of color make everything a racial issue and that we are too hung up on race. I am tired of being told by people like Pags that I just need to relax and learn to take a joke. I am tired of being told by people like Pags that racism is not that big of a deal and that they actually have friends who are people of color. I am tired of watching whiteness and racism work collectively to dehumanize and label people of color as The Other while dictating to us what we can or can’t perceive as racism.
People of color, who are marginalized and ostracized day in and day out by whiteness and its practitioners, have a right to live in a society, attend classes, go out and about and live their daily lives without facing the possibility of racial insults. Women, children, people and children with mental and/or physical disabilities, people who are overweight and members of the GLBTQ community have the inherent right in this country to be treated and respected as equal citizens in this country.
And before any of you backers and practitioners of whiteness jump in and defend this team’s actions, ask yourself this: would this team do this if they were playing another majority white team that had a couple of token minority team members? Don’t lie to yourself and say they would because you and I both know this team only pulled this racist stunt because the team was majority Hispanic.
Whiteness–and these little racist, xenophobic basketball players and their supporters–have no right to demonstrate the racial and ethnic superiority society has granted them in an attempt to make this majority Hispanic/Latino basketball team feel inferior and unwelcome. This racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Latino chant was not only racist and xenophobic, it also gave the audience a clear view of this team’s lack of sportsmanship, class and integrity–something they obviously inherited from the adults in their lives.