From Traverse City, Michigan, we find this wonderful example of ‘heartland values’ (boldface mine):
Nevaeh Wharton was busy with homework one evening in late April when her phone pinged with a warning. A friend had texted to say something disgusting was happening in a private Snapchat group chat.
When the 16-year-old woke the next morning, another message was waiting for her: She had been discussed in the group. Pretty soon the whole story trickled out. A group of mostly White students attending two of Traverse City’s high schools, including Nevaeh’s, had held a mock slave auction on the social media app, “trading” their Black peers for money.
“I know how much I was sold for: one hundred dollars,” said Nevaeh, who is half-Black. “And in the end I was given away for free” — to the friend who first warned her about the group.
The Snapchat group, titled “slave trade,” also saw a student share the messages “all blacks should die” and “let’s start another holocaust,” according to screenshots obtained by The Washington Post. It spurred the fast-tracking of a school equity resolution that condemned racism and vowed Traverse City Area Public Schools would better educate its overwhelmingly White student body and teaching staff on how to live in a diverse country….
The equity resolution was unprecedented in Traverse City, an idyllic lakeside vacation spot with a population of 16,000 that is more than 90 percent White and politically split between red and blue. The two-page document, inspired by nationwide protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death last year, suggested more training for teachers and adding overlooked viewpoints to the school system’s libraries and curriculum…
In interviews, children of color in Traverse City reported enduring years of harassment in the classroom and on the playing field. Black, Native American and LGBTQ students said casual racism, sexism and homophobia form part of daily life. Some White children said they have witnessed this, too.
Sounds good? Maybe that’s something schools should do, especially in the face of bigotry? Never fear, anti-CRT moral panic is here!
But White parents say their hometown was never racist — at least not until an obsession with race began infecting the school system through its embrace of CRT, an allegation school officials have denied. Now, these parents say, their children are coming home from school feeling ostracized for their conservatism and worried they must adhere to a liberal agenda to earn good grades on their assignments. The parents declined to make their children available for interviews, saying the students were either not interested or feared being labeled racist for sharing their beliefs.
“We don’t, not even for a second, think about race,” said Darcie Pickren, 67, a vocal leader of the anti-CRT movement who is White, with Irish and Native American ancestry, and two of whose children graduated from the school system. “We never would. And I think that this is opening a can of worms and we are not going to be able to go back.”
Added Sally Roeser, 44, a White mother of two who graduated from Traverse public schools: “We were all brought up not to take someone’s race into consideration. That’s what we’re guaranteed in America.”
Please hold for a moment, Sally Roeser, while I get centuries of American history on the line. When you add in things like kids saying ‘niagra’ so they won’t get in trouble for using epithets, something isn’t right in Traverse City. Yes, kids will learn bad things from other kids, including those on the internet. But according to the students, including White ones, bigotry seems pervasive enough–not conservative ideology, but outright bigotry–that something has gone wrong. Maybe reading a few history books that highlight that history wouldn’t be a bad thing.
Because it’s pretty clear some parents weren’t teaching their kids bigotry is wrong.
Which I’m sure all of the parents believe, right?