White supremacy in America doesn’t just manifest itself out of nowhere; it is taught and instilled and deliberately allowed to fester in generation after generation. The idealistic delusion that the passage of time and the progress of society will end this hateful cycle is being sorely tested in the post-Trump era, and an appalling incident in Texas brings the issue into sharp relief.
A group of students at the Aledo ISD’s Daniel Ninth Grade campus were recently caught holding a “slave auction” of their black classmates on Snapchat. A screenshot showed that the chat was titled “N*gger Auction” and showed one student offering just $1 for a Black student because his hair was “so bad.”
White students from @AledoISD hosted a slave auction on Snapchat where they sold black classmates for between $1-$100.
The racism pouring into our politics, our public safety, our national security is being incubated in our schools. pic.twitter.com/jkdKXZfHz2
— S. Lee Merritt, Esq. (@MeritLaw) April 13, 2021
The school issued a statement to parents condemning the students and announcing that they had been punished, but raised the ire of local parents by refusing to call it “racism,” instead preferring to whitewash the incident as “cyberbullying,” according to NBC News’ Dallas-Fort Worth affiliate. “Calling it cyberbullying rather than calling it racism… that is the piece that really gets under my skin,” said local parent Mark Grubbs, who pulled his three kids from the Aledo-ISD school district in the wake of the incident.
The district superintendent later sent out a public statement that explicitly condemned racism and racial harassment, but their original response tells a much deeper story about the pervasiveness of racism in a community that is 97% white and 95% Trump voters.
As riots rock the nation in the wake of yet another Black man murdered by police while the trial of another high-profile police killing of a Black man unfolds, the murderous effects of the systematic dehumanization of Black Americans are horrifyingly clear — and incidents like this make it clear that racism is quietly cultivated in communities all across America.
These kids may not have fully understood the severity of their actions and reveled in being transgressive, but the fact that they felt comfortable enough to do this at all raises serious questions about what their parents are saying and doing at home.