Racism Column Sparks Tensions Student Column at Wheaton North Slams Black History Month
Fuller, James, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: James Fuller Daily Herald Staff Writer
Black students at Wheaton North High School say they're outraged about an opinion piece in the school newspaper that called Black History Month racist against whites.
School officials, who denounced the publication of the column, said it sparked racial tension in the school and brought to light the need for diversity and sensitivity training for all students.
Junior Latina Adams and seniors La Toya Jones and Brittaney Walton said they were shocked and upset about the column, which was written by a 15-year-old sophomore and appeared in this month's issue of the Falcon Flyer under the headline, "Racism ... Against White People?"
The column slams Black History Month as promoting racism against whites when they try to get jobs or apply to colleges.
"Black History Month is a good idea ... but why are African- Americans the only ones honored with a month about their history?" the column said in part. "Caucasian Americans are not being accepted into the college of their dreams because a less qualified minority has taken their place."
The column was published after being reviewed by faculty adviser Jeff Potter. He could not be reached for comment but did explain his reasoning to principal Jill Bullo.
Bullo said Potter told her that the article was labeled an opinion piece and, right or wrong, he believed the author was entitled to her opinion.
"He has since come to realize what a huge error in judgment it was," Bullo said. "It was inappropriate to put it in our paper. There should not be any articles in the school paper that disrupt the learning environment, and this, in fact, did."
It did more than that, said Adams, Jones and Walton.
Besides being angered by the content of the piece, the students said the article was an example of what they view as a string of recent racist incidents.
The students said that a picture of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, posted at the school for Black History Month, was defaced with a racial epithet.
They also said a black female student was confronted by a white female student with the words "white power." Adams said someone stuck a copy of the newspaper column in the slot of her locker to make sure Adams read it.
Bullo said she never saw the Jackson picture and only learned of the defacing after the column came out. All photos for Black History Month came down at the end of February. …