White Students Wear Du-Rags And Cornrows In Racist Thug Day Celebration
After a long list of racist promposals already this year, this news out of Houston is shocking but unfortunately not surprising.
Around 30 white students at Memorial High School in Houston, Texas, sported cornrows, baggy sports jerseys, and gold chains on Tuesday for what many students called “Thug Day.”
The photos of students posing in the racist caricatures went viral after one student posted them to social media.
The tweet shows students wearing sweatbands and fake tattoos that read ”$wag” for Spirit week, and her tweet quickly went viral. Other photos show female students dressed in baggy pants, sporting fake face tattoos and handcuffs. As of Wednesday, the images had received over 20,000 retweets and more than 4,000 comments.
One student had enough and took to social media to call out the blatant racism.
Since taking to Twitter, other students have been harassing her and threatening her to pull the tweet. One person even posted her home address online.
Rachel Goodwin, the student who shared the photos, told Buzzfeed News that she felt unsafe returning to school and that after receiving a slew of death threats, the school allowed her to stay home.
The outfits sparked controversy online, with many criticizing the students for appropriating and mocking black culture.
“Black people with this hair are denied jobs, internships, and get harassed at their schools. Here, Memorial High School students, are using it as costume,” one Twitter user wrote. “It’s rude. It’s racist.”
It’s just another example of white students creating unsafe spaces for students of color.
In interviews with Buzzfeed News, many other students said the teens depicted in the photos are also upset by the online attention. According to them, some are also feeling unsafe to return to school.
Many on Twitter were quick to point out how non-POCs love to appropriate other cultures without understanding the experience behind it.
Goodwin told Buzzfeed News, “The kids wear du-rags and cornrows to be ‘thuggish’ but those things are not thuggish. They are cultural and part of people’s everyday life.”
Officials at Memorial High School released a statement regarding the racist interpretation of Spirit Week.
“While the majority of rising juniors followed the approved dress theme on Tuesday, any instance of an inappropriate or offensive dress violation will not be tolerated. Students found to be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and dress code will be given a consequence,” a rep for Spring Branch Independent School District said.
Many current and former students are calling BS on the school’s response, saying that this incident is just another year in a long pattern.
From as early as 2015, students have been dressing up in offensive costumes, according to Rachel Goodwin, the student who posted the most recent photos online.
In a statement to the Huffington Post, Monica Day, a 2016 graduate, confirmed “thug day” has been happening for years, just under a different name. A few of the themed days for Spirit Week were “Swag Day” and “Senioritas Day” which, devolved into the same offensive costumes. She said on Senioritas Day many students wore sombreros and mustaches, and one female student wore a Border Patrol outfit.
According to another student, these students can’t blame ignorance because the school magazine just ran a cover story about cultural appropriation back in March.
And in 2016, a wall at the school was covered with racial slurs and anti-Semitic insults.