Culture

White Students Wear Du-Rags And Cornrows In Racist Thug Day Celebration

@Rachellemmma / Twitter

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.

Credit: @Rachellemmma / Twitter

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.

Credit: @NorthStarTheGod / Twitter

“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.

Credit: @Rachellemmma / Twitter

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.

Credit: @Rachellemmma / Twitter

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.

READ: A Student Holding A Racist Promposal Sign Is Banned From The School Dance And Good

A Tragic Accident Left Two Teenage Daughters Without Parents While Vacationing In Turks And Caicos

Things That Matter

A Tragic Accident Left Two Teenage Daughters Without Parents While Vacationing In Turks And Caicos

Irma Isabel Barrera / Facebook

There is terrible news out of the Turks and Caicos Islands where authorities say three Texas tourists, including a married couple, drowned during a recent vacation. According to People Magazine, the couple, Irma Barrera, 33, and her husband, Roy Perez, 38, were vacationing with their 15-year-old daughter and the third victim and his daughter when they drowned after getting caught in a quick-moving tide this past Monday. 

The group was reportedly exploring Bambarra Beach, a popular and scenic tourist area when the group of five got caught in a tidal wave that fueled by strong winds. The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force said the incident happened around 1 p.m. near the beach which is located on the sparsely populated island of Middle Caicos.

Barrera’s body would be found washed ashore shortly after the incident and after searchers scoured the beaches, they recovered Perez’s a few hours later. The third body, identified as Dr. Richard Okoloise, was discovered early on Tuesday morning with assistance from the US Coast Guard.

The terrible incident has now left two families torn apart and two children devastated by the loss of a parent.

Credit: @CNN / Twitter

The victims belonged to two families who hailed from Texas. Their families say the group was vacationing together along with their two girls. Residents in the area say that the families may have been attempting to swim a short distance through the shallow waters from Bambarra Beach to Pelican Cay, which is nearby to the beach when they were swept away in the fast-moving tide.

Rescuers were able to rescue both of the young girls from the water and save them from drowning. Both were being cared for shortly after by local social welfare services. Family members back home are working to get the children back to the home to the United States. According to KTRK-TV, family members of Barrera’s and Perez’s were traveling to the Caribbean archipelago on Wednesday to bring the couple’s daughter home and seek more answers on how this incident could have ever happened. 

“This was a tragic loss of life and obviously all of us are asking every question we can about what went wrong,” Commissioner of Police Trevor Botting said in a public statement. “Our thoughts and our prayers go out to everyone, most especially the children involved.

“We live in a world filled with many bad things, but we still have good Samaritans,” Botting added. “I would like to thank those who came to the aide of the children and everyone who were a part of the search and rescue, this includes volunteers, our Emergency Response Teams and the U.S. Coastguard Helicopter crew.”

We are now learning more about the couple and father who tragically drowned. 

Credit: @abcnews / Twitter

Families and friends are now mourning the horrible incident and remembering those who have been lost. According to her Facebook profile, Barrera worked as a nurse at Angleton Emergency Room while her husband is being called a “family man” by various friends on Facebook. 

“My classmate, friend, brother this is how I’ll remember you. Every picture with your family always brought a smile. A class clown to say the least! I remember about a year ago you messaged me saying that you were proud of me. Yet today I want to say how proud I am of you. Your daughters adore you man! Your daughters will forever be in my prayers. May You & your Wife Rest In Peace.” a friend wrote on his Facebook profile.

Okoloise, an emergency medicine physician in Angleton, Texas, is being also hailed a great person who had an undeniable love for his young daughter. He was said to have always wanted to travel to Turks and Caicos if he ever got rich. 

“He loved medicine, traveling, and his family,” Annamarie Kilgore, a friend and colleague of Okoloise wrote on Facebook. “I will miss his ridiculous talks. However, I’m thankful he was called while being in his favorite place in the world. He always told me ‘if I ever disappear after a lottery win, I’ll be hiding in Turks and Caicos.'”

The deadly incident has prompted calls from local residents for authorities to put up warning signs on the islands which are often-deserted beaches. It’s yet to be determined if any action will be taken to further stop any future incident similar to this. 

Family friends have set up a GoFundMe page to pay for funeral arrangements.

READ: Central Americans Flee Their Countries Because Of Violence But Also Because They Have No Water

This Corrido About The Shooting In El Paso, Texas, Will Break Your Heart And Make You Proud To Be Mexican

Entertainment

This Corrido About The Shooting In El Paso, Texas, Will Break Your Heart And Make You Proud To Be Mexican

Mundo México / YouTube

In Mexican culture, storytelling is everything. Our stories are rarely written down on a page, let alone documented by government officials, which means it is up to us to tell the stories, so they are never forgotten. It’s a practice as old as time. Aside from oral histories that are told within families and communities, Mexicans also write corridos — Spanish ballads — that tell a story about a particular moment or situation. They all contain the same musical melody, which makes them so recognizable. Oxford bibliographies note that corridos are “typically performed a cappella or accompanied by stringed instruments, most commonly guitars,” and it is “performed in regular dance meters, they are commonly set to waltz or polka rhythms.” So, while the melody may be familiar, it is the words to each corrido that makes the song distinctive. It’s our musical tradition that dates back to the Mexican Revolutions of the 20th century, and they remain very much alive today. 

On Tuesday, two Latinos performed a corrido titled “El Llanto de El Paso Texas” during a vigil in El Paso, Texas. 

Here’s the English translation of the Spanish song:  

“I’m going to sing a corrido/ Listen closely/ In the United States/ City of El Paso Texas/ Many people are crying/ Because of what happened here/ On the 3rd of August/ One Saturday morning/ At Walmart by Cielo Vista/ People walked peacefully/ But they never imagined/ Their lives would be changed/ You could hear several gunshots/ A gun went off/ The massacre began/ And my people got scared/ They didn’t know where to run/ But everyone helped each other/ These things that I tell you/ The news reported about it/ 22 dead and 26 injured/ El Chuco is now sad/ Many families are mourning/ It was an act of terrorism/ That this monster caused/ He tried to break my people/ Be he didn’t achieve that/ Now we are more united/ Thanks be to god.”

This powerful Spanish ballad was recorded and tweeted by photojournalist J. Omar Ornelas.

Credit: @fotornelas / Twitter

The vigil, which fell on the eve before President Donald Trump’s visit to El Paso included several moments of prayer by the hundreds in attendance. Ornelas tweeted, “In death nobody kills us, we only know how to be reborn with our culture,” and added, “the power of prayer was visible.” 

People loved the song’s poignant message that both informed about what happened, and spoke of strength and unity.

Credit: @itsjveliz / Twitter

@amiradelagarza tweeted, “A corrido about the Cielo Vista massacre in El Paso — because the Mexican response to suffering and death is not to turn away from it. 

Another said, “Already there’s a powerful corrido about the El Paso shootings. Best line: ‘…quiso romper a mi gente, pero esto no lo logro…’ (‘…he tried to break my people, but this couldn’t do…’) #ElPasoStrong.”

This corridor is just the latest tune to go viral in the wake of the El Paso shooting.

Credit: @AngelicaMCasas / Twitter

Earlier this week, a local mariachi shared their rendition of the classic song of loss by Juan Gabriel,  “Amor Eterno.” The song which is typically played during funerals or at somber moments showed the resilience of the Latino community as well as pride for the Mexican culture. 

Nancy Hernandez tweeted, “Not only Mexicans, most Latinos use this song. Breaks my heart every time I hear it! But what do hateful racists know about our great heritage/spirituality/love of God. #BanTrumpFromElPaso #RespectTheDead I would roll over in my grave! #TrumpIsARacist 7 were Mexicans!” Michael Esposito said, “Amor Eterno is one of the most heart-rending songs ever written, and masterfully clothes the profound sadness of losing a loved one with high artistry. I get goosebumps listening to it, whether it’s the composer Juan Gabriel’s version or Rocío Dúrcal’s version.”

Corridos are also infamously known to tell the stories about the drug cartel. While it may have a violent connect, corridos mostly speak of heartbreak. 

Like folk songs of the ’60s, corridos are extremely crucial to the understanding of a particular culture. Corridos are relevant and studied. Several books have been written about the topic including, Gurza, Agustín “A Century of Corridos: The Musical History of Mexico and Its People,” Hernández, Guillermo E, “What Is a Corrido? Thematic Representation and Narrative Discourse.” 

Now, “El Llanto de El Paso Texas” will be forever remembered as the corrido that was about a tragic day in El Paso, Texas. 

READ: While El Paso Was A Devastating Moment In U.S. History, These People Stood Up To Save Anyone They Could

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