Wednesday, October 18, 2017

An Open Letter to the Students of Brooke High School




Hello. You don't know me, but many of you, and your parents, hate my guts. I don't hate you. At all. I understand completely, and fully, that I do not know you. But I do know one thing: you and I have a chance to learn from each other.

I am a high school Librarian. I LOVE my job. I LOVE my school and my students. I think of them as my own children. If I worked in your school, I would think of you as my own children, too. It's a magical thing that happens to teachers: our hearts stretch, the longer we are in a classroom, and we find our capacity for love increases with the number of children we get to know. I hope that in this letter, I can be of some service to you.


I grew up poor, white, and rural. I dreamed of having clean, white leather tennis shoes and pants long enough to cover my skinny ankles. Instead, I had funky Kmart burgundy tennis shoes and hand-me-down jeans, floods--showing off 3 inches of mismatched socks. My immediate family was unabashedly racist. It bothered me. I grew up, somehow made it to college, and learned better, because I liked to read, and the university I attended was a great one. I became a school librarian because I love books, and I love kids.


Several weeks back, a friend of mine messaged me a picture her husband sent her from the Perry football game he was attending. You were the opposing team. Some of you had painted a big banner that read, "Trump Perry." It was in all red, white and blue, and the President's hair was drawn over his name. In the picture, you were behind the banner. You looked like an all-white crowd dressed in red, white, and blue, holding your arms out with a #1, or, in a few cases, flipping the bird.


I gaped at it, stunned. Then I went to Brooke's Twitter account and got a better, more frontal view of the banner, and of you behind it, and had the same reaction: from the gut: like someone had punched me. Irrationally, as I am 50, white, and was far away from where the banner was being held, I felt frightened. Then, I felt incredulous, and sick to my stomach. I thought: "Why are these kids doing something so cruel and heartless?" I tweeted, retweeting the picture your school had put on their account, and wrote: "My mostly Black, inner-city school played this team last night and were confronted w/this. Sickening racism."


The banner became a story that went places. The Pittsburgh paper covered it, the USAToday covered it, some other local and national papers covered it. I started getting hundreds of hate tweets from folks who thought what I had said about the banner was itself racist. Never mind that the definition of racism says this:



rac·ism
ˈrāˌsizəm/
noun
  1. prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.


so--me talking to white people as an example of "racism" is nonsense.


It didn't occur to me until weeks later that I hadn't stopped to analyze what my own reaction to "Trump Perry" meant. Why had I reacted with fear, anger, and the desire to protect my students-- just to the President's name? Why had that image created such an intense response in me-- when people who were tweeting at me, furious, claimed not to have had any ill intent at all? Some of you started tweeting at me-- some openly, some of you privately. Some of you were red-hot angry. Some of you called me names, mocking me, my school, my students. Some of you were polite, and just asking: Why are you saying this is racist? We didn't mean it to be!! We had no ill-intention! More than one of you was ashamed, apologetic.


If we were together right now, this is what I would say to you, face to face: I was scared when I saw your banner. This is why: for my students, there are implicit dangers to living in America. Those dangers are especially pronounced when entering a mostly white community. And my students were a long bus ride away from home.


Many of you may honestly not know that, because you are not Black. You haven't walked through the world as a Black person in America, lived the history of a Black person in America, or grown up as a Black person in America.


That's not meant as a put-down or in any way as an angry statement toward you. I'm white. But the banner your school put up at the football game was a mistake. Whether you were part of it or not, whether you were for or against it, here are some facts:


1. The parents of the only Black player on your team asked the Custodian in your school to take the banner down. The Custodian asked the Principal to take it down. Your Principal refused. It is clear that for at least one person in your community before the game, this banner was a problem. To his credit, your Principal has admitted not listening to the parent was a big mistake. However: this incident should begin to start making you ask: whose voices are elevated in your school? Why? Why not?

2. Every high school team trades film before football games, usually a week in advance. Your football team would have seen film of our team a week before we played. Your team knew our team was primarily African-American. Who knew that, other than the team, is something only you know.
3. It is time for you to understand that Black people have experienced, and experience America differently than white people do, and that to be a good person, and a good American, you individually, and collectively must be sensitive to that fact, work to deepen your understandings about what that means and why that is, and take on your work as an American.

The "Trump Perry" incident happened within an educational setting. The work to set it right can and should be educational. If we all are humble enough to acknowledge the need to keep learning, we will all come out the better. Here are some things I have learned, both while doing my undergraduate and graduate work, and while having the privilege of working in a racially diverse school district.


We white people live in a world where our race is invisible to us. That is a function of a thing, a term, called whiteness. It's related to white privilege, something we all have, if we are white, no matter how poor, how hard we had or have it, where we are from, or where we are going. It's just a fact in America that if you are white-- you have a kind of privilege you didn't earn.


Check this out: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack


I had white privilege when I was that ten-year old in my weird shoes and floods, because I wasn't going to be profiled by a racist power structure-- police in the street, teachers, store owners, doctors, Principals-- few of them saw me as a physical threat, followed me around stores, thinking I was going to steal because of how I looked; they didn't assume I was engaging in risky behavior if I wore a hoodie-- they thought I was most likely like their daughter at home. Because I was white.


So what is this thing I am calling whiteness?


Consider Calgary Anti-Racist Education's collection of definitions for it: Understanding Whiteness


Here is an article I like. Check it out, written by Nell Irvin Painter, who is the professor emerita of history at Princeton University. Professor Painter wrote the book, "The History of White People." What Is Whiteness?


Criminally, oppression against our Black brothers and sisters did not end with slavery, or with the Civil Rights movement. It is really important to feel the weight of history when you try to appreciate someone else's experience. For a great introduction to historical injustices suffered by Black people, read Ta-Nehesi Coates' ground breaking essay from The Atlantic, "The Case for Reparations." This is a long and kind of difficult piece, but it is worth every word.


Ta-Nehesi Coates is an incredibly important writer for you to read right now. To better understand why some people, not just myself, react to Trump's name alone as a symbol of whiteness, read this: The First White President. It is worth it to find and read a lot of what Coates writes. 


The following articles will give you background on how Trump's name is being used as a threat in schools nationwide: In Some High School Gyms, Trump's Name is a Taunt and this: Bullies Have a New Intimidation Tactic on Campus: The Name "Trump"

I think it is important to read a LOT of fiction from the perspectives of people who do not look like you, or have the same background as you. At Perry, we have a Student-Staff Book Club. Start your own. Challenge your parents, your teachers, your favorite aunt and uncle, to read with you. Here are some great books:


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

How It Went Down by Kekla Magoon
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds
Black Lives Matter by Sue Bradford Edwards
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin
Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

This might seems obnoxious to you; some lady from far away, who you don't know, finding something you did or didn't directly do really wrong, then lecturing you about it in a blog, and worse, presuming to give you homework and reading. Like I'm some race expert, right? Like I'm some enlightened being who knows so much about how to be "woke."


I don't. All I know is that I love my students. I am pretty sure that if I knew you well, and if you were my kids, I'd love you, too. That's what teachers do. And the best way I can love you-- from afar-- is to challenge you to be whom I- and who your teachers, administrators, school district, parents, community, and country need you to be-- people who read widely, think broadly, unlearn and relearn ideas, and try on new ways of being in this world. So-- pick up a book, read two or three of these books and/or articles, and write me a long comment about what you think about them. I'll write you back if you promise to truly think about what you read. Let's learn from each other. 


Love, Ms. May

More Book lists:

Oakland Public Library Blog
Black Lives Matter: A Reading List
Book Riot Black Lives Matter Book Video List












44 comments:

  1. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=z2d2SzRZvsQ

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=eWNJ5CKgZbg

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  2. Good evening Ms. May,

    May I say, once again, I'm appalled at the way you have chosen to handle this issue. I understand your position as an educator how you grow to love your students as your own. I, too have been so fortunate. To accuse so many of hating you puts you in a position of being thought about far more than you are. And hate is not what is happening at the moment. Healing from your careless handling of that evening's events is what is happening in this county.

    Students who have the best hearts, not an ounce of prejudice in their bodies were put onto a public stage and made to defend themselves over something clever and fun they had planned for their red, white, and blue spirt week. Ms. May, your students were not driven into some white affluent area or treated poorly. Nor were there any actions to support your emotional response that this sign was up to mean to inflict intimidation. You chose to think this with not an ounce of supporting evidence.

    You don't know my children at all Ms. May. My children, not unlike yours, have seen their share of struggles. This are once support steady blue collar jobs. That is rarely the case anymore. My children have no running water. My children have seen both of their parents dead from overdosing. I had one child who got herself up everyday in the seventh grade, got ready for school while her drug-addicted mother was in jail for shop lifting after burning down the kitchen under the influence. Many parents struggle to feed their children. Our school often sends bags of food home on the weekend so the family has something to eat or feed those kids until they return to school. You made skin color an issue, Ms. May. Not my children. Had a responsible adult handled this situation correctly, they would have sought out a responsible adult and had a discussion about the feelings at that moment and why. Believe it or not, we are understanding people. We might have overlooked your feelings because we overlook color of the skin and mean no harm to anyone we host.

    Please don't use your age as an excuse to respond emotionally to a situation. At the very least, your age should be the very reason you respond rationally and set an example for children you supervise and who look to you for guidance. I am your age Ms. May, and yet I know how to behave as a responsible adult, in charge of children and one who serves as an example.

    A parent who is not happy with how another adult's child behaves discusses that behavior, Ms. May. They don't put it on Twitter to make a bigger deal about something that was never intended to be one. You received your apology. I am disgusted you once again take to the public forum to bring this situation to light once again after it has been laid to rest.

    As for your vocabulary lesson and suggested books to read, this might surprise you. But this little old West Virginia town has a great deal to offer our own students in the form of educating them. We do not need or want your suggestions of vocabulary words or reading lists as we as educators and "parents" who love and care for our children are quite capable of providing on our own.

    We don't hate you Ms. May. But we do wish you would simply go away.

    Sincerely,

    The surrogate parent of the Brooke County Children
    Miss Rae Ann Beatty

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    1. LOVE this!!!!!
      Wendi Mitchell

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    2. You Freaking PeopleOctober 24, 2017 at 6:01 AM

      If your "little old West Viriginia town" doesn't have the books Ms. May suggested, then the problem IS you and your community. Any library who doesn't own those books and doesn't promote them to their patrons isn't doing her job. Her resources are excellent suggestions and perhaps, if you read them, you would better understand where she's coming from. She's trying to protect her kids from racism. You're trying to protect yours from... what, exactly? Knowing life is hard for people of color? Being called racist? When you know better, you can do better. Hopefully now your kids know better since obviously you aren't willing to be the person to teach them these lessons.

      I grew up in a white working class family and I see my privilege every single day. It is a shame you refuse to see what is so clearly in front of you, even when someone takes the time to explain it to you and give you the resources to learn more about it on your own. This was a gift. Accept it for what it is.

      Sincerely,
      A librarian who's pretty over you people and your nonsense

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  3. In all this rambling...you never explained why YOU(and ONLY you) feel the word "Trump" is racist!! In fact, I think that YOU are the one who is racist!!! You made the sign racist all by yourself and you caused problems that didn't even exist between two schools!! You should be ashamed of yourself for what you have caused!! Like I said..YOU are the only racist one in this situation!! I will be praying for you!

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    1. So, you clearly didn't read her post at all. Do you even know what the definition of racism is?

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  4. After seeing the attack on a teacher on the North Side yesterday by an angry parent and covering many acts of violence in the same area for the past 17 years, I can honestly say the dangers you mention for your students are vastly more pronounced in their own neighborhood than anywhere in Brooke County.

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  5. As someone who graduated from Brooke High School, I have to sadly say that your words are going to fall on deaf ears. These people do not want to read what you have to say, they do not want to consider the opinions or feelings of others, they do not want to empathize with situations different from their own. They have a chip on their shoulder because they feel left behind, but instead of rallying with others who feel this way, they for some reason feel entitled to be taken care of first because of their whiteness. Try to explain privilege to anyone there, and they will laugh at you and tell you how they grew up poor, as if being poor somehow equates to not being white. They do not get it and will not get it. I applaud you for trying, but it's a lost cause.

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    1. Sadly, this says it all. So true. I agree completely, but also thank you for your attempt.

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    2. Why be anonymous?

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  6. White privilege LMAO!! If you're so weak minded that the name of your president hurts your feelings you have bigger problems in life than a sign.

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  7. Ah Ms. May you never fail to disappoint. Let me tell YOU a story about a "white privilege" West Virginia family. This family was made up of a single mother with 7 children and a father who showed up when he felt like it. The mother worked 3 part time jobs to support her family most of her young adult life. Christmas was just another day, unless of course the children's father chose to show up and smack them around as a special holiday treat. These kids got into trouble often, got into fights, kicked off the school bus. They were made fun of for wearing old torn clothing and one of them was bullied for having a lazy eye. They were also chased home many times by other kids. Does that sound like White Privilege ? Or maybe that sounds like a familiar story to you in regards to some of your students? Now... let me wow YOU with a vocabulary word...RESILIENCE. Resilience refers to one's ability to give in to their circumstances or to overcome them. EVERYONE has that choice. Fortunately, these children in this family chose to overcome. One of these children, my father, was fortunate enough to get into football and he was able to go to a local college because of his abilities to play football. He also married a young mother with a daughter (me), whose husband had died suddenly of a heart attack the year before. He raised a family, worked hard to get a Master's Degree, and ran the county health department until his retirement. He also later cared for his young wife dying of breast cancer at home so she wouldn't have to go back to a hospital and within 5 years did the same for his mother and step father. My father is now 71 and some of his scars still run deep. Again... "white privilege" you say? I don't think so. You see Ms. May, EVERYONE experiences hardships, no one race has cornered the market on that. You know NOTHING about the people in my town or their hardships or experiences. The firestorm YOU set in motion has created a great deal of unnecessary hurt and anger in this town. So before you write or say another word about "white privilege " or anything else, you need to check your facts. In my opinion, as an educator, you should be severely disciplined for your part in creating this situation and your inability to keep your mouth shut on the subject. So in the future, I personally would like to ask that you do not condescend to telling our fine citizens in Brooke County how to conduct ourselves. Thank You.
    Wendi Mitchell

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  8. Your words are very true. Your recommendations are excellent. I'm afraid you have wasted your time though. I grew up in this area...my paternal family is from there. These people who claim to not be racist are lying. Deep in their hearts, regardless of their words, they are. I applaud you for trying but, I seriously doubt you are going to make any changes in the minds of these people. I pray that, just maybe, you will reach one heart & mind. That would be a step forward, albeit a small one, a step, nonetheless.

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  9. I have weighed this whole situation carefully since this all came about, and I didn't want to get caught up in the drama. However, as a mother of 4 Brooke County students, I do feel that I need to share my thoughts. Do I feel that the sign itself was racist? Absolutely not. While some people may associate Trump with racism, many do not. The sign was a simple play on words, as it was patriotic theme for the game. What is more patriotic, to students, than their current POTUS? The fact that his name can also be used by definition to "best, or beat" worked in their favor because football is a competition. Just because Brooke County students, or the ones that you saw, are primarily white does NOT automatically make the students of Brooke County racist. Brooke athletes do not care what color their opponent is. They care how talented their opponent is and focus on winning. As a student (not in Brooke county), our primarily white school was subjected to violence and taunting during many away games. Regardless of race. What you do and how you act determine your integrity. Not your skin color. I have not heard of a single time that any Brooke student and/or athlete were ever physical or harmful to another school in any way. Instead of posting on Twitter and jumping to the conclusion that Brooke County is racist, the most rational and logical course of action would have been to bring it to the attention of your superintendent who then should have contacted ours to discuss the matter. Without being at the game yourself, you made an irrational assumption based on a few words. This is how things spiral out of control. Social media is both the best and worst invention. All it takes is for one person to start a snowball of hate and vitriol. Please, the next time you assume something is racist or in any way detrimental, take a moment and decide your course of action.

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  10. Ms. May,

    The one thing you had correct in your post was:

    "Irrationally, as I am 50, white, and was far away from where the banner was being held, I felt frightened. Then, I felt incredulous, and sick to my stomach."

    "Irrationally" being the key word.

    You were not being a rational person with rational thoughts.

    To believe that others should be forced to anticipate your being irrational and then altering their otherwise benign behavior to prevent your having irrational thoughts is ridiculous.

    There was nothing racist or mean in the sign anymore than the "Smear Weir" signs that usually appear when our opponent is Weir High School and it would have been used with the name of whatever school Brooke happened to play during the red, white and blue themed week. It just happened to be Perry that week. The word play on the POTUS's name and the word trump was actually quite clever and they should be commended for being creative.

    The adult way to handle your issue with the sign would have been to contact the school on the following Monday, talk to the principal and bring your concerns to his attention. If you were then not satisfied with the response, you could then go up the change of command. Instead you made the decision to act like an internet bully, ridiculing a entire student body and community from behind a computer screen.

    You also made this statement in this post:

    "Then I went to Brooke's Twitter account"

    Why would you repeat this falsehood after having been made aware that the Twitter account you referred to was NOT an official Twitter account for the school, but simply someone using the name?

    In conclusion, someone who suffers from irrational fears would be best served by seeking professional help rather than trying to change the rest of the world to fit their irrational beliefs.

    Roy James
    Brooke High Alum and parent of a Brooke High Alum

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  11. A mostly black school comes to a most white school and plays a football game. The game was good, the hospitality extended to the visiting team was good, the interaction between the teams and the schools was noted to be good from the bus, to the field, to the meal provided, to the parking lot, and every step of the way - according to the visiting school's coaches and players. The sign that made such a stir wasn't even noticed by most of the players on either team until after halftime. Even then, everything was good surrounding the game and the interaction of these two communities. Instead of making the short trip (Less than an hour) to support the students that you consider your own children you sat at home tweeting out your feeling to the whole world.
    You were not there. You did not know that the sign was made a week before the game. The football team had no part in making the sign. Those who did make the sign had no knowledge of the make up of Perry. I know this because I know several of those who came up with the slogan and who made the sign. They are all honor students. Three of them, who were mostly responsible, are active members of the church I pastor. Three of the finest young ladies you will ever meet.
    What is lost in all of this is that these two schools came together and played a football game and got along wonderfully. Brooke County does have her share of prejudice. There are those who literally fly a confederate flag mounted to their truck. There are those who are ignorant and full of hate. Just like the Perry community, we have our problem people. Like those who commented to your twitter posts calling us Red Neck, Hill Billies who won't amount to anything. We can't speak for everyone, but just as you know and love the majority of your student body, I know and love the majority of those pictured in the now infamous "Sign" photo. Furthermore, I know their hearts and their intent, specifically when it comes to the "Sign". There is no doubt that many lessons have been learned by all of this. Every student I have talked to understands that in light of all that is going on around us that their sign could be taken wrong. But something else that is being overlooked - something that bothers me greatly - is that so many people, both here in Brooke County and across our country can't believe that a group of young white high school students could actually be so non-prejudice that they could conceptualize, create, and hang a sign without any thought of racism. For centuries students have been making signs for football games. It seems ridiculous that it is necessary to explain, but I am reasonably sure that no one every really wanted to "Crack" the Potters of East Liverpool, or "Smear" Weir, or "Scalp" the redskins. I am equally sure that our opponents did not really want to "Ruin" the Bruins.
    It wasn't long ago that most people in Brooke County left their doors unlocked at night. Things have certainly changed in our world. If we could do an experiment I wonder how it would end. Who do you think would have the most to fear? The starting offense of the Perry football team walking down the streets of a Brooke County community on a Friday night or the group of mostly young ladies who made "The Sign" walking down the streets around Perry on a Friday night? Our society is messed up. It is a shame that the name of our president, the playing of our national anthem, the mentioning of our police officers, and now maybe cheering for our football team can cause such fear or anger. I pray that we can somehow rise above all of this. I'd love to see the student bodies of Brooke & Perry come together and actually have a teachable moment. I think we could all stand to learn some things. Don't you think?

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    1. Dear Pastor please read the definition of the confederate flag before making assumptions of the people who wish to display it...hence the 4th paragraph of the following as we all do see things differently as I am one of them who originally came from the south and now live in this great county:

      What does the Confederate flag stand for?
      The display of the Confederate flag is a highly controversial and emotional topic due to disagreement over the nature of its symbolism.
      Opponents of the Confederate flag see it as an overt symbol of racism, both for the history of racial slavery in the US, and the establishment of laws by Southern states enforcing racial segregation.
      Certain hate groups use the Confederate flag as one of the symbols associated with their organizations, including the Neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan. The flag is also sometimes used by separatist organizations such as the Aryan Nations.
      Supporters of the flag view it as a symbol of heritage and the freedom of the distinct cultural tradition of the South from the oppression of Northern government.
      Historians note that the flag traditionally represented the South's resistance to Northern political dominance and became racially charged during the Civil Rights Movement.

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  12. Ms. May and people from Brooke County who say this falls on deaf ears. You are misinterpreting a good portion the outrage from the Brooke County side. Many of us have worked hard with our children so that they don't grow up racist. So the insinuation that the entire county is racist because of this unfortunate sign is where many of our people felt hurt. I have a son that goes to Brooke County schools, he is nine, does he deserve the label of being racist because of this incident? No he nor any of these students deserve that label. That being said our administration knew about your school and did absolutely nothing about the sign both in prevention or after the fact. The outrage our parents have isn't because of race or Perry or most of what you talked about Ms. May, it's because instead of saying I didn't do a good job of monitoring the situation and I'm sorry I made that mistake, our superintendent blamed our kids, parents, and her employees openly while taking none of the blame herself. That is the biggest issue most of the people have. To the people that say it falls on deaf ears in some ways you are right this county is far from perfect and we want to do better that's why it has been upsetting for me. Brooke County is a good place with good people in it that would give you the shirts off there backs to help regardless of race or anything really. Do we have farther to go? Of course we all do. Was this intentional? Definitely not. Was the sign offensive? Yes to some very much so. But putting children in the spotlight for the inefficiency of adults is unacceptable. At the end of the day we just want all of our children to live without labels. I hope good days find you all.

    Respectfully
    Zak Harvey

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  13. Ms. May,
    I am personally am concerned that you feel that you, as an adult, have the right to address our student body!! You my dear.. do not have the right as an adult to condescend to our children! We have not as adults addressed your students to educate them that there was no ill intent on Brooke Counties part!! Really Ms. May I would hope that you make better use of your time...educating your students that a successful person always take comments, no matter how the commit was intended, in a non offensive manner to make their lives a peaceful place and help them to live in confidence about themselves and have more successful futures!!

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  14. Ms. May,
    While I realize the internet is a place for people to feel like they can feel safe to rant and vent their feelings, you are wrong to push your own thoughts on others. I believe you chose to use this game and a simple football sign made by students (which is a tradition that goes back for decades at every school) that was meant to razzle the other team as your own personal soapbox. Everyone wants 5 minutes in the limelight, but how you chose to do it is WRONG. As an educator who says she "loves her students" and would "love the Brooke students 'if they were your own'" you are wrong. An educator would love all children, not just the ones in their school. How dare you use your position to throw the Brooke Students to a pack of media wolves.
    How dare you use your position to get your message heard around the world by calling a group of children racists.
    How dare you, an educator, be so vain and simple minded to believe that you were doing what was right and just.
    How dare you then proceed to continue to do these things and keep trying to push your propaganda about an incident that would've been forgotten by that following Monday morning if it hadn't of been for ignorant bigots such as yourself. Everyone has suffered hardships, not just the African-American community, as you so proudly pointed out about your own childhood. Have you been to Brooke County Ms. May? Have you seen it and experienced living there to know if those children suffer like your precious students? Do not judge others until you have lived in their shoes Ms. May. As someone who is in her 50's you should know better. So how dare you do what you did to the children of Brooke County. You should be ashamed of the reaction you had because that example is exactly what is wrong with the world today. Too many people on soapboxes, and you are not excluded. I hope you enjoyed your small piece of whistleblowing fame. Now get over yourself and leave these children alone. Keep your judging eyes on the students you claim to love.

    Sincerely,
    A concerned citizen of Hancock County whose job prevents them from posting their name.

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    1. Are you afraid you will get fired from your job for posting hateful crap?
      Have "these children" educate themselves with the reading list. You should too. That is how you can help this situation. Broaden your prospective and your world. You will be better for it and so will these students.

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  15. I am a proud member of the Brooke county community. Both of my kids have best friends who are bi-racial. Some of my friends are bi-racial. Yes I'm a redneck hillbilly but I'm also blind to a person's skin color!!! I was raised to treat people the way they treat me!!!And yes I'm a Trump supporter!!!!

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    1. Because you know people of color does not make you not a racist. That does not even make sense. And being BLIND to a person's skin color is white privilege. Black people don't have the option of being BLIND to skin color. Being BLIND to skin color is a myth. You know exactly what color someone is.

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  16. It's thing's like this that keep people decided.Just stop with the hate race,enough is enough.

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  17. Sorry you feel white is a privlage I was born white green eyed blonde all american you might say but living in a small area where everybody know or think they do your life story before it is written my family name was taken as a redskin the teachers called me fake white the child of a sqauw as they put it I was treated below being black so I know race hate these kids are not part of the hate not knowing intentions is before you rant know the background of those in question you can't take back the seed of phobia after you plant it. Thank you.

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  18. I would love to hear Ms. May's response to any one of these comments, although I'm guessing she is too "frightened or sick to her stomach", realizing now what she has done to our children...

    Speak up now that you've heard our side of the story from several members of our community and try to make it right in your head.

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  20. Let's start at the beginning. The banner was done by children. CHILDREN! Educators can now use this as a lesson in sensitivity, empathy, and understanding of the divide among Americans today. No one should burn in hell due to ignorance. This could have been corrected when the Principle was told it was offensive. But that didn't happen. Apologies were made, and the children now see how their play on words were lost in translation. I don't like when a Caucasian person speaks up, empathizing with the struggles of brown people throughout the history of our Nation, and then blasted and insulted for it. I, at least, give them credit for putting themselves out there to speak up. If we slam every White person who tries to say; I understand, I can see through your eyes, there is a difference in how our children are treated, or even dirt poor I was treated better than a black man in a suit, we will lose the support of the very people who can help us make a change in our Country. Tweets are short, blogs aren't fully read, so sometimes what the person really feels in their heart gets lost in the angst. Give a person credit for TRYING to understand. She will be vilified by her own race, but she can easily feel betrayed by the very people she is trying to speak out for, and say "I understand". They are trying to stand with us, not against us. Our own black people do enough harm to sometimes to make it impossible, but the same crime they may commit is not seen as horrendous when done by a White person. No culture or ethnicity is better than the other. Name something horrible one has done, you can find it done by other people of white and non-white ethnicities. Stop pointing the finger as if your culture is blameless. Two hours ago, a kind White man was cutting the grass of my black neighbor down the street. Two black youths jumped from their truck to steal his equipment. As he blocked them from leaving, they emptied a magazine of bullets at him. Thank the Lord he and his employee weren't hurt, but I was embarrassed, just as Ms May is. That is how she can say she understands. She doesn't have to wear my skin color to know things are slanted. Just being a woman, we all experience discrimination because of our gender. It hurts to be treated different, and it's unfair. She has lived 'white privilege". But people can be discriminated against based on where they live, or their economic status...that is discrimination based on class. I pray that the divide at Brooke High School is not widened based on what they hear at home, but spoken about as an educational tool to make better citizens in the future

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    1. There isn't a divide at BHS. We are just mad that our students were used by adults to make a political statement. I personally don't like Trump at all and I see why people feel how they feel. That being said nobody ever has the right to use other people's children to make political statements.

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  21. Ms. May.

    Beautifully done! I hope at least some of the children challenge themselves and their knowledge oppressors by exposing themselves to the material and take you up on your offer of discussion, even though parents and other combatants have helped themselves to criticize. I will be making time to read the material. I believe, if we allow one persons liberty to be oppressed or infringed upon, then we may not be able to stop the cycle.

    I just now got wind of this whole event and while my TV was muted, just the image brought sickness to my stomach. I know High School students and although they are arrogant as we all were at that age, they are not stupid.

    I just want to tell you our children everywhere need more hero’s such as yourself who love them and truly want to equip them with the knowledge and creativity to empower themselves to become contributors not only within their communities but humanity as well.

    Thank you again for taking time to do the right thing.

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  22. Dear Ms. May, while I appreciate you trying to "educate" the Brooke county families, are you working to better your own students and families? You think a simple sign is sickening. Do you also find it as repulsive as I do that your Perry community has called the Brooke band KKK spiritualists?? How about our community uneducated hillbillies??? While you want the Brooke students educated on racism, are you going to do your part and educate yours on stereotyping? Stereotyping and racism go hand in hand. You, Ms May, are at the top of that list for stereotyping a whole school and community with your insinuations. Maybe while educating your students, you can also teach them what a double entendre is. (You do know what that is don't you?) Or maybe your drive to divide the country is so great that you can't see past the nose on the end of your face. You, my dear, are the problem with this country.

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  23. Dear Ms May - quit whining you hypersensative bitch....

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  24. It's always interesting to encounter white guilt on such a massive scale. Thank you, Ms. Do Gooder. Thank you for protecting us all from the bad kids who likely didn't even know what they were doing was wrong or insensitive. Thank you, Thought Police Chief. What would we ever do without people like you?

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  25. Minorities especially blacks are always useing any little word sign or slogan as being racist. In an effort to somehow punish all white people for being white. Why dont you try being American instead of African American. I bet most black people have never been to Africa nor want to. Minorities promote and perpetuate racism in order to get money benefits and legal protection. That sounds like the system is against white people to me. You want to be treated equal act like it. Stop feeding into the hate mongers that perpetuate racism in order to make money. Aka Al Sharpton Jesse Jackson and so one. We are all Americans period.

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    1. Alright, seriously?October 24, 2017 at 5:56 AM

      Most black people in this country have not been to Africa because WE BROUGHT THEM HERE AS S L A V E S. Do you think slavery was some kind of super fun foreign exchange program? Ruby Bridges, who was spit on by white Southern parents for trying to go to school, is the same age as my parents. Hatred like that doesn't go away in a generation. Saying "we are all Americans" is just one way white people pretend racism is over so we don't have to deal with it. Racism is real in America and as a white, average working woman, I can see it. The only reason you don't is because you refuse to.

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  26. Why is it when a white guy and a black guy get into a fight its a hate crime for the white guy. Why is the NAACP United Negro College fund Black Panthers and others that exclude white people accepted as normal. If one thing happens to one person of color wether intentional or not, people cry racism. I bet if there was a WAAWP blacks would cry racism. United Caucasian College Fund would be racism. Etc. Is Seems that minorities use racism everyday for their own betterment. Blacks even started the slave trade. White privelege? Black privelege. Minorities dont want to be treated equal. They want to be treated better than white people. That is racism Yall think about it.

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  27. Thank you Ms. May! The comments alone in this thread alone prove the point. When you know better , you do better. Please consider the suggested reading! What harm would it do to educate yourself on a subject you clearly lack empathy and clarity on? And for those of you that don't believe white privilege exists because white people are poor too, do not understand the concept. It has nothing to do with wealth. That is its own privilege. This is race privilege. There is a difference. More reason to educate yourselves.

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  28. Love and respect from one HS librarian to another. Your students are lucky to have you.

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  29. Amanda Michael a mother of 2 Brooke HS students and a Brooke County residentOctober 25, 2017 at 8:40 PM

    Think about how you would feel if another adult was ridiculing, insulting, accusing, racially labelling, condescendingly lecturing your own child/ren that you birthed and raised correctly!!!! You really should be ashamed of yourself Ms. May!!!!

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  30. Thanks for promoting The Stereotype that everybody from West Virginia is just a racist idiot. Really miss May thank you it's so awesome for us people who aren't racist in West Virginia to have to live with labels because of some stupid sign.

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