Wednesday, January 21, 2004

Who's African-American? 

One of my friends like to say that Charlize Theron is African-American--because she was born in South Africa. Now four high school students are suspended from school for saying the same thing:

A small group of Westside High School students plastered the school Monday with posters advocating that a white student from South Africa receive the "Distinguished African American Student Award" next year.

The students' actions on Martin Luther King Jr. Day upset several students and have led administrators to discipline four students.

The posters, placed on about 150 doors and lockers, included a picture of the junior student smiling and giving a thumbs up. The posters encouraged votes for him.


Karen Richards said her son, Trevor, who was pictured on the posters, was suspended for two days for hanging the posters. Two of his friends also were disciplined for hanging the posters. A fourth student, she said, was punished for circulating a petition Tuesday morning in support of the boys. The petition criticized the practice of recognizing only black student achievement with the award.
Got to love those tolerant multi-culturalists.

Eugene Volokh says that it's likely a First Amendment violation for the school to punish the high schoolers for speech that is "inappropriate and insensitive". What I like to focus on, however, is the fact that the school gives a special award that only blacks can win. Not only is it discriminatory to non-blacks, it also sends the wrong message to blacks. With a reward exclusive to them, the school is telling blacks that they are somehow different from the other students, and that while white achievement is expected, black achievement is something that is out of the ordinary and needs to be celebrated.

PS This reminds me of two years ago when Bob Costas called someone "The first African-American from Eurpoe ..."
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