"Ghetto Spirit Day" sparks racial tensions at Hopkins High; two black students face charges

Categories: Education, Racism
hopkins high rect.jpg
Some black Hopkins students took serious offense to the stereotypical "rapper" attire worn by white students.
There have been two significant racial incidents at metro schools already this year. In January, racial tensions at Minneapolis's Washburn High School were stoked after a black doll was found hanging from a noose in a school stairwell. Then, the following month, tensions between African-American and Somali students at Minneapolis South High School erupted into an ugly lunchroom brawl.

SEE ALSO: Duluth roiled by two recent blackface incidents [VIDEO]

Now comes word that Hopkins High School is the latest school to be roiled by racial tensions. Two black students there face charges thanks to the way they responded to a "Ghetto Spirit Day" allegedly held by white members of the school's ski team in February.

According to MPR, on "Ghetto Spirit Day" -- participants insist it was really called "Rapper Day" -- some members of the ski team wore the type of stereotypical garb you'd imagine. School officials didn't demand they go home or change their clothes, though they claim that's because the garb wasn't noticed until late in the day.

A black student told MPR he saw a white student "wearing basketball shorts, a tank top, a 'do-rag.'"

Another black student said, "They dressed up like gangsters basically. There were sagging chinchilla coats with the chains, joint in the ear just mocking our culture. Really how we reacted, we felt it was modern day 'blackfacing.'"

Some black students at the 70-percent-white school put up posters in protest of the "Rapper Day" incident shortly thereafter, but school officials took them down because the protesting students didn't go through the proper channels.

MPR details what happened from there:
A day later, the two African-American students who first complained about how the student athletes were dressed, say they entered the assistant principal's office [the assistant principal happens to be black] and tried to take the posters back. The Minnetonka Police officer who works in the school was called to the office...

[A]ccording to the police report, one of the African-American students put his hand on the officer's chest in an effort to push him out of the way and leave with the posters.

That student was handcuffed. Both students were held briefly and then released to their parents. The two students admit the meeting was heated, but said neither of them touched the officer.
Those two students were charged with misdemeanor improper conduct and were suspended for three days. A week later, they and some of the ski team members who participated in the so-called "Ghetto Spirit Day" got together for a meeting in the principal's office. At that meeting, the white students apologized, MPR reports.

But the black students feel the ski team members got off too easy.

"I feel like it was just watered-down justice," one of the black students who now faces a criminal charge told MPR. "All the boys had to do, the only consequence for them, was that meeting. And all we did was tell them how we felt, they apologized, and we walked out."

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27 comments
keny1
keny1

Maybe we could solve this issue by banning "stereotypical rap culture" altogether. After all, stereotypical rap culture invokes drugs, gangs, violence, and no respect for themselves or others. Maybe that is the fucking problem. These two students were "offended" by the white crackers who were dressing up as their idols, yet they had no problem "starting shit" with the police officers, therefore perpetuating the very stereotype that they want to abolish. But of course, all of the charges will be dropped against these students. Some white guilt Liberal attorney will take their case and claim "racism" against the police officers.     

lund519
lund519

I listened to the interview with the two black students on MPR.  On one hand, I appreciate how they are calmly trying to convey their concerns and points, rather than being loud, obnoxious and just as offensive as the actions they are protesting.  Over the last decade, peaceful protest has been lost to being the loudest and most violent.  Being the scariest in order to gain respect seems to be the thing for youth and adults alike.  This is why gay people have been treated so badly for years...nobody is 'physically afraid' of them, so nobody respects a group they aren't afraid of.  As well, they do not defend each other.  If these were anti-gay stereotypes being portrayed, the gay students first reaction would be all about themselves personally ('well, I don't act/dress like that!') rather than taking one offensive stereotype towards gay people as an offense towards ALL.  

Otherwise, from what I heard, the white students appeared to have apologized and admitted their faults.  I am hoping these two black students aren't just doing this for a lawsuit and then free money, because it doesn't work like that anymore.  I know from coming out at age 15 that yea, people in society can be offensive and rude, but especially today you've got to develop a thicker skin and know that some people just like to be ignorant.  You did what you could by saying something and doing something about it - if that doesn't change their minds, you did the best you could.

Jennifer McDonough
Jennifer McDonough

How did none of the staff realize how they were dressed until late in the day so they could not be sent home to change? Are there real educators there or drones? And who in the administration would think "rapper" day would be ok? They couldn't predict how kids would dress to participate in that? THE EDUCATORS AND ADMINISTRATION IS WHO FAILED OUR KIDS THIS TIME!!!!

Ryan Schmidt
Ryan Schmidt

Do u not see the difference in being outright offensive & wearing the clothing as style?

Damian Amberg
Damian Amberg

Better not see any black 'city' kids wearing polo shirts or deck shoes, right?

Valorie Woodhull
Valorie Woodhull

I went to Hopkins 40 years ago & FLED after graduation! Sorry to see such ignorance is still alive & well!!!!

Chris Welton
Chris Welton

and white suburban kids leave me scratching my head more and more. when did people get so fuckin stupid?

k2yeb
k2yeb topcommenter

Racism is disgusting. The one thing I will note, is I have been called white racial slurs probably 20 times in my life while walking in urban areas. For some reason that is way more acceptable than racial slurs going the other direction. I get it. I am white....so for a thousand years my ancestors were priveleged blah blah blah...but a black man calling a white man a slur will not get even close to the disdain the counter will. Really a shame and proves we still have a long way to go.

Damian Amberg
Damian Amberg

So, because they are white they CAN'T dress a particular way? Hmm..

taz_td88
taz_td88

@lund519 Society doesn't change by giving one go and giving up. No revolution in the recorded history of the world has ever worked that way. No meaningful changed  has ever occurred when someone has shrugged their shoulders and said I'm done. What occurred was no social but institution wrongs and they haven't been rectified there was no strong clear message conveyed. It was like the kid said watered-down made palpable for society. That's not was is necessary though

ProfeSOL
ProfeSOL

@Jennifer McDonough I teach at HHS and this was NOT a Spirit day. The teachers and administrators are exceptional at the school and spend a lot of time, money and care to train us to be teach in a culturally responsive way and to teach to all.  

  It was a group of athletes that decided to dress that way in anticipation for a race. Different teams do that all of the time. 

The title of this article is sensational and slanderous, really.

richard.getchoski
richard.getchoski

@Jennifer McDonough - 2 White kids dress up in saggy pants and do-rags and walk around in hallways where Black kids dressed up the same way? Exactly how do they stand out? if the 2 offended African-American students felt that White people dressing like Black people is offensive then they are over-reacting and looking for attention. Seems they received in the form of handcuffs and arrest.

asdf
asdf

@Ryan Schmidt Offense can only be taken. There is no such thing as being "outright offensive," because the offensive nature of any artifact relies on perception. Sometimes the better route is to simply ignore other people's provocations, rather than giving them the satisfaction of knowing they succeeded in getting a rise out of someone.

ProfeSOL
ProfeSOL

@Mare Anderson This is a slanderous title. 

 I teach at HHS--athletes dress up in different outfits to rev up enthusiasm as a team--sometimes in 80s outfits, sometimes in their uniforms, sometimes as hippies...whatever.  This was not a whole school event--

 I admire the leadership of our school and love the students.  Admin and teachers work so hard to be culturally inclusive and sensitive, and to be inspiring and effective. I love working at Hopkins High.


HyperboleJoe
HyperboleJoe

@Damian Amberg You've missed the point.

mkd0
mkd0

@richard.getchoski I think you've made an assumption, sir. Yes, there it is in your first sentence "...Black kids dressed up the same way..."

richard.getchoski
richard.getchoski

No worries there. White kids aren't allowed to be offended. Only minorities have that right these days; White people are the only ones who are racist (not my theory, look that one up). Now minorities have the right to go after Whites because of 10 - 20 generations ago someone mistreated their ancestors. White people are guilty of the sins of enslavement regardless of the fact that 99.99% of us are descended from immigrants from Europe, poor people who escaped financial enslavement.

keny1
keny1

@taz_td88 Keep on drinking the Liberal Kool Aid. Despite what the Liberal media tells you, it won't solve your mental disorder. 

taz_td88
taz_td88

@richard.getchoski Well you know, it wasn't 10-20 generations ago. If you have not noticed, racism not only still happens today but came at a boiling point in the 50's, 60's and 70's. The fact that the only thing you considered wrong was the slavery 10-20 generations ago says something about your perception of injustice. And no the majority have not had it as hard as minorities in America at any point in American history since colonization. After slavery, there was jim crow which included efforts to deny blacks schools, during World War II people were locked away for being of Japanese decent, nothing else.  The two biggest black civil rights leaders were assinated, one of the others were buried by history Mr. Bayard Rustin, Gays have been fighting for equal rights since the 1950s with the formation of the mattachine society. There was operation wetback. And one way we can know that racism still exist today is by comparing in terms of percent poverty rates. One way we know there is still gender discrimination is by comparing pay rates. Ways we can tell the homophobia still exist is through the current legislation in the supreme court. The way we can tell society has not matured to respect each other is watching the stereotypes we find in the media. The majority has never been as down put as minorities. Furthermore, white privilege still exist. Get off of your high horse or make a valid study the history of several minorities, or even the history of women to understand why minorities have more of a right to be offended. The majority is not institutionally punished, nor even socially punished. What happened at that school is not so different than blackface. Not so different than Chief Wahoo. And what was needed was forethought and perhaps communicating before hand and asking people whose culture might be ridiculed in the process whether such an action was actually permissible.

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