Dear Phoenix High girls (the ones that spelled out Nigger for the world to see),
I know you girls are teenagers therefore having the common sense of a walnut. I get it. Once upon a time I too was a dumb teenager that did and said some pretty dumb shit. However, there is a fine line between dumb shit and what you girls pulled.
Scratch that– that line is thick and your parents should have taught you better.
From a young age, your parents and caretakers should have taught you about the differences of people and that, while they may have different struggles or lives than you, they are still people. They should have taught you how to be color conscious instead of being colorblind. They should have taught you the history of the Nigger. They should have taught you that saying “Well black people say it” is just not a good enough excuse. They should have taught you how to have respect for others. They should have been more careful when saying racist comments around you when you were small enough to internalize it, package it up, and regurgitate it later on. They should have spent just a little bit of time teaching you just a little bit about white privilege. Because, let’s have a moment of honesty here; had you been Muslim students, all hell would have broken loose. The Calvary would have been called in, kids jailed for terrorism, and Donald Trump would have been asked to give a speech about the importance of hating Muslims.
I mean, at the very least, they could have let you know about the consequences you will face now that the world will know you as the girls that think Nigger is a hilarious word. If you have a single black friend, which I completely doubt, your parents, pastor, or community leader should have let you know how badly your actions could hurt them. They should have let you know that you will have to work, play, deal, and be around people of color even if you don’t like it. Hell, you may even fall in love with one. Maybe one of your teachers should have let you know the history of that word and how it is not yours to say. Maybe that principle of yours could have pulled you into the office, sat your asses down, and demanded that you all come up with some sensitivity training for the rest of the school to partake in. You know, kinda like spirit week but you guys can call it How To Not Be An Asshole Week!
I am coming to you as a mother here; as someone that isn’t so far removed from my teen years. You messed up. BAD. Your parents, though, they are the ones that really fucked up. It is clear that you have none of the tools to go out into the world and lead a generation of change and acceptance. You, like your community, will continue to perpetrate hatred and racism masked as jokes. This is not a small, little mistake that can just be forgotten. This joke will follow you around for at least a decade. Any time an employer (They could even be black. They are giving us jobs now. Imagine your hiring boss being black!) Googles your name, which I assure you they will, this will come up. Your parent’s neglect of your cultural growth will come up. Your racism will come up. Your inability to be tolerant will come up.
I mean… thank your parents I guess for not teaching you that people are different. Thank your teachers for not getting through to you the painful past of this country. And then, after you are done, look in the mirror and slap yourself for being so damn stupid.
A Black Woman That Will Never Move To Phoenix, AZ