Now THIS is some racist bullshit.
A high school in Arkansas would not permit a black female student with the highest GPA in her high school to be valedictorian of her graduating class, and appointed a white student with a lower GPA to serve as the black student’s co-valedictorian.
I wish I was kidding. And yes, it is 2011.
When I first read this article, I figured it must be a joke. I thought it was more life-imitates-The Onion theater. It couldn’t possibly be serious, I thought, because: (a) it’s fucking ridiculous; (b) the high school is in Pine Bluff, which is less than an hour from Little Rock; and (c) the young woman’s name is Kimberly Wymberly (my apologies, you brilliant beautiful young woman, but I can’t let “Kimberly Wymberly” slide without comment.)
But nope! It’s not a joke. It’s shameful and all involved should be fired.
Despite being told by school counselor’s that she had the highest GPA, Kimberly was not permitted to serve as valedictorian alone. The girl’s mother claims to have overheard school personnel fretting about letting the Kimberly be the sole valedictorian for fear of causing “a big mess.”
That’s right. School personnel turned what would have been the proudest moment of Kimberly’s young life into sheer humiliation. And, to add insult to injury, when Kimberly’s mother showed up at a school board meeting to protest the decision, the school superintendent would not let her speak because she had filled out the wrong form — the ‘public comments” form instead of the “public participation” form.
Unfortunately, this is not a hoax:
A high school southeast of Little Rock would not let a black student be valedictorian though she had the highest grade-point average, and wouldn’t let her mom speak to the school board about it until graduation had passed, the graduate claims in Federal Court.
Kymberly Wimberly, 18, got only a single B in her 4 years at McGehee Secondary School, and loaded up on Honors and Advanced Placement classes. She had the highest G.P.A. and says the school’s refusal to let her be sole valedictorian was part of a pattern of discrimination against black students.
Wimberly says that despite earning the highest G.P.A. of the Class of 2011, and being informed of it by a school counselor, “school administrators and personnel treated two other white students as heir[s] apparent to the valedictorian and salutatorian spots.”
Wimberly’s mother is the school’s “certified media specialist.” She says in the federal discrimination complaint that after her daughter had been told she would be valedictorian, the mother heard “in the copy room that same day, other school personnel expressed concern that Wimberly’s status as valedictorian might cause a ‘big mess.’”
McGehee Secondary School is predominantly white, and 46 percent African-American, according to the complaint. Bratton says that the day after she heard the “big mess” comment, McGehee Principal Darrell Thompson, a defendant, told her “that he decided to name a white student as co-valedictorian,” although the white student had a lower G.P.A.
Bratton says she tried to protest the decision to the school board, but defendant Superintendent Thomas Gathen would not let her speak, because she allegedly had “filled out the wrong form. Instead of ‘public comments,’ Gather [sic] said Bratton should have asked for ‘public participation.’” The superintendent told her she could not appeal his decision until the June 28 school board meeting; graduation was May 13.
The last African-American valedictorian in McGehee School District was in 1989. Wimberly says the school discourages black students from taking honors and advanced placement classes, “by telling them, among other things, that the work was too hard.”
“Because of defendants’ continuous disparate treatment of African-American students, defendants’ actions toward the plaintiff can properly be classed as intentional,” the complaint states.
Do you see, white people?1 This is why we can’t have nice things.
1 *blank stare.* 2
2 You know why.
(h/t Nelly B.)
[via Think Progress]
[::tap tap:: ::ahem:: I will be adding another blogging gig to my roster. As of last week, Joy-Ann Reid joined NBC News as Managing Editor of TheGrio.com and MSNBC contributor. And, much to my delight, she asked me to contribute because she's awesome, (albeit slightly off her rocker, perhaps?) So huzzah for me! My inaugural post about the South Central Tea Party rally that I attended yesterday will be forthcoming, so stay tuned! (Or don't, for you crankypantses out there.) --ABLxx]