In 2018, the term “racist” has lost virtually all meaning.
It’s a shame because there are still real racists in 2018. Neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan members are walking proof of that.
But when anything that offends even the smallest of minorities is conflated to be on equal racist footing as the KKK, it becomes an active disservice to the cause.
Case in point, cheerleaders at Dodge County High School in Eastman, Georgia, have come under fire for supposedly “racist” T-shirts they were selling to raise funds for the squad, according to WMAZ-TV in Macon.
The shirts in question read, “In Dodge County, we stand for the flag, kneel for the cross, that’s Indian pride.”
How exactly is that racist? With the exception of “Indians,” which is the school’s mascot, there is nary a mention of race on any part of that shirt.
To most people, the shirt is simply a pro-flag, pro-Christian article of clothing. And it is.
But to others, like Eastman resident Deneen McLeod, the shirt is racist … for reasons.
McLeod told WMAZ-TV the shirt “stands for the hurt of black people getting killed, beat by police officers and getting off with it. So therefore, we as black people … to us, that’s what it looks like.”
Shortly after Dodge County Board of Education member Shirley Ikedionwu posted a since-deleted Facebook rant about the shirts, the school topped selling them.
“I can’t imagine how our children would feel entering a place that is supposed to be welcoming and accepting of students from all walks of life, beliefs and perspectives — but instead they are faced with this type of exclusionary message,” Ikedionwu reportedly posted on Facebook. “I have contacted administrators in the school system, and AT THIS POINT, THE SHIRT WILL NO LONGER BE SOLD.”
Despite the school caving into nonsensical pressure, White Hat Auto manager Nikki Mullis is still selling the shirts out of her shop.
“I’ll stand for my God, and I’ll stand for my flag, period. It’s not about racism, it’s about these cheerleaders wanted to get a shirt and get money to help boost their club,” Mullis said.
And again, Mullis has a point about the shirt. There is neither inherent nor overt racism involved in the shirt. It’s a fundraising venture that is smart enough to capitalize on what is likely a pro-anthem, pro-Christian community. The cheerleading team should be lauded for their business acumen, not derided over perceived “racism.”
At the very least, there won’t be any repercussions to the students currently sporting the shirt.
“There’s no violation of anything right now,” superintendent Michael Ward said. “They’re just voicing their political views. As long as it’s not vulgar or obscene, they’re within the dress code policy.”
Of course, this raises a question: If the shirts are neither vulgar nor obscene and are within dress code policy, why did the school stop selling them?
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