Letter: Racist Incident at C.K. McClatchy

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Sacramento NAACP President Betty Williams  on November 12, 2021.(Photo by Robert J Hansen)

RE: Racist Incident at C.K. McClatchy

Dear Superintendent Aguilar:

On behalf of the Greater Sacramento NAACP, I would like to express my extreme discontent about the incident that happened Friday, February 11, 2022, at C.K. McClatchy High School, where campus drinking fountains were labeled “colored” and the other was labeled “white.”

Considering the history of terror, violence, subjugation, oppression, systemic racism and discrimination suffered by the African American community – that still continues today – we have strong concerns about the culture that exists within the Sacramento Unified School District, and lack of urgency to eradicate such behavior that is meant to make African American students and teachers uncomfortable. This is an embedded culture, and failure to discipline perpetrators has made certain people think this behavior is ok. We cannot continue to cover up a culture that has a long history of inflicting hate violence, implicit or explicit, on African American students and teachers on your campuses.

I believe this problem is so prevalent within Sacramento County, that the Greater Sacramento Branch put forth a resolution to address hate crimes and hate violence toward African American students and teachers, making failure to address hate crimes/hate violence immediately, grounds for termination. The California Hawaii State Conference of the NAACP agreed that this is a problem throughout our state and voted to pass this resolution. This resolution has resulted in legislation being introduced in the Assembly.

The African American student population has a right to attend school in an environment free of threat or intimidation. We demand a full investigation into this matter and request a copy of the findings when complete.

Sincerely,

Betty Williams
President
Greater Sacramento, NAACP


https://em-ui.constantcontact.com/em-ui/em/page/em-ui/email#

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49 thoughts on “Letter: Racist Incident at C.K. McClatchy”

  1. Keith Olson

    If a student or someone else put these racist signs on the drinking fountains I hope they’re caught and face severe consequences.

    But if a someone was trying to create a fake incident in order to stir the pot I hope they’re also caught and face severe consequences.

    Are we all on the same page regarding this?

     

     

  2. Ron Oertel

    I was curious as to the percentage of different skin colors at Sacramento Unified School District, and found the following:

    40.6% Hispanic/Latino

    18.6% Asian or Asian Pacific Islander

    17.5% White

    13.4% Black or African American

    7.3% Two or more races

    2.1% Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander

    0.5% American Indian or Alaska Native

    https://www.usnews.com/education/k12/california/districts/sacramento-city-unified-111949#:~:text=The%20student%20body%20at%20the,Hawaiian%20or%20other%20Pacific%20Islander.

    In any case, I wouldn’t make any assumptions regarding which individuals or groups are engaging in racist graffiti.

     

      1. Ron Oertel

        The school district uses the term “race”.  I thought THAT was so 19th century.

        The description itself includes the colors “black” and “white”, which I never thought was appropriate (or accurate).

        1. Keith Olson

          Well according to a Yahoo search this was at the top:

          Today Jews vary a lot in skin colour, but this a result of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD followed by two thousand years of dispersion throughout many parts of the world. The consequent mixing with other ethnic groups has produced Jewish affinity groups covering the whole spectrum of skin colour from jet black to snow white.

          So I guess the answer is all skin colors.

        2. Ron Oertel

          In my opinion, the use of the words “black” and “white” are intended to divide.

          Sometimes, we use the word “brown”, but “red” and “yellow” are off-limits.  (With the exception of The Simpsons, regarding the latter.)  But, too bad about “Apu”.

          But other than black and white, ethnicities (or “races”) seems to be the commonly-preferred terms, rather than ACTUAL colors (which don’t match reality, anyway).

          And really, shouldn’t it be “Caucasians”? I’m not even sure what the preferable term is for “black” people who aren’t Americans.

          The ever-changing language around this issue (and the attempt to shame others, as Ron G is attempting) is part of the same problem that led to the NAACP’s reaction.  It’s all b.s.

           

        3. Keith Olson

          The ever-changing language around this issue (and the attempt to shame others, as Ron G is attempting) is part of the same problem that led to the NAACP’s reaction.  It’s all b.s.

          Well said.

        4. Ron Oertel

          But as far as what “color” Jews are, I’d say that they’re usually categorized as “white”.  Which is the reason that racism against them isn’t always fully acknowledged – as charter members of the “white” club.

          Asians are solidly in that club, as well. Just ask the former S.F. school board member, if you don’t believe that. Though she apparently doesn’t believe that they have “full” membership, in regard to her previous use of the “N-word”, regarding Asians.

        5. Ron Oertel

          That part I agree with, Ron G.

          But not in the manner that you likely intend.

          I do find the former SF school board member’s comments more interesting, than anything else. I don’t necessarily view her as racist. She is simply espousing the logical extension of what I’d describe as “extreme-progressive”. And from that perspective, her comments make logical sense. (Of course, it’s still quite problematic.)

  3. Ron Oertel

    I believe this problem is so prevalent within Sacramento County, that the Greater Sacramento Branch put forth a resolution to address hate crimes and hate violence toward African American students and teachers, making failure to address hate crimes/hate violence immediately, grounds for termination.

    I don’t know what this means exactly (or who is responsible for addressing it within the system, assuming they aren’t already attempting to do so).  But it sounds like an advocacy to shut-down the entire system.

    Actually, hasn’t the state essentially already been threatening to do so, via a state takeover (due to financial mismanagement)?

    Also, do you want to just limit this to “hate crimes” and “hate violence” solely against African Americans? You believe that no other type might be occurring in that system, as well?

    By the way, why is there an increasing tendency to blur the line between hate crime and “hate violence” – whatever that means? (Some seem to define the latter as akin to handing out leaflets, for which those offended mistakenly believe it’s something you can be arrested for.)

  4. Ron Oertel

    Though I’d go ahead and post the skin-color breakdown specifically at McClatchy (as of 2016-2017):

    Latino: 41.6%
    White: 24.4%
    African American: 8.6%
    Asian: 15.8%
    Native American: 0.8%
    Two or More Skin Colors: 5.9%

    So while whites are still a minority, their percentage is higher than for the district as a whole.  (And, a slightly higher percentage of majority Latino students.

    Significantly-less percentage of African American students.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C._K._McClatchy_High_School

    From the SAT scores (which are apparently no longer used by the UC system), it appears that this school had a significantly-higher test score than the district as a whole.  And better than the statewide average.

    (I’d still like to know how they gather this information, regarding skin color.)

    1. Ron Oertel

      (I’d still like to know how they gather this information, regarding skin color.)

      And in general, I’d suggest not “helping” the government with this information, unless required. Else it be used for political or other purposes.

      However, I believe that officials are sometimes required to “guess”, in the absence of such volunteered information. Perhaps that explains the total lack of an “unknown” category? Though now that I look at the percentages, they don’t quite add-up to 100%.

        1. Ron Oertel

          Hadn’t thought about that, but I doubt that’s the case.

          As usual, I (and the district) are apparently “guilty” of categorizing by relative skin color hue. Or, by whatever someone writes on a piece of paper (and THEN categorizing it).

          For that matter, I understand that Obama was the first “half-white” president. (Two or more, if properly-categorized above.)

          Not to mention vast differences within the “official” groups.

          Not to worry, though – I’ve recently learned from a commenter on here that race is nothing but a social construct, anyway.  (Which somehow seems to “downplay” racism, though I don’t believe that was the intention.)

  5. Ron Oertel

    Ron O (from above):  In any case, I wouldn’t make any assumptions regarding which individuals or groups are engaging in racist graffiti.

    Just happened upon this:

    It appears as though a young African American student participated in what she thought was a prank. She has confessed to doing that,” Harris said. “… A prank that went sideways. It’s an unfortunate prank. It does not seem to be an example of any kind of hate crime, it’s not an example in my opinion of any kind of racist behavior pattern. It was a prank.”

    McClatchy student confesses to racist graffiti at Sacramento school, officials say (msn.com)

    Apparently, the president of the Sacramento NAACP isn’t as good at speculation as I am. 🙂

    1. Ron Oertel

      Or more accurately, I’m apparently better at not jumping to conclusions, and reaching out to media to put forth those errant conclusions.

      Stuff like this really makes the “adults” look foolish, more than the kids.

      Perhaps the only thing I find kind of surprising is the gender of the individual.

      1. Keith Olson

        Good find Ron.  How often is this the case and it never gets caught?

        In the letter above it is stated:

        This is an embedded culture, and failure to discipline perpetrators has made certain people think this behavior is ok. 

        to address hate crimes and hate violence toward African American students and teachers, making failure to address hate crimes/hate violence immediately, grounds for termination. 

        So will this African American student that put up the racist words now be disciplined?

        This also brings into question who put the racist graffiti earlier on campus that the Vanguard reported on.

        I wonder if the Vanguard is going to run a story on this where they found the true instigator happened to be a black student?

        1. David Greenwald

          I was thinking about this when the report came out last night.  This is basically the sin of crying wolf. And what do we learn from that parable – we learn when you cry wolf people become desensitized to the real occurrence and thus the sin of crying wolf serves not only to perpetrate a hoax on those who would respond to these situations, but it serves to become an excuse for inaction when they arise in the future – even when it turns out to be the real emergency.  So I think you really do need to crack down on the hoaxes because of the danger they present in de-sensitizing people to the real incidents.

        2. Keith Olson

           So I think you really do need to crack down on the hoaxes because of the danger they present in de-sensitizing people to the real incidents.

          I agree.  The definition of a “hoax” is ‘a humorous or malicious deception’.  So that’s the thing, was this meant as a prank or was it malicious in order to stir the pot?

          David, are you going to run a story on this?

        3. Keith Olson

          What do you mean?

          I think we all know that if it came out that some white student or adult had written the racist words over the water fountains that the Vanguard would’ve been all over it.

          Why not a story about how it was black student who actually did it?

        4. David Greenwald

          The NCAAP held a press conference on Thursday which I couldn’t attend in Sacramento, so we ran the letter from Betty Williams.  If there is a follow up to that, we’ll probably run it.  Otherwise I’m not sure.

        5. Keith Olson

          Yeah, the NAACP sounding the alarm just to find out it was actually a black student who wrote the racist graffiti probably doesn’t fit the Vanguard narrative.

        6. Alan Miller

          Agree totally with DG comment at 6:52am about ‘crying wolf’.

          Armstrong & Getty used to have a bit they called something like, “Actual Racist Incident or Social Justice Warrior Hoax?”  They’d read an incident and then one of the hosts would judge which way it would go.  It was shocking how often it turned out to be a fake incident, often perpetrated by a ‘social justice warrior’ trying to show that racism was occurring in their area (as if real incidents are not enough?), and apparently unaware of all the other people who had done this and been busted.  The main criteria Armstrong & Getty used was when the incident was ‘just a little bit too perfect’, like if the perps were described as ‘MAGA hat wearing white males who yelled “this one’s for Donald!” as they beat the not-a-victim with a noose’.  Of course Jesse Smolet is the example Prime case, but these incidents are way too common.

          It’s interesting to watch those who were condemning this incident now falling all over themselves to paint it as a non-racist incident.  To me, if it was an act of naive stupidity as implied, it can be forgiven as nonracial.  If the motivation was to show racism exists by trying to get this blamed on white students to ‘show’ that racism exists, then it was clearly a racist incident.  It’s also weird how the now-defenders are saying they question the evidence, and then immediately deflect to another incident of racist graffiti that is unsolved.  No, let’s first focus on this issue and what it means.  And people, cameras are everywhere – check for cameras before committing a crime!!!

        7. Alan Miller

          So I think you really do need to crack down on the hoaxes because of the danger they present in de-sensitizing people to the real incidents.

          I agree, though I’d not use the term ‘crack down’ on hoaxes.  More like, there needs to be an unacceptability rather than a celebration of fake racist incidents within the community that is perpetrating them, as well as widespread awareness of how often people perpetrating these incidents get caught, and an awareness of how harmful this is to the cause of united more people against actual racist incidents.

          Years ago, I heard someone justifying one of these incidents because it brought awareness of racism due to ‘the number of actual incidents that were never reported’.  Um, NO!!!

        8. Ron Oertel

          It’s interesting to watch those who were condemning this incident now falling all over themselves to paint it as a non-racist incident.  To me, if it was an act of naive stupidity as implied, it can be forgiven as nonracial.  If the motivation was to show racism exists by trying to get this blamed on white students to ‘show’ that racism exists, then it was clearly a racist incident.

          Good point, and one that I hadn’t considered.

          Are the “adults” now defending the person who did this, because of her skin color? Are they purposefully downplaying the student’s intent, which may have actually been more nefarious than they now claim?

          If so, that’s far worse than their initial over-reaction. The implications of that possibility are highly concerning.

           

        9. Alan Miller

          Agreed, though I also hope the student is not ‘severely punished’ whatever that means, and rather ‘learns something’ from this.  I’m not seeking to punish minors unless they are attacking people physically.  The adults, on the other hand, are suffering their own fate by twisting themselves into verbal knots from which they cannot unwind to escape.

        10. Ron Oertel

          From what I can tell, the spin would likely be as follows (regardless of reality):

          If it was a white student, white racism is rampant on campus.  It’s not a hoax.

          If it was a black student (or any other skin color), it’s a hoax.

          Does anyone not understand how this view promotes racism, and increases the possibility of actual violenceIn this case, directed against white students? Or, is that type of attack “acceptable” to them?

  6. Keith Olson

    I mean seriously, he actually said this?

    If it was a white student who said it was just a prank would he see it the same way?

     

    “I don’t believe those words that were on those water fountains were racist,” Mark T. Harris, an attorney hired by the Sacramento City Unified School District as a “race and equity monitor” this past January told CBS Sacramento.

    “It’s an unfortunate prank,” Harris told KCRA.com. “It does not seem to be an example of any kind of hate crime, it’s not an example in my opinion of any kind of racist behavior pattern.”

    https://dailycaller.com/2022/02/18/mcclatchy-high-school-sacramento-racist-graffiti/

     

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      From the same article you posted, a quote “prior to” the discovery of the skin color of the perpetrator:

      “There is no room for hate at Sac City Unified,” Sacramento City Unified School Board Member Lisa Murawksi said in a Feb. 12 release. “This racist graffiti is not a joke, it is not excusable, and it will not be tolerated.”

      This is a very significant problem on the part of all who make such statements (and then backtrack on them, based upon the skin color of the perpetrator).

      They are actively fostering a racist, hate-filled environment (but in a manner that they either don’t understand, or choose to not understand). Given the conflicting statements (sometimes coming out of the same mouth), I might conclude that it’s purposeful.

      1. Keith Olson

        I agree Ron, talk about a total double standard coming from some of those in charge after discovering that the racist graffiti actually came from a black student.

         

  7. Ron Oertel

    I was thinking about this when the report came out last night.  This is basically the sin of crying wolf.

    That’s right, on the part of the NAACP.

    And what do we learn from that parable – we learn when you cry wolf people become desensitized to the real occurrence and thus the sin of crying wolf serves not only to perpetrate a hoax on those who would respond to these situations, but it serves to become an excuse for inaction when they arise in the future – even when it turns out to be the real emergency.

    The action (putting signs on drinking fountains) was never an emergency.

    So I think you really do need to crack down on the hoaxes because of the danger they present in de-sensitizing people to the real incidents.

    It was a real incident.  It was a hoax.  Even if it turned out to be a white student, it likely would have been a hoax. (Of course, a white skin color would have “justified” the response by the NAACP, in the minds of some.)

    The problem is that the adults in the room (e.g., the NAACP) over-react.  That’s why kids/young people do this type of thing in the first place.  If something is “socially-taboo”, that’s an attraction for them.

    In a way, hoaxes like this point out problems – rather than create them. But not the problem that the local NAACP (and those like them) had in mind.

    The president of the local NAACP should have known better than to react the way that she did.

    As far as the young person involved, I don’t think it warrants severe punishment.  If anyone deserves “punishment”, it’s the president of the local NAACP – in the form of public embarrassment. I wonder if she (and those like them) will “learn” their lesson?

    1. Ron Oertel

      Thanks to Keith and Alan, I’m now (AFTER writing the comment above) viewing the reports of this incident being a “hoax” in a different light/possibility.

  8. Ron Oertel

    Someone (perhaps a local blog) should put forth some real questions to the local NAACP, as well as anyone who made similar claims.

    Alas, I don’t expect that to happen, which will further damage credibility of all.

  9. Keith Olson

    I’m inclined to agree with Berry Accius here:

    Harris stopped short of calling it a racially motivated act.
    “I don’t believe those words that were on those water fountains were racist,” Harris said. “I do not believe they were hate crime or hate speech. Part of it quite honestly is because the admitted perpetrator is a young African American woman.”
    During the interview, she said it was a prank. But community activists like Berry Accius from the Voice of the Youth say there should be zero-tolerance.
    https://gooddaysacramento.cbslocal.com/2022/02/17/person-identified-mcclatchy-hs-racist-graffiti-protest/

    “I disagree with it not being a hate crime because at the end of the day we understand when you have colored on one water faucet and white on another kind of faucet what that means – whether it’s 1950 or 2022,” Accius said.

    1. Ron Oertel

      I don’t think it even qualifies as a “crime”, unless property was damaged.  Maybe an “incident”. Are the police even involved at all?

      My concern is with the reaction, more than what the student did.

      Thinking back to when I (and my friends) were 15, I’m even less concerned about what the student did (unless she’s actually filled with racial hatred, herself). For sure, I’m not trusting the reporting about the student’s motive, at this point.

      But if she actually is filled with hatred and racism, I’d point to the actions of the NAACP (and those like them) as one of the causes. Maybe even the primary cause.

      As well as the media itself as well, on a broad level.

       

      1. Keith Olson

        But would a white student have been given the out that it was just a prank?

        I think their goose would’ve been cooked.

        But I can agree that in either case maybe just a few days suspension is appropriate, no need to go too overboard as they probably would’ve if the student had been white.

        1. Ron Oertel

          If the student was white, the actions of the NAACP (and those like them) would likely have endangered all white students.

          And fostered a continuing environment of racism and hatred.

          As it is, they had already gone down that path. And from what I can tell, that’s primarily what they (and those like them) do.

          This is nothing new.

  10. Keith Olson

    This is unbelievable:

    Prior to the announcement that the vandal is black, community activists were in an uproar. The NAACP demanded “accountability.” At a protest, one black community activist shouted: “We are tired of ‘district letters.’ We are tired of ‘we are investigating.’ What we want is consequences.
    However, now the incident is billed as a prank gone wrong.
    It was a prank that went sideways is my characterization of what the young woman said in her confession,” said Mark Harris, an attorney with an expertise in social justice who was appointed last month to help the school district address racism and equity, reports The Sacramento Bee.
    It should be a moment for our community to come together and make sure this doesn’t destroy this person’s life,” Harris said. “…We don’t know why she did it. This is not a situation that is the same as an overt deliberate move to do something that is racist, destructive, negative.”

    They want investigating, they want consequences.  So the person who did it is caught fairly quickly but now they want everyone to back off because the person happened to be black.

    The Sacramento Bee reports that Betty Williams, president of the local NAACP chapter, is upset officials were able to solve the McClatchy High School case so quickly “while the investigation into racist graffiti at West Campus High School continues to linger months later unsolved.”

    Why is it when you find something like this we find the Black students quicker than we find the white students,” Williams said. “I want you to put that same energy into West Campus. I want you to put that same energy into every school district that’s dealing with these issues. It’s a problem. We have racism that’s rooted in this school district.”
    https://www.thecollegefix.com/black-student-found-responsible-for-disturbing-racist-graffiti/

    Maybe the evidence at McClatchy was more clear, evident and easier to access.  Can it be so clear that it was a white student that may have written the West Campus racist graffiti?  People might be surprised when they find out what they ask for.

     

     

    1. Ron Oertel

      “Why is it when you find something like this we find the Black students quicker than we find the white students,” Williams said. “I want you to put that same energy into West Campus. I want you to put that same energy into every school district that’s dealing with these issues. It’s a problem. We have racism that’s rooted in this school district.”

      So rather than issue an apology for her race-baiting, she’s doubling-down on it.

      Unbelievable. No – I take that back – sadly, it’s quite predictable.

      I’m wondering about the motivations of the NAACP, more than the student.

      I remember a time when the NAACP had not been taken-over by this type of race-baiting.

      Oh, and regard to Ron G’s earlier purposefully-insulting comment (and not the first time), what does the “C” stand for in NAACP? I didn’t come up with that name.

  11. Keith Olson

    This article was came out last night.

    Racist graffiti was written about an assistant principal at West Campus High School last November five times on a wall near her parking spot.
    Sacramento Police are investigating the incident and have identified three suspects.
    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10531443/Black-female-student-racist-graffiti-Sacramento-high-schools-water-fountains.html

    There are pictures in the link of the three identified suspects.

     

  12. Alan Miller

    ‘Why is it when you find something like this we find the Black students quicker than we find the white students,’ Greater Sacramento NAACP president Betty Williams said.

    Wow, talk about spin.  How does one prove or disprove ‘how quick’ ‘we’ ‘find’ students by race.  The issue is not the race itself?  It was before the identified suspects race didn’t fit the narrative.  Have y’all not learned by now not to create a narrative in this arena based on race when it so often backfires?

    I’m not taking glee in this.  I am personally horrified when I see a mug shot of the suspect in a crime I’ve heard about and it’s yet another mug shot of a black man — this always breaks my heart.  What I’m wondering is how these community leaders are so unaware of all the hoax incidents by those trying to ‘prove’ racism by creating false incidents of such, with so much attention on such incidents the past few years.  And why enable such by not condemning those who perpetuate such incidents?

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