This story about a white kid being nominated for “Distinguished African American Student Award” at a high school in Omaha is fascinating:

A small group of Westside High School students plastered the school Monday with posters advocating that a white student from South Africa receive the “Distinguished African American Student Award” next year.

The posters were removed by administrators because they were “inappropriate and insensitive,” Westside spokeswoman Peggy Rupprecht said Tuesday.

Trevor, who was pictured on the posters, was suspended for two days for hanging the posters. Two of his friends also were disciplined for hanging the posters. A fourth student, she said, was punished for circulating a petition Tuesday morning in support of the boys.

Apparently a number of students at the school, presumably black, were hurt and offended by this poster campaign. But here’s the best part, Trevor is an African American. He’s from Africa. He just isn’t black.

Administrators have even gone so far as to say that the award is always given to a black student. Ok, then why isn’t it called the “Distinguished Black Student Award”? Or the “Distinguished Colored Student Award” (you can’t tell me that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People isn’t a weird name for an organization in this day and age) or something equally precise?

It’s called the “Distinguished African American Student Award.” Trevor is an African American. He just happens to also be white. Anybody detect any, oh, racism or prejudice operating here?

Isn’t there something inherently racist about assuming that all Africans are black? I mean, technically, a student named Mohammed born and raised in Cairo is also an African American, even if he would be considered Arab by most people who look at him. Or is the implication here that blacks should be accorded special recognition because they’re somehow intrinsically disadvantaged and need boosts to their self-esteem? The whole attitude leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth, as there is a nasty voice in the back of my brain saying, “What they really mean is that niggers are stupid and lazy and we have to give them a special prize when they do something as well as a white kid does.”

But see, I’m not supposed to say that out loud.

But “African American” is the current politically correct word for blacks, therefore to call them anything else is “racist” or “demeaning”. So you can’t really be accurate and call it an award for a black student, because that sounds kinda condescending. And while this sort of condescension is indeed part and parcel with the current liberal ideology, it’s gauche to be too obvious about it.

UPDATE: Fox News has picked up the story. If you would like to express your opinion to the Westside Community School District, you may do so at: westside@westside66.org

Tacitus has comments, and many answering comments from readers.

17 Responses to “African Americans Aren't Always Black”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Something that is obvious but never mentioned is that the only use race classification has is for racism. Race is a false bifurcation.

    Although it’s not popular to say it, but the “distinguishes African American Student Award” is an award for being the best in an artificially created group. The award in itself purposely takes race into account, which is by definition racist. If “African American” meant what the words imply, then it would be nationalistic or jingoistic possibly. I don’t think it’s much better.

    Incidentally, the smartest man I know (currently) is an Ethopian. It would be an insult for him to win an award recognizing how smart he is in just the black community, because he can easily compete across all races and genders. Awards based on race only help the mediocre, and for truly talented people in that race, they are constrained by it because white people make the assumption that they won their accolades based on a quota system.

  2. quatorzejames says:

    [Ed. Note: this comment has been moved to the appropriate blog entry]

    in another section, missy anne had the nerve to write:

    [Long repost of the above blog entry elided]
    . . .

    i realize this post is off-topic, and i don’t care.
    you put up a good front, but the above hateful screed exposes you for the conflicted asshole you really are.
    you are one stupid, corny bitch.
    the only one dying to say “nigger” is you.
    “african american’ is a name Black americans have chosen for ourselves.
    show some respect and allow people to name themselves.
    read a book and act like you know, you facetious, hateful, snotty faux-intellectual.
    it’s shocking and sad that you would identify with the point of view of a bunch of ignorant, selfish, hostile teenagers.
    school officials would not have to make such difficult disciplinary decisions if adults like you were not constantly validating the behavior of know-nothing kids like these.
    it’s our responsibility to teach kids to respect each other.
    you enjoy the drama, and you want to see Black people humiliated.
    i feel sorry for you, you hateful cow.
    you are a bad writer and i think you secretly hate yourself.

  3. Anne Haight says:

    *cracks knuckles*

    i realize this post is off-topic, and i don’t care.

    That’s ok. I moved it to the appropriate location. I presume that your motive for failing to put your comment in the right place is either laziness or cowardice.

    you put up a good front, but the above hateful screed exposes you for the conflicted asshole you really are.
    you are one stupid, corny bitch.
    the only one dying to say “nigger” is you.

    I say it because people are afraid to. It’s the word a lot of people are thinking, sometimes seriously, sometimes in analysis (like me). I think it’s interesting that the simple utterance of this word provokes a more powerful response than just about any other word in American English, and always results in the speaker being labeled racist, regardless of context (unless of course the speaker is black themselves).

    “african american’ is a name Black americans have chosen for ourselves.
    show some respect and allow people to name themselves.

    You can call yourself a Martian Hole-Digger for all I care. That doesn’t make it accurate, and doesn’t enhance your credibility at all. Are you from Africa? Have you ever even been there? And why can’t you just be “American” like everybody else? Why must you segregate yourself with a special word?

    read a book and act like you know, you facetious, hateful, snotty faux-intellectual.

    Do you have anything to contribute besides random insults? I suppose “facetious” might be an accurate description of me, from time to time. You might try to looking the word up.

    it’s shocking and sad that you would identify with the point of view of a bunch of ignorant, selfish, hostile teenagers.
    school officials would not have to make such difficult disciplinary decisions if adults like you were not constantly validating the behavior of know-nothing kids like these.
    it’s our responsibility to teach kids to respect each other.

    They have not done anything wrong. I would be curious as to why you think they have.

    you enjoy the drama, and you want to see Black people humiliated.

    Right. And remind me again who made an issue out of all this? You humiliate yourself with such statements.

    i feel sorry for you, you hateful cow.

    No, I think you’re enjoying every minute of this, and you relish the thought of me being brought low.

    you are a bad writer and i think you secretly hate yourself.

    I’m a better writer than 50 of you put together, and you hate that.

    Now go away and let the grownups talk.

  4. Anne Haight says:

    Just for the reader’s information, I had to ban quatorzejames today for comment spamming. Instead of actually answering my criticism above, he saw fit to repost his original comment (completely identical) back under the wrong blog entry.

    Good show, james. Thank you for proving my point. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. fuzzywzhe says:

    Wow. Somebody that at least seems similar to me.

    I think Anne is right.

    What few people realize is that the only purpose of dividing people up along any lines is segregation. Can you tell if I’m African American, Jewish, Hispanic, Polish, Irish, Chinese, Vietnamese, based on what I write? What does it matter what my genetic background is, why should it matter? Should you be more offended if a white man calls you “nigger” than a black man? Why?

    The man that brought me into this world was a black pediatrician that went to UCLA and he founded a 7th Day Adventist Church while he was there. My best friend in college is Jewish. The people I started a company with are Indian (from India) Vietnamese, and white. The smartest man I’ve ever worked with is Etheopian.

    But it’s all irrelevant, they are just people that also feel that race is irrelevant. People that make race an issue are most often racists themselves. All people deserve equal treatment, but I’m somewhat fascist, I think it might have to be mandated. Unfortunately, some people will take advantage of the system when it’s mandated, this isn’t a problem of race though, it’s a problem of human nature.

    The very concept of race is meaningless. My Indian friend is darker than most “African Americans” and he looks more Mexican than Indian too. He’s an MIT graduate too. I find it funny when somebody has preconceived notions about him.

  6. Robert Martin says:

    That shool has 20 white students for every black. I think it’s pretty obvious with that kind of proportion that the school established such an award so that at least one of the 56 black students would receive some recogition each year, without ’tilting’ the other awards. Otherwise, these 20-1 outnumbered black kids may well have to see no black faces on the dais year after year.

    I think it is the school’s obligation to provide encouragement to ALL its students, and the creation of the “African American Award” seems a reasonable way to do this. The school did not create the ethnic divide, but it exists and in the real world they have to deal with it.

    Since the award was determined by popular vote (the news story indicated the white kid was “running” for the award), all it is is kids voting for the most industrious students among the African Americans.

    “African American” is not a racial distinction, but neither is it simply an indication of where an American was born. As generally used, “African American” is an ethnicity unique to the US; a product of 400+ years of culture on our own shores.

    When we say “the African American tradition,” we may all get our own idea of what that means, but it will NOT be a white South African who, in all likelihood, was in SA at a time when white and black cultures were separated by law.

    It is not likely that this kid has any commonality with what we generally refer to as “African American.”

    Just as the english-speaking child of a missionary stationed in Manchuria is not likely to call himself a “Chinese American” when he comes to the US, this product of colonial Africa is very far from being an “African American.”

  7. Robert Martin says:

    Sorry, a small correction: more careful reading indicates that the teachers, not the students, select the recipient. My statement of the ratio of students is also off; a story at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,109309,00.html indicates 56 of 1632 students are black, that is more like 30 to 1.

  8. Low-Tech Redneck says:

    Martin’s posts are a good example of how much of the PC brouhaha starts out as a good intentioned idea to promote diversity, but the problem is, in every single case, it only serves to highlight differences and reinforce the idea that certain groups should be kept “separate” Only in the modern American socity, it’s separation by special accolades and affirmative action, not separate drinking fountains. And I see no distinction between the two, they’re both making decisions based on race that totaly ignore individual merit.

    “I think it is the school’s obligation to provide encouragement to ALL its students” First of all, I disagree with this, this is the sentiment which has turned modern education into a joke, where schools are more concerned with how students feel about themselves and how much political indoctrination they can be fed instead of wether or not they can actualy do the math they need to graduate. But even if it is the job of the school to do this, why isn’t/wouldn’t this be accomplished WITHOUT having separate awards for those who have a different ethnic background? If the school decides to award say the top 5 students every year based on GPA’s, why is it “bad” if none of those students are black? Why shouldn’t it be based on fair and objective criteria? Don’t you see how this is just Jim Crow all over again? Blacks are inferior students, but that’s okay, we’ll give them special awards for being the smartest of the “dumb negroes” that’ll help. If they want the award, isn’t it fair to teach them to WORK for it? And that goes for every student out there

  9. Anne Haight says:

    Only in the modern American socity, it’s separation by special accolades and affirmative action, not separate drinking fountains. And I see no distinction between the two, they’re both making decisions based on race that totaly ignore individual merit.

    Indeed, and I would also argue that the difference is just as obvious to everyone. In a school with only 56 black students, is anyone really fooled by the existence of a special award for them?

    I would imagine that at this school, that award is not an encouragement to the black students, nor is it a sign to the other kids of anything positive. It’s a mark of humiliation; “Hey look, that poor schmuck won the Award this year. God that Award is so fake. They probably just pick some black kid at random from a hat.”

    Maybe they should put a sign on the bottom of the award that reads, “Coloreds Only”.

  10. cyberpooch says:

    ?Security Code??

    Anyways, as I was going to say:

    Aren’t Rhodesians Africans? Aren’t blacks Rhodesians? And aren’t whites Zimbabweans?

    I don’t think race is so much a false category as a silly one. And it is a shame that American’s obsession with silliness has been allowed to distort so much in its law, education and society.

    I don’t just mean affirmative action and PCL (Politically Correct Lunacy). I include

    Batson v. Kentucky (no race “motivated” juror challenges — And how do you find out if the challenge was “impermissibly” motivated? Oh… ask the attorney who kicked em off. );

    Brown v. Board (separate = unequal; goodbye Euclid, nice knowing ya.),

    Heart of Atlanta (not serving hamburgers to blacks violates the ….tic, toc, tic, toc… You GOTTIT — the Commerce Clause! — Boy does *that* stand on high ground)

    Plessy v Ferguson (separate is equal– now this is real subtle… a war fought to preserve UNION, ends up producing sanctioned dis-Union…weird.)

    Fourteenth Amendment (Equal Protection for all…except them damn rebs…. [read the whole damn amendment].)

    Saint Lincoln. (hahahahahaahahahaha….)

    The Party of Lincoln. (more haha .. More like
    Making the World Safe for Corporations and Railroads Under cover of Freeing the Darkies….. (puke).)

    How bout the Party of Davis? (ever heard of the Davis Emancipation Proclamation? There wuz one ya know… I think it might actually have come before the other.)

    This one is REALLY good:

    Lord Cornwallis fighting a war in the South to “free the slaves.:” (I kid you not)

    This one is REALLY sick

    Lord Cornwallis sending the blacks (who had enlisted with the Lobster backs) over the parapets back to their rightful owners when he was running out of food at Yorktown.

    A black lobster back??? Why don’t they make a movie about THAT!!!

    Alas…Uncle Remus had it right… Punching that Tar Baby sho’ does lead to trouble…

  11. Anne Haight says:

    The security code is to prevent bot spamming and other automatic internet daemons from leaving comments. The code displayed is a graphic image, not a text file, and only live people can correctly read it.

  12. Hotaru says:

    This has brought me to a conclusion: Those born in Africa who move from Africa to America are African American.

  13. Hotaru says:

    I know that’s kind of a dumb conclusion, but I had never really thought of it that way before.

  14. Charlene says:

    I would have to say that young black girls are harsh. They walk around and grill white girls like they are better. If a white girl were to say, you are a monkey to a black girl who called her white trash first, would be angry and call her Black Panthers over to fight. When in the first place, the black girl said a racial comment without thinking that she would get it right back.
    Why do black girls and some black men act like white people now a days are racist or had something to do with slavery back then? white people who are young were not even alive back then, and why would a black person say “Well look what you’ve done to us” that statement is all across every black mind. When the answer is right in front of them. (we did not do anything)
    (ancenstry did it) not us today!

  15. ryan says:

    how in the fuck are people allowed to call an award african-american when even if you are african-american you can’t win. you have to be fucking black to be from africa. how come blacks that are born in america can win? there not from africa, there ancestors are. so they shouldn’t be classified as african-americans, lets call them what they really are americans

  16. angela says:

    ***No I do not know you and you do not know me I am sending this mass email in an attempt to protect my sons integrity from a multimillion dollar company who stands by a white employee calling my son a nigger in a professional setting….Please read our story and help me in my fight as one voice cannot be heard but millions will! You have received this email personally along with thousands of others as I have taken this whole work off from work to send these out.

    My name is Angela Smithson,
    I brought my son to my employer’s (Amica Insurance Raynham Massachusetts) Bring Your Child to Work Day where a coworker greeted my 7 year old biracial son with ‘Let me get down to his level Yo nigger what’s up.’ on 4/20/05. My son was deeply troubled by this racist remark. We do not use the word nigger in our household and as a result he had many questions. He cries at the drop of a dime still gets very upset when someone calls him black and tells me that he is sorry that he is black.
    I contacted HR by phone on 4/22/05 with intentions of filing a complaint I was hung up on by the Assistant VP of HR. I then sent her an email which I still have explaining the whole situation. She did not take action. She has been in complete control of this investigation since June when I requested a formal complaint be made against this employee as she was harassing and threatening me.
    It was not until a few weeks ago when I finally had enough and asked to file a formal complaint did they look into this. Their investigation was unfounded and as a result I was told to move on. I had explained to them since day one that this conversation was held between myself, this employee and my son and that I did not think anyone else heard. Their final decision was that My allegations were not proved, disproved or cooperated. However two members of management had told me that ‘I don’t think she meant any harm by that she had an exboyfriend who was black.’. This statement alone first shows that management is not shocked that she said something like this as she has a very foul mouth (she swears all day every day and also uses racial and homophobic remarks) and that they are protecting her for what ever reason.
    This employee is now stalking, harassing and intimidating me daily. I have told management they will not act upon this, they said that this employee has every right to go where she pleases and do what she wants. I had a nervous break down at work going into seizures and hitting my head on the floor as a result of the pressure from management and this employee stalking me daily. I was taken by ambulance they refuse to allow me to make a workers comp claim they tell me to go through my health insurance and send them the bill for the coins as stress is denied and not covered under worker’s comp. They placed me on admin leave after my NBD and would not allow me to come back to work even though I had a DR note stating that I could while this employee was allowed to go to work every day and carry on as normal.
    Amica has constant undercover police presence who watch me and reverse into the parking lot when they see me. They state they felt threatened when my son’s father called questioning their investigation results as he felt the company was calling Cullen a liar. I was standing right next to my son’s father Ali when this call was made and he never once raised his voice or physically threatened anyone. He told them that he was not going to let this be and that he would contact outside sources for help such as the media and organizations. They have known that I have been being stalked and threatened by this other employee for months but did not hire police for my protection.
    Last Thursday they sent me an email stating that the VP of HR was in the office from RI and that I had to meet with her and the branch manager alone. I asked for options such as a coworker or an advocate to be present for me because in the past they have met with me alone when I asked to file a formal complaint and have gone against me and refused to put their answer to my allegations as well as their investigation results in writing. They told me that they would reschedule the meeting until Friday however they were concerned about my refusal to meet with them and if I refused today they would term this insubordination and terminate me.
    On Friday they gave me a written warning and forced me to meet with them alone again telling me that if I keep pressing this issue about their investigation and my son that I will be terminated (I have never been even verbally warned for my behavior in my 4 years of working for Amica in fact my pay raises for the last 4 years should show I went from 20000 to 33000within 4 years and in fact this written warning was not signed by management or myself it had no area for signatures)and also I must respect this other employee. During all of this my mom had come to my office unannounced as my grandmother is in a local hospital and my Mom wanted me to go with her as she has a heart conditions when I came to meet my Mom in the lobby she saw that I was crying and asked to speak to management they would not allow her to and called the police. I left as my Mom would not leave and I had no control over her but I did not want to lose my job for something she may say or do. My Mom was arrested.
    My Mom was released but has many bruises and cuts from the police including a billy club bruise that was inflicted by the paid detail officer who was following me this morning.
    It is obvious that the Amica Insurance Southeastern Massachusetts office is a racial infested company and should be stopped as they are taken no action against this other employee yet are constantly retaliating against myself and my family for speaking out for my son. It is clear to me that they have great disdain against me as a Caucasian women who created biracial children
    Please help me and guide me to protect myself, my son and my lively hood.
    I have contacted the NAACP,AG’s office of MA,Governor of MA, MA labor board, DA’s office, media, local colleges, Attorneys and no one will help me. You have my consent to contact whomever you may need to in order to assist me in spreading this word and protecting my family against these racists!
    They have silenced me after putting up a long hard fight however they can not take away my freedom of speech.

    I beg of you to contact the powers that be at Amica to advise them that you know what they have done to an innocent 7 year old and his family and that you do not stand for the way they swept his pain under the rug! I have no other options as I do not have money to hire an Attorney. I will lose this battle against Amica alone.
    Thank You
    Angela L Smithson

    Please sign Cullen’s petition at http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/Cullen and
    http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/Amica

    Amica Insurance contact:
    1-888-863-5912
    CEO Robert Dimuccio rdimuccio@amica.com (who never returned any of my calls,letters, emails or requests to meet with him personally regarding my son’s pain)
    Assistant VP Suzanne Casey scasey@amica.com (the HR employee who was sent to investigate and made the final call)
    Anthony Noviello III, Branch Manager Southeastern Massachusetts Office
    anoviello@amica.com (who tried to be my friend during the investigation just to find out my next move, he has children himself that went to bring your child to work day)

  17. kj says:

    In regards to all of the hate mail in here….sod off!!!! Get Jesus and God all up and through your lives!!!! it takes too much energy to sit around hating people who mean absolutely nothing to you!!! Why don’t you start a “STOP SERIAL KILLERS IN MY RACE” campaign. Be fruitful!!! You have like 20 million fucking problems in your race and you’re worried about others!!!!! LOSERS!!!!!! Love, KJ

Leave a Reply