Sunday, September 11, 2011


This was the sign held up by Kirtland High School students and their parents (according to all media reports) to taunt the losing Harvey High School team at the end of their recent football game in Ohio.

In the week since, the Ohio NAACP condemned the sign as "racial and ethnic intimidation."

Now we see the media equivalent of "You Mad Bro?" as media and bloggers engage in a campaign to discredit the Ohio NAACP as "race baiters" while excusing the race-baiting actions of those Kirtland students and parents as "bad sportsmanship".

However, in their rush to whitewash this incident as one of bad sportsmanship devoid of any racialization, they have failed to report the environmental / social context in which this "You Mad Bro?" drive-by assault occurred.

Not usually included in the reporting about this incident is the fact that Kirtland High School has a 98% white student population and is located within a white (99.1%) enclave.

Nor does the media usually include the fact that Harvey High School's student population is 53% students of color.

Nor does anyone really bother to mention that Painesville OH, where Harvey High School is located, has a higher representation of Afrikan Descendant and Latino residents than other areas of the state.

Nor do those reporting feel it important to mention the stark economic contrasts between the privileged Kirtland High students and the challenged Harvey High students. Media reports do not mention that in Painesville OH, people of color are experiencing a high level of poverty, with 31% of Afrikan Descendant and 50% of Latino residents classified as "living in poverty" by the state nor that 83% of the student population at Harvey High School are eligible for free lunches. (All data from,, and

Only the most determined, pugnacious, willfully blind will deny what this means in terms of the vulnerability of Harvey High students to being stereotyped racially, economically, educationally, in the media, and by their white Kirtland High peers. And the "You Mad Bro?" sign clearly shows how well that message has been learned by these young Kirtland students.

If this were only a case of bad sportsmanship, they could have used any of a number of slogans that did not hint of racial/cultural appropriation and micro-aggression. Instead, they went straight to the heart of it, as their racial inheritance and racial history dictated, and as their familial and societal institutions supported.

And now their actions are being shielded and co-signed as officials, media, and bloggers coddle and protect them, hide them behind a "youth are post-racial" banner, and excoriate NAACP officials for "making this a racial issue" -- right, as if THAT were the egregious offense! -- when what the NAACP is doing is calling a racial micro-aggression exactly what it is.

"You Mad, Bro?"

About this? Yes, I am. And you ought to be, too.

Moving Forward,