Tyra Batts- “1 2 3 NIGGER” chant


In the few posts that I have written for gumbomonster.com, I have remembered 3 names in the process. The first is Amber Cole, the 2nd is Aliaa Elmahdy, and the 3rd is Tyra Batts. I have written individual post on the first two young ladies already but this post is specifically about the 3rd young lady. Tyra Batts is a student from Kenmore, N.Y that has dealt with 1st hand, real life racism. Yes, Tyra Batts is black and her teammates from Kenmore East High girls basketball team, who she claims have used numerous racial slurs against her, are white. Not only is she black, but she is the only black player on the team. She was suspended from school for 5 days for getting into a fight on school grounds. The fight ignited after weeks of verbal racism from her teammates who also wouldn’t stop their traditional and racist chant of “1 2 3 Nigger” before each game.

Typically, when racism is brought up, the first thing people think about is black people and white people. Even more commonly thought of when racism is mentioned is white people being racist toward black people. There are then 2 broad reactions to this, those agreeing that the allegations are racist and those disagreeing that the allegations are racist. Even in the most extreme and blatant cases of white on black racism, there are still these two opinions. The 2nd opinion, the opinion from people who disagree the allegations are racist, use popular responses such as:

1. racism doesn’t exist

2. the president is black, racism doesn’t exist

3. I’m Irish, Italian, Asian, African, etc. and we’ve been through “worse”

4.  the race card is being abused

5. I’m a victim of reverse racism (implies-racism is okay bc of this and that “they” “deserve” it)

6.everything’s PC (politically correct) now, stop complaining, deal with it. Yall use the word nugga

7. What about the movie “White chicks?” It’s the same as black face.

8. And one of my favorites, Africans sold other Africans into slavery>>period

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The last response is my favorite because it’s becoming almost as common as the “I’m a victim of reverse racism (so racism is okay)” and the “stop complaining” responses. Here’s the original story so you can be your own judge.

Offensive racist chant leads to suspension of entire hoops team

By Cameron Smith

An entire varsity girls basketball team in the Buffalo area has been suspended after its use of a racial slur as part of a pregame chant led to an in-school fight involving the team’s only African-American member.

As reported by the Buffalo News and NBC affiliate WGRZ, among other sources, at least 12 members of the Kenmore (N.Y.) East High girls basketball team were suspended for their use of a pregame chant in the locker room that included the most offensive racial epithet associated with African-Americans. According to the News, the team would chant “One, two, three [N-word]” just before leaving the locker room.

When the team’s only African-American member, Tyra Batts, voiced her concern about the chant, teammates told her that the use of the slur was a team tradition, and that they were not willing to stop using it. For the record, Batts said the team’s coach, Kristy Bondgren, had heard comments in practice referring to her race but that Bondgren was unaware about the team’s pregame chant.

“I said, ‘You’re not allowed to say that word because I don’t like that word,'” Batts told the News in a home video she submitted to the newspaper. “They said, ‘You know we’re not racist, Tyra. It’s just a word, not a label.’ I was outnumbered.”

Yet, as long as the chant continued, so did Batts’ frustration and anger. Eventually, following weeks of other racially inappropriate references — teammates allegedly made jokes referencing slavery, shackles and picking cottona teammate used another disgusting racially insensitive insult, calling Batts a “black piece of [expletive].” That’s when Batts could take it no longer and was involved in a fight on school grounds with the teammate who hurled the insult.

“It was a buildup of anger and frustration at being singled out of the whole team,” Batts told the News.

Because of school rules, Batts had to be suspended for her involvement in the fight, as was the other girl involved in the fight. She was banned for five days, though she could have been suspended for longer for her role in the altercation. That changed because she told administrators of the reasons for her frustration, and her suspension was immediately shortened while Kenmore officials investigated the claims of racism.

When they discovered that the chant had indeed been used, the school swiftly suspended at least 12 members of the team for two days a piece on the grounds that the chant was a violation of the school’s code of conduct. The school board also canceled all team practices for a week, canceled a scheduled team bonding trip and scheduled a mandatory cultural sensitivity training session for the entire team. The superintendent of the Kenmore-Town of Tonawanda School District also unilaterally rescinded a league-wide sportsmanship award which had been awarded to the school in 2010.

“The insensitive chant is absolutely unacceptable, insensitive and not representative of the diverse student body within the … school district,” Mark Mondanaro, the Kenmore superintendent, told the News. “[The pregame chant was] wrong, unacceptable, unfortunate and will never, ever be tolerated.”

There’s little question that officials reacted swiftly when they became aware that the racist chant was being used, but that hardly mitigates the fact that it was used in the first place, and that it appears to have been for some time. Add to that the fact that only two of Batts’ teammates have apologized for their use of the slur, and the teenager’s father was left to openly wonder whether the program — which is situated in a town whose population is 97 percent white — has quietly been fostering a culture of racism for longer than anyone realized.

“This wasn’t something that just developed this year,” said Raymond Batts Jr., Tyra’s father. “This is something that’s been ongoing for quite some time.”

***************TYRA BATTS VIDEO INTERVIEW*******************************

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After I read the story of what happened on yahoo.com, I went immediately to  the comment section as usual. No more than two middle mouse strolls down, I spotted my favorite response, sitting and waiting for me to read.

Not only did this comment claim that American blacks are “ashamed and embarrassed about their legacy,” he also claimed that “white people are the most tolerant race on Earth.” Is this possible? Is this true? How did I not know that white people are the most tolerant race on earth?!? *Goes to Google and searches for “most tolerant race on earth.” First page results list:

1.Poll asking are Sinhalas (majority ethnic group in Sri Lanka where Sri Lanka is a center for the Buddhist religion and culture) the most tolerant race in the world?

2. mention of Gnomes-relatives of dwarves who are more tolerant of races and magic

3. other random names/examples

Nope, no mention of white folk though. And of course, if Google doesn’t list it on the 1st page of the search results then it must be wrong, right? Wrong. Just as wrong as I am for thinking that one page of results from one search on a popular search engine can give me a definitive and sole answer on a highly complex question, this user “pinksicle” is just as wrong for an historically inaccurate statement like “whites are the most tolerant race on the earth.”

Tolerant is defined as –

to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.

This was the exact opposite of what slavery was designed to do. Slavery was actually what was tolerated. Many blacks don’t even acknowledge their African history because they don’t know it or were denied their history. How could they/we be ashamed of a legacy (anything handed down from the past, as from an ancestor or predecessor) that most blacks who knew it would most likely readily admit? I would readily readily admit in any debate that Africans capture other Africans. I would also admit, that I can’t see the colonial whites who came to Africa intent of finding their “pool of slave labor” taking “No, I won’t help you white man.” for an answer.

I wanted to curse bad as hell in my response but that expletive would take a way from the fact that I’m making a more logical point than this commenter. Here’s my reply to the screen capture comment above.

You do realize at least some blacks do realize Africans sold Africans into slavery, right? Many ppl within the same race, especially with Africans, have aided in the downfall/enslavement of their own race; probably out of survival, probably out of greed, probably out of hate or probably bc of force (Jews aiding Germans during the holocaust for example). Either way, that doesn’t change ANY and ALL of the things racist whites did and permitted at the time of slavery once  Africans/blacks came and were in America. Please stop trying to focus on a piece of the puzzle instead of the puzzle itself. If I was still kept systematically uneducated and oppressed like slaves and freed slaves were, I’m sure I would’ve felt the need to say OF COURSE WHITES ARE THE MOST TOLERANT RACE ON EARTH, MASSA.

Separate from being heated by this commenter, the overall acceptable ignorance of these students, the alleged unawareness from the faculty, and the creation of the chant in the first place is enough to piss me off for a week. Before the week of being pissed off would even be over, my anger would turn into curiosity and wonder. What can you truly get out of saying “1 2 3 nigger” before each game? Why would you want to continue such a tradition? Does it empower you? Does it satisfy your parents or the originators of the tradition who expect you to continue their legacy? All pisivity aside, I really want to know. I promise I wont get mad…

Maybe I’ll never know why this type of blatant racism still exist to this day. Maybe the world wouldn’t be what it is today if it wasn’t for the smell of shit to make you appreciate and desire the smell of a rose. I’m educated enough to know that traditions/habits are easy vessels to infinitely propel any positive or negative habit far into the future. I also know that early influence on kids can enforce positive or negative ideas on race and many other factors. I also believe that blacks can be racist toward whites and that some people tend to abuse the race card but blatant racism shouldn’t be disputed. In the end, it probably isn’t. The disagreement between rather something is racist or not is probably more revolved around frustration with racism and its surrounding issues rather than the specific issue at hand. The interesting thing is that specific racism is indicative of racism’s structural foothold in society. What that tell ya?

I showed this picture to my 90% white sociology class and most didn’t find anything offensive about it because these white sorority students were portraying/showing homage to the highly respected Cosby family.

Maybe you see this picture and see nothing wrong with it. Maybe you hear a team chant a tradition of “1 2 3 nigger” and it’s A O K with you. I, personally, can no way agree with you. I would highly disagree and say to you, there is something wrong with this. It’s actually damn disturbing, the picture and the chant, but the chant is very much more disturbing. Why? The difference between this picture and the teams traditional chant is that these sorority students had no intention to offend black people. The students immediately apologized and dialogued with black students on their campus.

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With the chant, the high school students not only continued the chant knowing that it was offensive and racist but they also specifically targeted and intimidated the only black student on the team with racial slurs and verbal humiliation targeted at her race. Am I bias? I’d be lying if I were to say I wasn’t; I’m a black man. I am objective enough though to admit that Tyra shouldn’t have started the fight. I also wonder did she or why didn’t she talk to the teachers or principle about the issues before hand? I’m also subjective enough to wonder how could a tradition like this go on so long unnoticed or if it was noticed and allowed to continue . I also can relate to the frustration of being judged because you’re black, especially with that frustration being the motivator for this physical altercation between two racially different teammates. Pointing out the issues with both sides is some indication of objectivity though. Most comments I’m seeing are going solely for Tyra saying she’s right while the others are solely against her, basically saying “deal with it.” or making fun of the situation.

What would you have done? Could this situation happen if Tyra was white and the team was majority black? Of course, but what is more common and more historically common? Commonly, the dominant race enforces its power on the less dominant race; in the case of America, white’s oppression and extensive control over blacks. Think about that last statement or don’t think about it at all, either way is cool with me. I’m not here to convince you or tell you what to do. I’m just here to tell you what I’ve done and what I do.

ALTOGETHER NOW…

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Posted on December 10, 2011, in TIZZOTIPS, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 21 Comments.

  1. That picture reminded me of the cover on the movie “White Chicks”

    You know, where 2 black guys dressed up as 2 white women? Then proceeded to act like 2 stereotypical “white chicks?”

    Yeah, I remember that one and I don’t remember an apology afterward. Is it not as racist? Does it not also deserve an apology? I realize racism is a real thing, but as blatant or non-blatant as it may seem, it happens to everyone and nothing is ever done about. Whether your black or white, racism is racism.

    • Were you truly offended by the cover of white chicks or do you just want a cookie because you see another kid with one? Or even more, did you go see it, laugh, and think nothing about it? If you were offended, who am I to say you should or shouldn’t but you sure have a lot less to be offended by. Being white has more societal benefits than being black ever will. Point black

  2. Point blank or point black? lol

  3. bad manners have no color. bad manners have no soul and no human dignity. Bad manners are not limited to any single ethnic group.

    Kindness, decency and mutual respect are moral, and religious principals.

    Would our culture be improved if these principals were embraced … rather than rejected?

    • Whoa whoa whoa whoa Tica. I like you bc you seem to be becoming a regular but it…sounds like…you just blamed black ppl for not being accepted into society? *Wipes eyes and waits for a reply if any.

      • I am not blaming any single group or person. I am simply suggesting that our culture would benefit from more people preferring to be polite to each other … rather than substituting hurtful moments for cleverness.

        When you go out of your way to say or do something rude, crude or demeaning… you are also hurting yourself. There is no logic in self destruction.

        If you see the totality of our mutual humanity, you will see that resisting rudeness is an effective way to turn aside the prevailing winds of cruelty that so often passes itself off as clever … or shocking …. or modern sophistication.

        There are no circumstances where being mean for its own sake is ever justifiable. Racism may be the texture of some cruelty … but … cruelty (AKA bad manners) is not limited to morons who use race as the vehicle of their mindless behavior.

  4. @Papabear you do realize the historical significance as to why whites putting on blackface in this day and age would be seen as offensive, while ‘White Chicks’ was just a parody right? Though you have a point to an extent about the stereotypes that can be associated with “White Chicks” there is no historical context associated with hate when it comes to blacks putting on “white face”, while whites in BLACK FACE stretches back as far as the word “nigger.” Whites did it because they felt like blacks were nothing, inferior, yadda yadda yadda and also to make fun of blacks, this was the sole purpose of “blackface” to make an entire race feel like and look like shit…I highly doubt this was the purpose of “White Chicks,” (a movie made popular not only by blacks but by WHITE ppl and produced by WHITE ppl) so bringing it up in a discussion on the topic holds very little if any weight.

  5. The “white chicks argument” is steadily brought up bc it is a technical mirrored example of black face though it holds very little historical relevance of hate and discrimination against whites like you pointed out Bats. Papabear was the first person I heard use the example that ended his use of that example with “Whether your black or white, racism is racism.” and it sounds good but it equates black racism and white racism as being equally discriminatory/historically relevant which just isn’t true by any means.

    I do appreciate the overall civil vibe of the back and forth me and Papabear had but don’t let my/our “lol’s” in anyway take away from the seriousness of this specific issue of racism which says a lot about the state of racism as a whole in 2011. The fact that we can talk is great, the fact that we still have to discuss blatant forms of racism like this, isn’t (great).

  6. It’s all a point of view when you get down to it. I am not wrong and neither are you, but when It’s all said and done, I’m white and your black. I would never be able to put myself in your shoes and vice-versa. However, based on my experiences growing up, I have had my share of racism thrown towards me plenty of times and believe me, I have seen it go towards blacks plenty of times also, but I can’t put racism into certain groups (blatant, non-blatant) because when It’s all said and done, It still has the same effect no matter what color you are. I never watched the movie “White Chicks” because I was honestly offended by it, but I realize a negative reaction is what most people want when using racism and the best thing for me to do was not watch the movie and move on. I realize the “1, 2 ,3 nigger” chant was extremely harsh, racist and un-called for, but in all honesty again, It’s been a very long time since I have seen something THAT blatantly racist and actually allowed to go on in any modern day school. HORRIBLE choice for that “school” to let the chant go on like it has.

    It is an issue, but until blacks and whites can see eye-to-eye, It’s going to be very hard to stop the moronic (and sometimes evil) people from continuing on with this racism.

    I know It’s a little off subject, but just an example of how messed up people are in this society, remember the riots at Penn State after Joe Paterno was fired? People care about football more than they do about children getting raped. It just goes to show what direction this society is going and how much harder it will be for people to see eye-to-eye and actually do what is right.

    • I specify the type of racism bc I believe it goes toward intention. Yes, it is all offensive but if the person meant to offend is very important as well. Sometimes it’s just miscommunication or like you said, you’re white so seeing my POV as a black man is pretty much impossible though any POV could be understood.

      Last question though, what/how were you offended by white chicks? Not a setup or mocking you, just wanna hear a first hand response from a white perspective.

      • It made me feel like white people were being made fun of. I felt the same way when I watched “How High.” Granted, I love me some method man playing my CD player, It still made me feel like I was being made fun of because I was white. Do I care? Hell no, but I’m not gonna support another movie with the same guy playing in it and now hes dressed like he’s white.

        Wow, It’s been a long time since that movie came out. I feel freakin old.

  7. I totally just realized that it wasn’t Method Man playing in White Chicks, lol. Nevertheless, still the same feeling.

  8. lol method man did play in How high tho so you were actually right. Appreciate the pov. I can understand that. Like I said, it’s easy for someone to say, HOW CAN YOU BE OFFENDED, YOU’RE WHITE? But if I am anywhere near as objective as I claim to be, I know that’s not true. I never watched white chicks either. It had nothing to do with being offended though, I just knew it would be a wack movie. I think “how high,” like “white chicks,” played heavily on stereotypes which at times made them funny bc they’re are some white folk/black folk that act like the characters but offensive bc it reinforced the stereotype. Many comedies and stories have characters based on stereotypes tho so how they present it becomes the issue between a movie like “white chicks” vs a movie like “how high.” I laughed at most of how high though bc i knew their intentions and the stereotyping went both ways racially.

  9. Excellent analysis of the situation.

    If the other teammates had even attempted to make Tyra feel as if she was part of the team, this could have gone in a different direction. I mean, what is she supposed to think as they run out to “1, 2, 3, NIGGER!”?

    How sad their lives must be to do that in front of a teammate who couldn’t help but take offense. Of course, we know that theses girls aren’t reduced to simply being idiot racists, but a group activity should be creative, not thanatic.

    • Appreciate that feedback. The more I think about it, the more I want to know where the tradition started from and who passed it on to them. Before the national attention, it obviously was A-okay.

      • The news came out it was a tradition stemming from a joke between a former black student and her teammates. It passed down over a few seasons and no one who was around for the original joke was still at the school, I believe. Still, they’re kids. They hear this word in music around them all the time, they see professional black people using the word all the time – why was it so much more offensive this time?

      • Imma need a link to a news story for me to believe that a black student made up the 1 2 3 nigger chant.

        As for the use of the word, to me, nigger and nigga or not the same. 1 is completely racist in nature, the other is a word that mainly black ppl use as a term of endearment. Taking race completely out of the equation, you can hear a person say bitch all day, on the news, and everywhere else, but if I call someone I don’t know a bitch, it’s offensive to that person 1) bc it sounds negative/attacks them personally and 2) bc that person never told me it was cool to call them that. It doesn’t matter what you hear, it matters why you repeat it and who you say it too. These aren’t 2 yr olds who hear then repeat without understanding meaning.

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