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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