The end result of white washing history

The sign above was used at a Friday night football game in Alabama over the past weekend.  In that game, the McAdory High Yellowjackets were playing against the Pinson Valley High Indians in the second round of playoffs.  As is the case for most prep football games, the cheerleaders and/or spirit squad usually have some type of banner for the football team to run through with a motivational message or a taunt to the other team.

This taunt appears to have gone a bit too far, especially given the mascot for the opposition.

I don’t know whether the cheerleaders knew exactly how their sign would be interpreted, but that obviously was not a good idea at all to put on public display.  The sponsor for the cheerleader squad is reportedly out on maternity leave, so this kinda gives the appearance that they’re basically operating on their own.  Whether that’s truly the case is beyond me, but that’s just my speculating that they are running the shop on their own.  I seriously doubt there is a single adult in that school who would have green lighted such a sign.

The principal of the school offered a sincere apology on the school’s website today which, unlike recent apologies, does not have that unmistakable taint of a non-apology apology.  It reads:

To Whom It May Concern:

On 11/15/2013 at a football game at McAdory High School, a sign was displayed that made reference to the “Trail of Tears” in which Native Americans were subjected to horrific atrocities. This was not condoned by the school administration, the Jefferson County Board of Education or the community. The person who would normally be responsible for approving such signs is out on maternity leave, and I take full responsibility that arrangements were not made to have the signs pre-approved before the ballgame. Please accept our sincere apologies to the Native American people and to anyone who was offended by the reference to an event that is a stain on our nation’s past forever.

In response to the “bust thru” sign used by McAdory High School during the Round 2 State Play-Off game versus Pinson Valley High School, all social studies and history teachers will re-teach and/or review units concerning Native American displacement following the Indian Removal Act of 1830.

Sincerely,

Tod Humphries

I think it’s a great idea for the history teachers to go over that time in history to drive home the nature of what really happened back then.  I have to question whether that will actually accomplish anything because, if the students have already received instruction for that part of our history and didn’t learn the lesson the first time, what makes anybody think that teaching it again will accomplish anything beyond what the first teaching accomplished?

It’s 2013 and almost 2014.  We should be beyond these types of incidents nowadays.  However, this is just another of the countless examples of how people won’t learn what they choose not to learn.  Only when a person opens their mind to learning will they begin to understand and remember the lessons being taught.  The day the Indian Removal Act of 1830 was taught at McAdory High, there seems to be a few students who were out to lunch that day.  This will now give McAdory two claims to fame.  In addition to this incident, McAdory is also the high school that unleashed Vincent “Bo” Jackson onto the world.  At least one of these two things will be remembered fondly by most of the country.

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5 thoughts on “The end result of white washing history

    • As a native of Alabama, neither am I. Gutting education has its problems, and I foresee quite a few of these problems manifesting themselves over the next few years. I can’t say whether it’s due to ineffective teaching or willful ignorance, but I imagine there are instances like this against all groups that never see the media spotlight shine on them.

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  1. I’d imagine this is one of those cases where no offense was really intended but wiser heads should have prevailed. Maybe by the teacher/sponsor being out on leave it fell through the cracks but some adult should’ve stepped in and given the “you’ve gone too far” talk.

    I have to come to Alabama’s defense a bit. No place is immune to this sort of thing, as much as some folks like to feel otherwise. Alabama is one of the places where it’s acceptable to take a free shot at though, so it always happens. That’s a bit of the broad brush from the other perspective, to my way of thinking. My guess is if it happened in one of the plains states (they have their own history with Indians), nobody would’ve said, “well that’s Kansas…..that’s Nebraska…..etc”.

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    • I appreciate the defense of my home state, but I think the residents of Alabama should be very diligent in ensuring this kind of stuff doesn’t happen, especially considering the history of the residents of my state. I can forgive the cheerleaders if they didn’t do this maliciously, but the adults in that school still have to be the adults at the end of the day.

      In agreement with you though, I’ll admit that something like this in Wisconsin, for example, wouldn’t get nearly the media attention that Alabama would get. I probably shouldn’t be so hard on them for that, but there’s still responsibility that has to be there when all is said and done.

      I’m sure the administrators will take care of this as I really think the apology was sincere and the feeling behind it was 100% truthful and honest.

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