Why standing up to racism matters

Note: this is not my usual post, but it’s important. I did not witness this firsthand. I am recounting events from players and coaches that my family knows personally and respects. I have no reason to doubt them.

Why standing up to racism matters

My daughter’s varsity lacrosse team had a playoff game against Cherokee High School two nights ago. Our team is not the usual lacrosse team. In a sport with less diversity than most, my daughter (who is white) is not in the majority. 

In the second half of the playoff game, the Brookwood players started hearing racial slurs hurled at them. The N-word in particular. This word was used by players on the field and by a group of boys off the field.

Our goalie went to the refs about being called the N-word and her coach (who is also her mother). According to news reports (and our coach), the ref spoke with the Cherokee High School Principal at the game, and the Principal said the boys could come and sit with him. STOP AND READ THAT AGAIN. The high school principal was made aware that some of his male students were calling our girls the N-WORD, and he responded that they could SIT WITH HIM! They should be suspended!

After the game, the Cherokee High School Girls Lacrosse Coach and the Cherokee High School Principal both spoke with our assistant coach (who is also black) and apologized, saying that sort of thing never really happens. They apologized to him but didn’t do anything about it. After all, the boys yelling the N-Word just got an invite to sit with the Principal. 

Since the game, Brookwood parents (myself included) have taken to social media, calling schools and calling news stations to cover this story. I’m proud to be a part of a community that will stand with our players and coaches of color and believes them. Cherokee County has issued statements gaslighting our students (and coaches) saying they “can’t find evidence.” 

This is why standing up matters! The victims of racism aren’t believed by the system that perpetrated it. Instead of owning the racism in their community and seeking to end it, Cherokee County officials would rather pretend it didn’t happen, allowing the racism in their community to fester and grow further.

How many people would need to come forward before Cherokee County takes this seriously? We have four Brookwood students that were called the N-word. We have a coach that was called the N-word. Are five testimonies not enough? And if not, how many testimonies would be enough? Ten? Fifteen? Or does Cherokee County need the testimony of white people to believe something happened?

We all must stand up for anyone marginalized, pushed aside, and discriminated against. It’s our duty as fellow human beings. These girls are my kid’s friends. They are talented, kind, exceptional students who deserve to be treated like the wonderful individuals they are. I’m angry they were mistreated and continue to be poorly treated by Cherokee County officials.

If you want to see the news stories and social posts about this, here are a few links:

I stand with them, and I hope you will too. Please share their story and help us hold Cherokee County officials responsible.