By: April Carson
A "slave auction" allegedly occurred at a Chatham County school, according to community leaders, as one example of an increasing number of racist incidents targeting African students throughout the district.
The case of Ashley Palmer, whose son was "sold" by classmates at J.S. Waters School in Goldston, about 50 miles southwest of Raleigh, has attracted national attention.
The Palmers and their supporters will hold a press conference on Monday to discuss how they claim Black kids all across Chatham County are being targeted.
“We really want the general public to be aware of what's going on in Chatham County right now,” West Chatham NAACP executive committee member Carl Thompson told The News & Observer.
“In addition, we want the public at-large to know that the African American leadership in Chatham County has banded together to demand that these types of events cease. The school board and administration are responsible for putting a stop to such occurrences.”
The Chatham News + Record first reported that Mayor Georgia Thompson was one of the community leaders who spoke with Palmer during a Zoom call on Thursday.
Student As A Slavemaster
On Friday, Palmer wrote on Facebook that her son had informed her of how his classmates held a "slave auction" at J.S. Waters School, a small K-8 school in which 68 percent of the students are white. “His pal 'went for $350,' and another student became the Slavemaster owing to his knowledge of how to handle them,'” she wrote. “We even have a video of children harmonizing the N word. When were kids this blatant racists?”
Students who took part in the slave auction were given a one-day suspension, according to Palmer.
The North Carolina newspaper The N&O reported the tale on Wednesday, and it has since received a lot of attention.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) issued a press release condemning the occurrence, among other organizations.
“Racist bullying and intimidation are not acceptable in schools,” said Ismail Allison from CAIR. “We urge the school district to provide students with anti-racist education to help guarantee that similar alleged hate incidents do not happen again.”
“Many people are surprised by the audacity with which these students conducted themselves,” said Thompson. “They appear to have little concern for the harm they do to African-American classmates as a result of their actions.”
These occurrences led Thompson, a former county commissioner, to believe there are many more unaddressed acts of racism and intimidation against black students in the district that go unreported.
It's bringing back memories for Thompson and Bob Finch, the North Carolina NAACP's District 8 regional director, of fighting racism during the civil rights movement.
“It's not good for the entire community, our state, or to have to confront things that are reminiscent of the 1960s and 1970s in the 2020s.” Finch said in an interview Friday. “Today, parents are still combating some of today's social problems.
“That worries us a great deal. We're in a period when we're trying to be more inclusive of all cultures and people, especially since much of our educational system hasn't yet."
Finch was one of the participants in the Zoom call with the family on Thursday.
It's Time To Do Something About It
According to the letter, Chatham County school officials would not comment on the situation and instead referred families back to Superintendent Anthony Jackson's message sent Tuesday in which he apologized for "recent unacceptable events."
At a listening session Monday, families were told that “racist, homophobic or otherwise hateful behavior or speech has no place” in the district schools and that children "who act outside of our expectations will be held accountable."
“We must now commit to demolishing racism and other bad influences in our school community as a result of our combined efforts,” added Jackson.
In May, the school board hired a Black woman named Adrianna to work as an instructional assistant in the district.
During the interview, Thompson said he is confident that Jackson is genuine but isn't sure if the school board and the rest of the district are as committed to addressing racial issues. According to Thompson, the school bans aren't strong enough to deter kids from participating in racist behavior.
“What we're mostly worried about is the psychological trauma that children of color experience due to circumstances like this,” Thompson said. “We've reached the point where we aren't asking for anymore; instead, we're demanding that something be done.”
This recent discovery of a slave auction taking place at a school in North Carolina has caused an uproar throughout the community. While the school board has issued a statement condemning the behavior, many are wondering what measures will be taken to ensure that this doesn't happen again.
One of the main concerns is that this type of behavior can be normalized for children, especially those who are already marginalized. It's important that educators take steps to ensure that all students feel safe in the learning environment, and that any racist behaviors are addressed immediately.
Manifest Destiny Journal by Justin Carson w/ Billy Carson, and Elisabeth Hoekstra
About the Blogger:
April Carson is the daughter of Billy Carson. She received her bachelor's degree in Social Sciences from Jacksonville University, where she was also on the Women's Basketball team. She now has a successful clothing company that specializes in organic baby clothes and other items. Take a look at their most popular fall fashions on bossbabymav.com
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