That’s the word that describes the 15-year-old’s mother and other members of the community who are saying that more must be done to stomp out the ugly seed of racism that has sprouted in our community.
That’s the word to describe the actions of the teenagers who scrawled a hateful message on a school bus window, who wore KKK-like apparel inside and outside the high school, and sexually harassed the biracial student and her friend on the school bus.
That’s the word that best describes the more than 80 comments at grandhaventribune.com written by current and former community members. Among the comments was this one from HavenDude:
“This is very concerning. My unease is that the Tri-Cities area is lacking diversity, although the surrounding areas are growing increasingly diverse. Yet the constant message is that we do not have a problem and everyone is welcome. I think it would be good for our community to have an open mind to the possible signals we send to people who are different. Will we have the courage to look deeper than our defensiveness and assumptions? Let's rise above this, Grand Haven! Let's not put a Band Aid on the issue and pretend this stuff doesn't happen here. Let's dig deeper. I feel terrible for this girl and hope that the school is truly putting actions to their words. I also hope the kids responsible will have a change of heart.”
These are the meaningful conversations that this community, parents and students must have to move forward.
That’s the key word here. What can, or should, be done to address this and other situations in our community?
In most cases, one could say these are kids saying ignorant things. But these kids have heard it from somewhere. For some reason, they think bullying and outright racist displays are acceptable, funny, or will elevate their stature in others’ eyes.
And that is what is not acceptable. It’s not acceptable in our schools, on our buses or in our community.
Take a stand. Be brave.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.