Our Opinion: No room for racist behavior

Published 6:13 pm Friday, February 25, 2022

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The events from this week surrounding racist incidents at two Minnesota schools is both distressing, disturbing and disheartening and once again forces people to take a good hard look at who we are as a society.

Prior Lake has announced that it is forfeiting its final high school girls basketball game, as well as its first-round playoff game after a Prior Lake player discovered a racist note in her gym bag. This comes after another incident at the school late last year of a video that surfaced in which two high school students berated a Black classmate with a racist slur and that also went viral.

This latest incident comes in the same week that both St. Louis Park and Robbinsdale districts announced they will not play against New Prague High School. In that incident the New Prague’s athletes and fans reportedly made racial taunts toward the boys hockey team and girls’ basketball players during separate games on Feb. 15.

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The Minnesota State High School League announced an effort to partner with several other organizations, including student leaders, to “identify and provide resources to assist schools” in addressing racist incidents during sporting events. A good step to take.

But the bottom line is we need to be better than this. Our society has a lot of work to do to ensure everybody is treated fairly and not judged on the color of one’s skin.

There’s not enough public information to know the driving factors behind the incidents and why those who chose to debase themselves and their school chose to participate in such behavior.

We can only hope it is a teaching moment and that a person can grow from their mistakes and woeful lack of understanding of just how powerful words can be.

Education must be a driving standard in order to combat racism. Education from family, teachers and coaches must be the point where we reach these kids with the reality of how our world ought to be, rather than the re-imagining of the harms created in our past.

There is no denying that we are a divided society, succumbing to a whole host of ills in a world that we ought to be past at this point.

There must be a hard line drawn in the sand that effectively ends systemic racism across the nation. There is no room for it in schools, in the stands or in society. All students must feel welcome and safe.