Now that Charleston County School District Superintendent Nancy McGinley has kowtowed to the feverish demands of Academic Magnet parents, students, and the "I'm Not Racist But..." crowd and reinstated Coach Bud Walpole, we have entered the part of this sad story where the black community begins to speak out against the actions of the AMHS football team.
Enter state Rep. Seth Whipper (D-North Charleston).
Whipper represents the part of North Charleston that includes AMHS, and he is none too pleased with Walpole's reinstatement. In fact, he believes that the coach — and his entire staff — should be fired for allowing students to engage in a post-game ritual that many African Americans find offensive.
"The idea that anybody — it doesn't matter what race or group they belong to — that you can remove the humanity from somebody and then do a ritual like that is really, if you've been around anything, it's really dangerous," Whipper says. "It's a kind of bullying or oppressive kind of behavior that we all have come to loathe. It really is very bad."
Whipper doesn't stop there. If the team engages in this ritual again, the representative plans to raise the stakes even higher. "My feeling is that if the kids are so hardheaded about wanting to do this, then perhaps their season should be suspended," he says. "I don't want to have that happen, but certainly that ritual can't continue."
As for charges that Coach Walpole and his staff did not see the inherent racial insensitivity of the watermelon ritual, Whipper finds that hard to believe given Walpole's age. "He's been around long enough to hear about it," Whipper says.
While Whipper doesn't plan to hold any protests — nor does he know of any being formed — he plans to attend Monday night's CCSD board meeting, and he says that others will be there as well, including former students of Bonds-Wilson High School, the predominately African-American school that once stood where Academic Magnet and School of the Arts now stand today; Whipper's son attended School of the Arts. "I'm not sanctioning racial hate on anybody's part. I don't believe in that and I don't want it to be a part of my life," he says.
As it stands now, this story isn't over. In fact, syndicated conservative talk show host Mike Gallagher even went on the air this morning condemning the actions of these students. And if right-wing radio is noticing this and condemning it, just wait until Jon Stewart, Bill Maher, and Rachel Maddow find out about it. I don't know about you, but it ain't gonna be pretty.
Apparently, the folks at Academic Magnet are preparing for things to get ugly. According to Live 5's Andy Pruitt
, AMHS's athletic director Curt Hoffman has said the school is hiring extra security for tomorrow night's football game at the Danny Jones recreational facility in Park Circle. The Academic Magnet squad will face off against Branchville High School, a school that has minority majority, with nearly half of the students being black. Hopefully, that extra security will not be necessary.