Updated: Jan 15, 2020
If You Permit it, You Promote it!!!!
This phrase hit home for me, as I read about a recent incident at a high school state soccer playoff game in Minnesota. Admittedly, I have a son that played with his team in a state soccer playoff game, so I’m familiar with the way that “one and done” games can become heated. When I read the report that some student fans were taunting diverse players by calling them names of “Asian” food and telling them to go back to their own country, I was devastated.
Parents have contacted the Minnesota High School League and the schools involved to lodge a formal complaint, but I’m wondering about what was done during the game to stop the blatant bias treatment of the players. One of the parents even said that the fans didn’t need to taunt the players because the team was winning. Devastating. The idea that it would be understandable to hurl microaggressions, if the fans were upset that they were losing sums up the everyday experience of diverse people in our society.
As a parent, I want to believe that an educational environment would be a safe haven for all students. As an equity champion and an educator, I understand that this is not the case.
I want to know what other spectators were doing when they heard those insults shouted at the athletes.
I want to know what school officials were thinking when they heard those insults shouted at the athletes.
I want to know what the game officials were doing when they heard those insults shouted at the athletes.
At Kinect, we ascribe by the phrase, if you permit it, you promote it. We ALL have the responsibility to intervene when we witness bias or microaggressions occurring. Never before has it been more important for all citizens to assume the responsibility of ensuring a welcoming and inclusive living and learning environment for everyone.
The students involved need to know how their behavior reflected upon them, on their parents and on their school. They need to be taught about what it means to be racist. This situation is not an anomaly. It isn’t about a particular school. It is about our society and it will continue to happen – again and again.
As educators, we need to infuse education and awareness about cultural diversity into every facet of the learning experience. Cultural competency is not a nicety, it’s a necessity. If you have diversity and equity training on your “to-do list” and haven’t acted on it, make it your top priority.
Let this situation at a high school soccer game become an urgent reminder that now is the time to train your staff and educate your students.