White student spits on Black visitor at African American History Museum, sparking claims of racism

October 15, 2019 at 02:30 pm | News

Ama Nunoo

Ama Nunoo | Staff Writer

October 15, 2019 at 02:30 pm | News

Photo: EIN news

In the National Museum of African American History and Culture where there are bound to be historical exhibitions on slavery and racism, a white student from Connecticut decided to spit on a black visitor during a class trip.

The unnamed student’s principal, however, says the incident was not racially motivated.

According to the superintendent of Shelton Public Schools, the male student “acted inappropriately and embarrassed himself” as the entire group of students from Shelton Intermediate School were asked to exit the museum in Washington, D.C.

Superintendent Chris Clouet wrote on Facebook after the incidence, saying the student’s behaviour does not speak for the entire school.

“This kind of action is not a reflection of who our students are, or who we are as a community. This is not the time or place to talk about consequences.”

The students were in good hands as there were 12 chaperones on the trip catering to about 100 students. Clouet said the student’s behaviour will not go unpunished but was unable to specifically mention what form the punishment would be, the Hartford Courant reports.

“It’s unclear whether the student’s actions were racially motivated or if it was merely “horseplay,” Clouet said.

To make his stance on the matter even clear, Clouet told the newspaper this act should not be taken lightly and even if it was a joke for the student, the black visitor who got spat on might not see it as such.

“Far too often unkind acts in our world are excused because it was ‘only a joke. The individual who was spit on may not see it as a joke.

“I suspect it may have been more rude than racist. Not certain how the visitor to the museum on the receiving end of the act would perceive it.”

BuzzFeed News reported on the now-deleted tweet by the school’s principal that said the student did not spit to incite racial bias.

Principal Dina Marks wrote, “It was an act of stupidity, disinterest, & immaturity, completely inappropriate, but I believe not racially motivated against that person.”

Marks continued saying “that the students had returned to their hotel rooms after “an unfortunate incident. “Our kids are not bad people. We are all pretty sad tonight.”

An embarrassed president of the NAACP’s Ansonia Valley chapter, Greg Johnson, said the incident doesn’t reflect well on the entire state of Connecticut.

“He didn’t spit on anyone at the Washington Monument or the Lincoln Memorial,” an indication that his actions may not be innocent.

Johnson added that the student’s behaviour is “a total and complete lack of respect and one of the most degrading acts one can commit against another.”

In an email to the Valley Independent Sentinel, Johnson expressed gross displeasure in the school district’s operations.

He said, “I write this from a place of total disgust. Why are we here again?” Johnson asked.

“Not two weeks ago I said if acts of disrespect and hate towards Black students by White students are not addressed the hatred and disrespect will fester and grow worse . . . Guess what? This is pretty close to as bad as it gets.”

Shelton Mayor Mark Lauretti, in an interview with the Hartford Courant, said the community is more open to all races even though there had been isolated cases of racially motivated incidents.

“The community has become a lot more diverse in the last few years,” he doesn’t believe that has led to race-related problems. “I don’t think there’s a racial problem,” he said.

“These are isolated incidents that occur for a number of reasons. I’m not one to rush to judgment. “Sometimes I wonder if we’re giving credit to the progress we’ve made.”

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