(Updated 12/14/2016) I am concerned that in the year 2016 in a County where Mr. Jim Rouse spent his entire life trying to build communities that fostered inclusivity and diversity for so many years, there seems to be a problem in some of the Howard County schools.
I thought that the vision for Howard County was for all races of people to be able to come together and talk, play, eat, fellowship, compete, and worship. Maybe I missed something. There still seems to be an attitude amongst some people and students that certain kinds/colors of people are not welcome.
To this day, there are people that I speak to and they look at me as if I do not exist. To be completely transparent, there are others who do speak and treat me fairly. Recently, the Howard County Sheriff was forced to step down because of the racist comments he was said to have uttered.
Now I am hearing from social media that an Atholton High School student said that “I am finally a nigger” and had her face painted black. Another student from River Hill High School allegedly said, “I’m about to shoot some niggers”. These are just two instances and I am wondering if there are more. Why aren’t the leaders in the County talking about this publicly?
Why isn’t the Superintendent talking about this publicly? All of our students should be going to school to get an education and to blaze a path of greatness as well as set examples for the students coming behind them. But, the adults should also be setting examples and when something is wrong, we have to say publicly that it is wrong.
There should be sanctions against students when they are found to have done something or said something so egregious as what was said. In Many instances, words can hurt more than a gunshot or a knife wound. It permeates the subconscious thoughts of those that the epithet was levelled against. Some students focus on what was said and why, instead of focusing on their assignments and making good grades.
Is this learned behavior where some students have heard these horrible names at their own homes and just repeated what they heard or were these instances just a moment in time where they said something they wished they had never uttered. A long time ago I remember the statement, “out of the heart the mouth speaks”.
A part of Black History speaks to many heinous events perpetrated against a people that helped build this great country and many nasty words spoken solely based on the color of one’s skin. If the Howard County School system is really a great school system, I hope that the powers that be are addressing these acts of disrespect, humility and finding the kind of punishment that will cause others to never utter the foul expletive ever again. It has no place in our society and especially has no place in a progressive community.
As a new President prepares to take office, all of us must look deeply inside ourselves and examine how we feel about race. In the year 2016, it still seems to be the elephant in the room. I am sure that Mr. Jim Rouse did not build this community with the thought that different races would overtly display their angst and hatred in words against another race. In conclusion, the parents bear some responsibility in these matters.
If you have children, please have discussions about the importance of treating others the way you want to be treated. It doesn’t cost anything to treat each other with dignity and respect. You don’t have to invite me into your home to treat me with dignity and respect. You never have to invite me out to eat to show common courtesy. I believe that there should be a class taught regarding respecting one another and how words can really hurt.
No man is an island and no man stands alone. We all need each other and I sincerely hope that the Howard County School system will create severe sanctions for this kind of behavior so that it never happens again. This behavior is unacceptable! When something is good we should say that it is good but when something is bad, we should not put our heads in the sand.
Cameron Miles is the Founder and Executive Director of ‘Mentoring Male Teens in the Hood’