Trevor is a junior
at Westside High School in Omaha, Nebraska. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day
Trevor, along with a couple of friends, decided to orchestrate a campaign
that he be named the recipient of the “Distinguished African American Student
Award” for next year. In the best American political tradition, they printed
and plastered throughout the school about 150 posters showing a smiling Trevor
giving a thumbs up and encouraging votes for him. The award has been given
for eight years on Martin Luther King Jr. Day to a senior selected by teachers.
There was only one slight problem. Though Trevor was born and raised in Johannesburg,
South Africa, he is white. This apparently did not sit well with the powers-that-be
at Westside High School. In very short order, Trevor and his band of
merry men found themselves on the receiving end of disciplinary action. Though
the punishment of the other students has not been publicly disclosed, Trevor
himself was suspended for two days. This was his reward for publicly spoiling
the spirit of this inspiring award on no less than the holiest of the politically
I suppose an insignificant punishment for unsanctioned poster hanging may
have been in order but the resulting punishment was certainly out of proportion
to the crime. The students were not officially disciplined for the hanging
of the posters themselves but for the particular ideological message that
was contained on them.
Even more disturbing and serious was the punishment of another student for
circulating a petition the following day criticizing the practice of recognizing
only black student achievement with the award. This gallant expression
of grassroots activism was swiftly squashed by the now on-guard school administration
that was boiling at the audacity of mere teenagers hanging, as they put it,
“inappropriate and insensitive” posters in this culturally aware and enlightened
There is no law that says one has to be “appropriate and sensitive” (as defined
by who?) but the speech codes in public high schools and college campuses
are mercilessly used to strangle any suggestion of dissent of the policies
and ideologies of the Left.. Never mind that Trevor is more “African”
than any other student attending his high school and is probably more knowledgeable
of African culture than the other 1,842 students combined.
This incident only further reveals the idiocy of Balkanization, tribalism
and race-based activities, awards, and advocacy groups. Under the guise of
diversity and multiculturalism, true independent political thought and action
is subject to attack at the slightest provocation, as Trevor and his friends
found out the hard way. There is no room at the inn for the viewpoints
of conservatives, libertarians, Christians, or constitutionalists in the
public indoctrination system.
I was notified of this situation by a member of my small circle of friends
from college who keep in touch and relish the realm of ideological and political
discussion. Within a short time, we were responsible for a series of
critical e-mails descending upon the brave guardians of the Distinguished
(black) African American Student Award. My particular contribution
went something like this:
“I can hardly believe that a small group of Westside High
School students were disciplined for advocating that a white student from
South Africa receive the 'Distinguished African American Student Award' next
year. It would be laughable if it wasn't true.
"Since when is it punishable to be 'inappropriate and insensitive?'
Poor preparation for real life. In reality, these students made a good point.
I am proud of these young men for exposing the blatant racism, tribalism,
and idiocy of the Distinguished African American Student Award. As a public
school, maybe Westside High School should try teaching a little more reading,
writing, and arithmetic instead of wasting everyone's time hunting down those
who happen to hang a politically clever poster. Ideological censorship
and heavy-handed punishment for petty political acts should have no place
in our schools.
"Even more disturbing is the punishment of a student for circulating the
petition that criticized the practice of recognizing only black student achievement
with the award. Welcome to America and the right to disagree with the powers
that be. These children were logical, witty, and courageous to take on the
entrenched forces of Political Correctness. They should be praised for their
actions, not punished. Frankly, I am disgusted to see that this is even an
issue. Shame on you both collectively and individually for allowing this
type of incident to occur. These children deserve an immediate apology…”
Our small barrage of e-mails included some comments from my cohorts in common sense that are worth repeating.
"…The ham-handed, one-track liberalism that your administration
has clumsily used to club innocent students is a disgrace. That your teachers
and administrators are so single-minded and dim that they cannot even deal
with simple dissent from TEENAGERS, speaks poorly of those who are working
for your school. You should apologize to the students for abusing their trust,
and to the taxpayers of Nebraska for being unequal to the task of educating
And from another to the student’s social studies department:
students engage in real life lessons of civics and government, it is essential
that they do so with the knowledge that their Constitutional activities will
be backed by a member of the Social Studies department. Regardless of where
you stand on the Distinguished African American Student award, it is an outrage
that your department chose not to come to the aid of the petitioners. Moreover,
the inability of your institution to deal with any of the listed "offenses"
in a constructive way is an embarrassment. The kids deserve teachers that
support the activities that enhance life learning. Not teachers that hide
behind knee-jerk administrators with an ideological axe to grind on behalf
of the offended...”
Also included was the short and direct criticism. "What could you fools possibly
have been thinking? This is America!!! Or is it? You ought to be ashamed
of yourselves and quit education altogether…”
All good fun in support of a brave little group of free thinkers.
It is amazing that Martin Luther King Jr.’s brave dream of a colorblind society
has degenerated into divisive race-based awards jealously guarded by guilt-ridden
liberals and white apologists. Trevor and his fellow students deserve praise
for pointing out the obvious double standards of race-based policies.
David M. Huntwork is a conservative activist and freelance columnist in Northern Colorado. His columns may be read at http://dkhunt.tripod.com.