Video captures student hurling racist slurs at Black basketball player, victim’s mom demands action



The student was heard calling the player the n-word, making references to enslaved people, and shouting “Chain him up,” “Who let him out of his chains,” and “He’s a monkey,” among other hate-filled and racist taunts. 

According to the Los Angeles Times, the offending student, who attends Laguna Hills High School, was counseled and disciplined, and students who witnessed the incident were told to “redirect such language,” whatever the hell that means.

But the player’s mother, Sabrina Brown, wants more than flaccid apologies from the superintendent of the Saddleback Valley Unified School District, Crystal Turner.

On Tuesday, Brown told the Irvine City Council that the Laguna Hills basketball program was promoting “a culture of aggression, unsportsmanlike conduct, and RACISM,” and someone needs to put an end to it. 

“You may believe that this is an isolated incident and would like to put this behind you, but we don’t have that option. The color of our skin does not allow us that option,” Brown said. “My family was guarded, uneasy, and on alert well before the video surfaced,” she told the City Council, adding that any punishment afforded to the student “won’t change the vile things that he felt comfortable enough to say—the vile things that were created by the culture at Laguna Hills, and made my family feel unsafe even before stepping foot into the game Friday night.”

Brown’s son Makai told NBC Los Angeles that even though the video captured the slurs while he was shooting a free throw, the torrent of epithets took place throughout the game. 

“Every time that I touched the ball, every time something happened with me around, you could hear them saying some sort of remarks toward me,” he said. 

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer called the remarks from the Laguna Hills High School “despicable,” adding, “The fact that a child felt comfortable enough to spew racial epithets at another child in a crowded basketball gym demonstrates we have much more work to do in educating our children—and parents.” 

Spitzer said he would not consider the incident a hate crime. 


Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan wrote on Twitter that the response from the Saddleback Valley Unified School District is “not good enough.”

“I will be sending out a letter demanding more,” she wrote. “I want to see action taken that sends a clear message to everyone that there are serious consequences to hate and racist speech. No mother should be brought to tears about the way her child is bullied.”

Irvine has 307,000 residents, but only about 1.7% are Black. Laguna Hills has about 31,000 residents, and only 1.5% are Black, according to the U.S. Census.

Brown’s high school had 18 Black students out of 1,539 enrolled in 2020-2021, and Laguna Hills High had about 10 Black students out of 1,462 in 2021, the California Department of Education reports.

In 2018, Democrats successfully flipped four House seats in the OC, turning the county entirely Democratic for the first time ever. But in 2020, Democrats ceded two of those seats back to the Republicans even as former President Donald Trump lost both the OC and the state.

Again, the OC has a long history of racism and conservatism. It’s both the birthplace (and resting place) of Richard M. Nixon, the breeding ground of the right-wing John Birch Society, and former President Ronald Reagan counted on the region for his base. Today, it reflects the division in the nation in many ways as the old guard is forced to make way for more color and the new face of the nation. 

A report in 2020 by the nonprofit Orange County Human Relations Commission found that hate crimes in the OC jumped 35%.

At Newport Harbor High in Newport Beach during a game with Pacifica High in Garden Grove, photos and video flooded the internet when students formed swastikas with red plastic cups and began throwing up Sieg Heil gestures during the game. 

And in September, during a football game between Yorba Linda High School and Esperanza High School, a student from Yorba Linda held up a sign reading “ur dad is my GARDENER.” 

Esperanza’s student body is 37% Latino, according to the school’s website. 

“There’s a lot of monolithic communities, and we’re still fairly well-segregated,” Orange County Human Relations Chief Executive Alison Lehmann Edwards tells the Times.  “There’s increasingly less opportunity to interact with people, and it’s easy to choose not to as well.”

Lehmann tells the Times that OC parents have shown up in droves recently to battle against educators teaching kids about systemic racism—wrongly calling it critical race theory (CRT)—but rarely show up when incidents such as the recent basketball game happen to call out racism. 


Source link