Do Racist Remarks Equate to Racism?
When I think of the words, “viral video,” some things that instantly come to mind are people singing and dancing, rants, or outrageous challenges that average people would never try to attempt. I mean, let’s face it. These days, people will do just about anything in order to rake in a ton of views and money…even if it lands them in a hospital bed. I thought I saw all of the most shocking things these videos had to offer in 2015, but little did I know that I was going to be shocked yet again on May 9th of the same year.
On this day, my mom frantically informed me that there was a breaking news story about TNT Academy, which is a private accredited school in Stone Mountain, Georgia. I rushed to the TV and my eyes were glued to the screen. I had no idea what was going on, but I automatically thought to myself, “I guess TNT Academy is getting recognized for its efforts.” Imagine my surprise when I saw this clip of what unfolded at a graduation held on May 8, 2015:
OH…MY…GOSH! What a shocker this was! Hearing the mind-rattling statement that escaped from Principal Nancy Gordeuk’s mouth left me with wide eyes and a lowered jaw. While it was disturbing that a racial comment emerged at what was supposed to be a happy occasion for high school graduates, this news story mostly caught my attention because I graduated from TNT Academy four years earlier.
After collecting myself, I finally managed to tell my mom, “I can’t believe Mrs. Nancy said that! That just doesn’t seem like her.” For weeks, I heard people referring to Mrs. Nancy as a racist, a sorry excuse for an educator, and many other insulting things that I will not repeat. Her comments soon led to furious parents demanding for her removal from the school, which quickly became a reality and this story eventually died off.
Mrs. Nancy is definitely a person who is still resented by many people today. However, I have always had a different take on this event. Even though Mrs. Nancy’s words were uncalled for and very upsetting, I never have (and still don’t) think of her as a racist person. Now, before you get ready to slice me with vicious words, hear me out first.
Whenever my mother and I conversed with Mrs. Nancy, she was always a pleasant person to be around. She was very kind, approachable, and we could easily see the passion she had for helping students achieve their goals. I understand that many people can put on a mask and make you believe it’s their true identity, but I strongly feel like Mrs. Nancy has always shown a genuine attitude towards others.
I’m sure everyone who is reading this can relate to saying or doing something in the heat of the moment. We sometimes allow our anger to get the best of us and end up doing something that we can’t easily take back. As the former founder and principal of this school, Mrs. Nancy carried a lot of responsibilities to make sure that everything was done accordingly. You have to admit—that’s pretty stressful for anyone to deal with. Trying to remember everything that needed to be done resulted in her forgetting to allow the Valedictorian to give his speech and led to her releasing all of that bottled up frustration she was carrying inside.
I want to make it clear that I am NOT saying this excuses what Mrs. Nancy did. It would be foolish of me to imply such a thing. My reason for sharing my take on this is to provide a different way of viewing the situation since it was one-sided ever since the story first broke. Racism is still alive (despite the fact many argue that it’s not) and we see racists constantly showing their true colors in schools, organizations, jobs, and don’t get me started on the constant misuse of force that continues to appear on our TV screens. I have zero tolerance for racism because I was taught that color doesn’t determine one’s personality or their abilities. I can honestly say that I have come across a good sum of racist people in my life who pretended to be nice, but ended up showing their true colors at some point. I am mostly right when it comes to picking up a person’s vibes, and I don’t feel like Mrs. Nancy was trying to be racist on purpose.
Do I feel like Mrs. Nancy was treated fairly? Well…whether you intended to say something or not, you still have to face the consequences. So I understand why many parents felt that it was best if she was removed from the school. Do I believe that Mrs. Nancy deserves another chance? Absolutely. I don’t know if she’s currently working, but if she’s not and wishes to find work, I feel that she should have a fair chance to show others that she is not the person the media has portrayed her to be. I know many people are going to disagree with what I have to say. But I ask that you please be respectful if you choose to comment or share this post with others. Everyone is entitled to their opinion….this is mine.
About the author:
Naomi Stamps is a senior at the University of Georgia, who is majoring in English. She enjoys writing stories, poems, and articles that all have thoughtful messages for any reader to benefit from. She looks forward to graduating soon and becoming a successful writer one day.
Editor’s note: this event is one example of a remark being made that was taken as racist as soon as it was spoken. The hopes of publishing this story with this author’s opinion is to form a dialogue with our readers and, hopefully, expand that dialogue beyond our viewership. Racist remarks are made every day. Does making these remarks mean a person is inherently racist, or is it just an unjustifiable act/statement they made? Whatever the case may be, whatever your opinion may be, there is no place for derogatory remarks pertaining to the color of one’s skin in this society, regardless of if that person truly is a racist. It is always in good practice to remember: “You cannot recover the word after it is said.”