The city of Cincinnati, Ohio, has been struggling with racial tensions, especially since 2001 when a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man named Timothy Thomas. Tensions heightened resulting in three days of demonstrations and rioting.
Unfortunately, on Friday, racial tension at a basketball game in Cincinnati proves there is still an uphill battle to fight in this city. At a basketball game between Elder High School and Saint Xavier High School, Elder students could be heard chanting racist and homophobic slurs. Three quarters of the way through the game was stopped.
Parents reported to the local news station WLWT5 that the words they heard targeted at their two students were horrific. According to WLWT:
‘One of their sons was faced with chants of “welfare” while the other heard “P.F. Chang’s.”
‘”I was sickened, just sickened,” Susan Stockman said.
‘Stockman is reeling from what she witnessed at her son’s basketball game Friday night.’
The shouts from the Elder student section were seen as deplorable. Susan Stockman, a parent whose son is a junior at Saint Xavier and one of the targets said:
‘They were relentless. It went as far as “Asian, open your eyes. Go play chess. P.F. Chang’s.”‘
Another parent, Mina Jefferson, heard the awful slurs too. She reported that her son was also targeted:
‘Very quickly, the cheers turned to what I phrased as microaggressions and racial slurs.’
‘She said students in that area yelled that her son was on crack and welfare.
‘She also said Elder’s student section yelled homophobic slurs at Saint X students when they chanted they were racists.
‘The parents said the slurs kept coming into the third quarter and even targeted Saint X’s coach until he finally stopped the game and confronted the referees.’
‘It’s surreal. I mean, you hear it and you assume someone’s going to act swiftly, seize the moment and let that be the lesson and that didn’t occur. So then you’re dealing with just an absence, a failure of leadership.’
Elder High School Principal Kurt Ruffing apologized for the events, and sternly told his students:
‘Look around you. You have students, your classmates, who are of different race, of different ethnicity, sitting right next to you. Is that how you would treat them?’
Stockman also said that this has happened in prior years, but not as loudly. She said:
‘We’re going to play them every year. We’re going to be back there. I just don’t want to hear it again. I don’t want to hear it.’
According to WLWT:
‘Ruffing said he will make sure it doesn’t continue.
‘He said one Elder High School student was escorted out of the game and those involved are being disciplined.
‘He also said seven or eight Elder students will be going to Saint X this week to have lunch with students there.
‘Ruffing called it an opportunity for the Elder students to sit down with Saint X students, talk about what happened and apologize.’
The school is also changing how the cheer section will be handled in the future, and will go as far to say what cheers the students are allowed to use, who sits in certain areas, and what the consequences will be for violating those rules.
Principals of both schools released statements condemning the actions.
Featured image via WCPO