Tay Tay Shaniqua, Crisphy Nanos, and Laquan White
Members of the Black Student Union at Charter Oak High School were shocked to discover that their names listed beside their group photo were changed in the 2008 Chronicle, —their yearbook. Some say it was a prank. Los Angeles’ KNBC Channel 4 news reported, Yearbook editor Gavin Kelton saying that “the incorrect captions were not meant to be printed. ‘I think it was one of those nights he was pulling an all-nighter and he didn’t have the names correctly, so he put it in there as a place holder. Sadly they got printed.’” Apparently, he/she sent the final copy to print before changing or forgetting to change the “ghetto names” to the students real names. When I do not have a name, place, title, or some other information for something I am writing about I usually write xxxxxxxx, so when I am editing it will remind me that I have yet to find what I need. Instead of something generic and eye catching as xxxxxxx’s the year book member decided to substitute the names of the members of the Black Student Union with stereotypical loaded and coded names such as “Tay Tay Shaniqua,” “Crisphy Nanos” and “Laquan White.” Could someone please tell me about the Crisphy Nanos. I so don’t get that name.
One of the Black Student Union members, Jordan Smith (pictured) expressed her frustration with, “someone was just trying to be funny but it’s not funny.” I only wish she would not have called the substituted names, “ghetto names.” Nevertheless, it goes to show the destruction and division and distancing oneself from another other that racism causes.
Ironically, the yearbook has a two page section titled “Labeling” in an attempt to discourage stereotypes and to supposedly teach others to be kind and compassion toward all students. Obviously, the junior yearbook staff member was not responsible for that section of the yearbook or did not care. Actually, this incident can be an object lesson on how PSAs, without context or experience, are often ignored by people who are not traditionally the victims of racism, the very people who need to learn the lesson that is being taught.
To add insult to injury instead of offering to reprint the yearbooks, the victims were given stickers to cover up their assigned “ghetto name.” “School Board President Joseph M. Probst said Wednesday that ‘appropriate actions will be taken.’ Probst said he did not know the gender or race of the student who changed the names, but he did know the student will be a senior next year…The students whose names were changed were given stickers with the correct names to be placed over the error in their books. ‘What else can you do?’ asked Probst. ‘It would be nice to snap a magic finger, but I think it was incredibly well done.’” Don’t you just love how he calls it an error, like it was simply a typo and how he claims the solution was incredibly well done. WTF?
Well, if the School Board President thinks it takes magic to remedy the situation I have to wonder what rock he has been living under. He thinks a sticker is adequate. I say no deal.
I’m asking that everyone who read this entry consider sending a letter, a fax or call the school district demanding that the yearbooks are reprinted, and not at the student’s expense. Please. These kids have stayed in school, worked hard; they deserve a yearbook that is not soiled by an insensitive and more than likely, privileged jerk.
Charter Oak Unified School District
A Commitment to Excellence
20240 E. Cienega Avenue
Covina, CA 91724