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Tay Tay Shaniqua, Crisphy Nanos, and Laquan White

June 26, 2008

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

Tel: (626) 966-8331 Fax: (626) 967-9580

After all, Charter Oak Unified School District supposedly has a commitment to excellence.

4 Comments
  1. Anna permalink
    June 27, 2008 8:12 pm

    Why were the cover-up stickers only given to the students in the picture in question? That means that all of the other students not involved will have in their possession yearbooks with an offensively captioned picture. Did the stickers cost too much? This I seriously doubt.

    This is really bad.

  2. Kitty Glendower permalink
    June 28, 2008 1:30 am

    Exactly. “here bitchez, you cover it up if you cannot take a little joke, while everyone else laugh and point at all the creative names assigned to you.”

  3. KuleAunt permalink
    July 2, 2008 5:34 pm

    Hi Kitty. It’s me, CoolAunt. I’d signed up with Google as CoolAunt some time ago but can’t remember the pw or even the e-mail address I used when I did it, which is also why I’ve not commented here before even though I read here regularly. Good blogging, btw.

    Anyway, I had to register again fo this one. I want to send a letter or fax but could use some help with the wording. So, if you or one of your readers wouldn’t mind sharing the text of the letter(s) that you/they sent so that I may use it as a base to start from, I’d really appreciate it. You should be able to see my e-mail address if you don’t want to share it publicly and would prefer to send it to me only.

    Incidentally, I vaguely recall hearing/seeing on the local news stories about similar year book “mistakes” at Dallas, Texas area high schools. As is usually the case, when enough outrage is voiced that it makes the school and its administration look bad, money is found to cover the reprint and the decision not to reprint is reversed. I’m hoping the same will happen for the kids at Charter Oak.

    Thanks for sharing with us, both the private and the public, via your blog posts, and keep on writing. 🙂

  4. Kitty Glendower permalink
    July 3, 2008 9:06 pm

    Hi Kule Aunt, I am not the best one to get results because after all of these years I still do not know how to leave the passion out of something, therefore I end up stinging the very person/people I’m trying to persuade. I notice with political letters people are so stale, but apparently that works. Basically I wrote what I wrote here. I said that a person’s name is who they are and to misspell, distort, or change is a big insult. Years from now when these seniors are showing the yearbook to their children it will not make their mom and dad look bad but the school and the authorities that condoned it. And it is condoning it, if it is not corrected. I’m sorry but I did not save the letter. I wrote, printed it out and mailed it. Because if I do not do something right away I usually end up not doing it at all.

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