My son, a 15-year-old 10th-grader at Miami Palmetto High School, is Student Council president and a player on the school’s lacrosse team. He is also of mixed race, I being black and from Haiti, my wife being of Cuban descent.
I’ve always worked hard to ensure that my children show respect for others. I’ve also always taught them to speak their mind so there is never any doubt as to their intentions or the message they are trying to convey.
Recently, other members of the lacrosse team were engaged in making racial slurs and offensive comments via a group chat. My son was visibly affected by the posts and responded to the group with strongly worded comments of his own. The response was an appropriate one, and it should have ended there.
Not everyone, however, thinks the way I do, and a fellow student took it upon themselves to post the group chat to their Twitter account, causing a racial uproar.
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Hatred will only fuel hatred, so to the young lady and the others who have been criticizing my son on Twitter for not being radical or black enough must look within themselves and identify their flaws. It is never OK to discriminate against someone based on race, gender or ethnicity. There is, however, a better way to approach the problem than through a constant barrage of negative comments on social media.
Many of us have been exposed to racial discrimination in this country. It’s alive and well, but the current discourse on social media only serves to fuel hatred for one another and further divide us.
I haven’t raised my sons to approach everyone who is different with a suspicious eye. I've taught them to embrace those differences and to learn from them. Work hard to fix them and try to spread a more positive message. Our society will invariably be better off and those around them will treat them with the respect they deserve.
Clifford C. Chevallier,