Volume XI, Issue 18 ~ May 1-7, 2003

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Hatred at South River High

The arrest of four students for hate crimes at South River High School is a positive step after a series of deplorable incidents that casts all of Chesapeake Country in a shameful light.

Spray-painting of racial epithets and swastikas around the school recently were the latest evidence of simmering prejudices that periodically erupt like a boil on the body.

The easiest path sometimes to look away when evil shows up or to say something like, “It was just a few kids.”

Those of us who live in the southern reaches of Anne Arundel County have known for years about a pocket of festering hatred in the Edgewater area.

Our aim today is not to dig into the history of deplorable incidents but to assert our belief that we always must point the finger at evil and do our best to find remedies.

Saddam Hussein’s brutality seemed to us the only unassailable reason for the recent war that cost American lives. In truth, racism is a type of brutality, too, one that diminishes lives by humiliating people and, as occurred at South River, threatening their lives.

Racism also diminishes schools, which should be sanctuaries from society’s ills and our one sure place to promote diversity and to strengthen the academic and athletic ties that bind us together.

School officials appear to understand the gravity of racial unrest. A committee of teachers and students was set up last fall to talk about the problem. Student ambassadors spread a message of harmony, and there’s talk of taking the message to middle and even elementary schools that feed students to South River.

Unfortunately, students in the high school’s four-percent African American minority are still belittled and pelted by name-calling. We’re troubled, too, when we read of administrators or board members seemingly unwilling to be clear and strong in denouncing racial hatred.

Let’s not forget with the Iraqi war still in the air that Americans fought to lift a people from oppression. When we see the oppression of racism in our own country, we should remember that it springs from the same dark place in the heart and that we must do all we can to halt its spread.



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Last updated May 1, 2003 @ 2:57am