Skip to comments.Arizona school's 'Redneck Day' sparks anger
Posted on 05/02/2013 11:26:58 AM PDT by BO Stinkss
PHOENIX -- When members of the student council at an Arizona high school organized a schoolwide "Redneck Day" and encouraged classmates to dress and spoof accordingly, they hoped to build school spirit leading up to prom week.
Instead, "Redneck Day" at Queen Creek High School has angered African-Americans and civil-rights leaders and touched off a debate about free speech, social stereotypes and good taste.
Tom Lindsey, superintendent of the Queen Creek Unified School District, said the only intent of Wednesday's event was to satirize the A&E reality TV show "Duck Dynasty," which follows a family of duck hunters and entrepreneurs from West Monroe, La.
But some students and their family members weren't amused. Among them: the Rev. Ozetta Kirby, pastor of Holy Trinity Community AME Church in Mesa and vice president of the East Valley chapter of the NAACP.
"I'm sitting here crying and praying," said Kirby, whose grandson Marcus Still is a 16-year-old junior at the school.
"This thing really got to Marcus," Kirby said. "When you're in 11th grade, that can break you down and make you feel at the bottom rung of the whole society, where everybody is being jubilant. No kid should have to go through that. We all know the connotation of 'redneck.' "
Most offensive to Kirby and others was that one student chose to wear a Confederate flag for many a grim reminder of slavery and segregation.
"The Confederacy represents the horrible institution of slavery, and that is a direct attack on African-Americans," said Steve Montoya, a prominent civil-rights attorney in Phoenix.
The Rev. Oscar Tillman, president of the Maricopa County NAACP, who grew up in the 1940s in the South, said: "Our community knows what that flag represents. ... A school is supposed to be for education and showing people where we come from, our history, and to try not to go back to some things."
Lindsey said the student wearing the Confederate flag was pulled aside by an assistant principal and asked to change his clothes.
"It was no ill intent," Lindsey said.
The student, who is from a state where the flag is more prevalent, did not see a negative connotation, the superintendent said.
"It was explained to him that in Arizona, we look at it differently," Lindsey said, adding that Redneck Day was mostly uneventful.
"We apologize to any people who, because of the word (redneck), were offended," Lindsey said.
Maureen Costello, director of the Teaching Tolerance program at the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., said schools would do well to adopt the slogan of physicians: Do no harm.
"Do no harm to a student's sense of identity," she said. "Everyone should feel welcome."
Costello said she understands that Redneck Day was intended to bolster students' sense of feeling good about school but said "they've chosen an event that stereotypes an entire group of people, and under those circumstances, they should hardly be surprised that they also offend people."
She said a student wearing a Confederate flag could easily argue that he's "playing a role, and he doesn't mean it."
"But the flag is a very potent symbol," Costello said, "and the school facilitated that."
Costello said the school should do two things: "Open up a dialogue about why this was so offensive to some people, and second, to really start thinking through the kinds of events they sponsor to build school spirit."
She added that probably some students' families can be traced to the Appalachians, and "maybe they don't feel so great about being called rednecks."
Costello predicted that some who objected will be told they are too sensitive.
"I think every one of us hates it when we're told, 'Don't feel that way,'" she said. "But they are honestly offended by it. It reflects a very bad chapter in their personal or cultural experience. That needs to be acknowledged, discussed and accepted."
For his part, attorney Montoya said students have a First Amendment right to wear a Confederate flag and engage in free speech.
But he warned that the line between free speech and harassment is easily breached and said a district could be held liable for allowing a racially hostile education environment.
"Those schools are paid for by everyone, including African-Americans and other minorities, and they have the right to attend school free of harassment," Montoya said.
Montoya won a case more than a decade ago when he sued Tempe Union High School District on behalf of an African-American girl who had asked to read a text other than "Huckleberry Finn," which contains numerous instances of a racial slur.
Her request was denied, and students in Tempe began to use that book as a vehicle to racially harass the girl, Montoya said.
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Montoya's client. He said it was the first case in the country to recognize a claim under federal civil-rights laws for a racially hostile educational environment.
"I wish the administrators good luck," Montoya said of Queen Creek school officials. "They have tough jobs."
This week in Kent, Wash., Sunnycrest Elementary School had scheduled "White Trash Wednesday," in which barbecue would be served on trash-can lids. The event was canceled Tuesday after parents objected.
Now Redneck Day?
I think it would offend too many white people.
It would offend all of those white people whose favorite white historical figure was omitted (there are just too many worthy individuals to count).
Not to mention all of those limousine white Liberals who know that every great historical white figure was racist, homophobe who should have been shot for his thought crimes.
“There is a REDNECK AVE in a nearby town “
We had a local road called “HNIC Lane”. Some of you older vets here on FR will now what that stands for. The sole black man that lived at the end of HNIC Lane was the one that named it that! But someone got offended so the name was changed.
See post 21. A school did just that.
Didn’t work either.
Anybody remember the U of N. Colorado, Fighting Whities? I thought this was going to be all about how an intended insult to Americans of European heritage were going all in for another attempted dig. Instead, we have the NAALCP hyperventilating.
“... A school is supposed to be for education and showing people where we come from, our history...”
Whether you like it or not, that Confederate flag IS a part of our history...To ban it is an attempt to rewrite or change history...something that liberals are well known for....
No doubt “Cracker Day” would have been much more acceptable.
Don’t worry. Next MLK day, the white kids can show up in black-face.
In solidarity, of course.
I’ll bet that if they called it “Muslim Day” they would be lauded for their “diversity”.
A ‘’conservative’’ who flies a flag associated with Southern Democrats.Interesting. The flag that was attacked on Dec. 7,1941 and Sept.11,2001 sure as hell wasn’t The Stars and Bars. It sure as hell wasn’t the flag being raised on top of Mt. Surabachi and it sure as hell isn’t the one our men and women are serving under today.
I fly it right under Old Glory and by my Texas flag. My family tree is southerners from way back. I also fly The USMC flag.
but we certainly can't have "Redskins" as a football name, and we can't have any more "Aunt Jemimas" and we certainly can't offend the muzlems....
What is really funny is when people from outside the south come down and you see them in southern restaurants with their jaws stuffed with BBQ, biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, pork chops, cornbread...*LOL*
A Redneck was simply an honest, hardworking, sunup until sundown farmer with a permanently sunburned neck from tolling in the fields all his life.
Of course we learn that is not true any more. Leave it to the Liberal Socialists to relabel this innocuous term for my beloved antecedents into a pejorative image of hate against Conservative values.
Perhaps Anglo-American Necks or Necks of Color would have been more acceptable.
God, Country, Corps, Family, and Self
Interesting. My Mississippi history textbook talked about rednecks. They were loyal to the Union. But maybe that’s not taught anymore. Maybe my memory is faulty. Maybe there’s a lot of ignorance floatin’ around.
“Redneck” is an offensive stereotype against whites. But go ahead and have a day for it. Actually why not call it “white person day” to be more inclusive and everyone can dress like dumb white people? I am sure that would make everyone happier.
Back in college had a “zoo” fraternity (think Animal House)
Dressed up as KKK for Halloween
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