This is Chelsey Ramer.
(Photo from WPMI-TV.) Ramer is 17 years old and attending Escambia Academy in the state of Alabama. She did great and was all set to graduate on May 23 this year.
Some of you are probably wondering what the deal is with the red circle in the picture. Boy, is that
a funny story!
Ramer is a Native American. Specifically, she is a member of the Poarch Creek Band of Indians. She told her headmaster that, when she walked out to get her diploma on Graduation Day, she wanted to do so with an eagle feather hanging from her tassel in a nod to her Native American heritage. The headmaster, Betty Warren, just about shit and warned her that would not be a good idea. Well, fuck you, Establishment! Ramer did just that, walking out to accept her diploma with the lone feather in her tassel.
Escambia Academy is now holding Ramer's diploma and transcripts hostage. They will not be released to her until she pays a $1,000
fine for violating the school dress code -- specifically, the part that forbids "extraneous items during graduation exercises unless approved by the administration."
Ramer has paid the fine and said, "It was worth every penny of the thousand dollars. This is what I've been waiting on, and I feel like I have a right to wear it." She also said the situation felt like "discrimination."
And I say she's right.
Folks, I believe what we have here is good old fashioned racism. She wasn't wearing a shirt that said, "FUCK THE POLICE!" or anything like that. She was wearing a feather, an expression of her cultural identity. Other expressions of cultural identity are allowed just fine.
Really? Like what?
Like, for example, there is no ban on students sporting afro haircuts. The afro was originally a statement of racial identity, that black people didn't have to conform to societal standards. It's an expression of cultural support, just like that lone eagle feather. There is NO reason that feather couldn't have been approved beforehand. Why single that out? Could it be because, had they done something like that to a black student, the entire USA would have been down their throats about racism, but Native Americans don't have that kind of clout? Hmm...maybe....
With the last election, white people were bemoaning that they were no longer the majority of Americans. According to census data, a little over half the population is now non-white. But while whites may technically be a minority now, the practicality is, we are not. It is still a white-dominated society. Need proof? Look at cable TV. Whites have Spike TV and all kinds of networks showing programming that appeals directly to them. Blacks have ONE network, BET. Have you noticed how light skinned a lot of Latinos look on network TV shows? I have. Have you noticed how Beyonce, whenever she's on the cover of a fashion magazine, looks more like a very tan woman instead of a black woman? I have. Have you noticed that strip clubs, even if they have a sizable black clientele and black dancers, will not play hip hop and focus on rock, pop, and techno? I have. The world still caters to white peoples' interests. We whites still control the dice.
This isn't a question of political correctness, but just simple courtesy. We lose nothing and gain much by letting people be who they are. The school should give Ramer back her $1,000, get their kneepads on, and start kissing her ass while begging forgiveness.
And good on you, Ramer, for staying true to yourself. The world needs more like you.