EAST HAMPTON, Conn. – A Connecticut principal is siding with political correctness over school spirit by injecting race relations into a student chant.
Students at East Hampton High school have chanted “blue” and “white” – school colors – for years, but principal John Fidler thinks the word “white” could be construed as racist, so he posted a notice that the cheer is “under suspension,” WFSB reports.
Students, of course, immediately sounded off on social media.
“ … this stuff has me outraged they are trying to take a simple chant that our school has done for years and years,” Jordan Michnowicz posted to Facebook. “They are trying to make it about race.”
Student Brandon Kochuk pointed out that “the seniors all they say is white. They don’t say white power or anything involving race they are just saying white.”
Fidler thinks the word “white” alone is offensive to some folks.
“Given the current social climate across our country, our use of the ‘white’ cheer is under suspension,” he wrote in a notice ahead of the winter sports season. “Please show your pride in our town and in our school through other means when cheering on our teams.”
Students who spoke with WFSB think the order is ridiculous.
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“It’s not really that big of a deal to me or to any of our sophomore class,” Kylie O’Brien said. “I don’t understand why it’s a problem now.”
The East Hampton chant is a back and forth using the school colors: “We say blue, you say white! Blue! White! Blue! White!” and the senior class has shortened its portion to “White! White! White!” according to the news site.
East Hampton schools superintendent Paul Smith defended the “white” ban, though he contends it’s more of a suggestion than an enforceable edict.
“It’s kind of outgrown just being done in our gym and at pep rallies and there’s a time and a place where the cheer is appropriate and a time when it may appear insensitive,” he said. “In road games, we’re dressed in blue, and even though it’s still senior tradition to say white, white, white, over and over, I think the context is not understood by everybody.”
Smith dismissed the “suspension,” and claims Fidler merely wants East Hampton students and fans to “reflect.”
“He is not telling them what they can say and can’t say in the gym at the games,” Smith said. “He wants them to come out but he also wants them to reflect the positive things they do outside of the gym as well.”
Locals who commented online think school officials are making the issue into something it’s not.
“Now our society which allegedly has freedom of speech is trying to take away colors from our vocabulary, because some oversensitive people will only take the word out of context,” Red Fuller wrote. “Absolute nonsense.”
“Why should you change a chant or cheer that has been around for years and has no racial connotation just because a few people are too stupid to understand such simple context?” Blake Friel posted. “Why should the vast majority of people change the chants they know and love because of a few racist retards who can’t see anything past skin color? Those are the questions you should be asking.
“When one or two people can change the course of thousands, that is what will doom this great country of ours.”
“Fidler and Smith should be fired,” Scott Evans added. “They are obviously too stupid to have positions of authority.”