I don't ever remember New Jersey being a part of the Confederacy, but lo, and behold, a group of teenagers from Sewell, NJ are being punished for choosing to wear the Confederate flag. In addition to their choice of clothing, they also showered fellow black students with racial slurs.
According to NJ.com, Gloucester County Institute of Technology began Spirit Week on Nov. 1. One day of the week was scheduled to be "America Day” in which students were supposed to wear red, white and blue. However, several students decided to hold a silent protest, instead, wearing black to protest the racism and demand equality at their school. The protest stirred controversy on social media as some students criticized it for drawing attention away from Spirit Week.
The school's African American Culture Club sent a statement to local NAACP chapter president Loretta Winters saying that they "were as a whole frustrated and fed up" with dealing with past racial incidents.
"We the students came together and made the decision of wearing black to silently protest what is happening, to demand equality and fairness as an American, and to unite together as one," the statement says.
The students in the AACC gathered screenshots of other students' social media posts criticizing the protests, along with reports of racist comments made in the school in response. Many black students were called derogatory names such as the N-word and were told to “go back to Africa.”
The superintendent has since met with Winters about the incident and a move for change. Winters said school officials made a commitment to racial equity at the meeting and hopes that students who wore the Confederate flag can grow to understand why it may upset black classmates. Although I'm sure they know exactly why it would upset them, the AACC still met with students who wore the flag to exchange perspectives.
"The Confederate flag is to the black community as the Swastika is to the Jewish community," Winters said. "It's the flag used by the KKK, and they're a terrorist group," she said. "People need to be educated on what the Confederate flag stands for and what it means. ... How do you support that? How do you support any terrorist group?"