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racism

The Preussen Munster square off against the Würzburger Kickers

As a soccer match between German teams Preussen Munster and Würzburger Kickers went into its final minutes, a defender from the Kickers, 23-year-old Leroy Kwadwo, stopped to point out a problem in the stands.

A Munster fan was making monkey noises at Kwadwo, a black player of Ghanaian descent. It was a clearly racist heckling—an issue that has publicly plagued the international sport in various venues, even as recently as last week. But this time, the response from the crowd far outshined the racist in the stands.



First, the man was quickly identified by his fellow Munster fans and ejected from the game. While stewards escorted him from the stadium, the crowd chanted, "Nazis out! Nazis out!"

Some fans also stood and applauded Kwadwo and the player received supportive pats on the back from opposing team members as well.

This is how it's done, folks.

Kwadwo thanked fans via social media the next day for their "exemplary" reaction, the Associated Press reported:

"I was racially abused by one single spectator. It just makes me sad. I indeed have a different skin color, but I was born here in this wonderful land that has given my family and I so much and made so much possible. I am one of you. I live here and can live my calling as a professional with the Würzburger Kickers.

Something like yesterday just makes me sad and angry because everyone has to know, racism does not belong in OUR world. We all have the opportunity to oppose it and stop it if it happens."

Munster said it would seek to ban the racist fan from all German stadiums for three years, which is the toughest sanction the sport itself can implement. However, the man also faces legal consequences and is being charged with incitement.

"As repulsive as the monkey noises against the player were, the subsequent response from the rest of the spectators were so impressive," the Preussen team said in a statement.

According to CNN, Preussen Munster president Christoph Strasser said of the heckling: "It is not something that belongs on the soccer field and certainly not in our stadium. We don't want and need people like that here. We clearly distance ourselves from such statements and I apologized to the Würzburgers immediately after the game."

If we have to live with nasty racists in our midst, it's at least encouraging to see a huge crowd reject it with such immediacy and fervor. Nazis out, indeed.


This article originally appeared on 3.1.23

Education

A teen student delivered a masterclass on the true history of the Confederate flag

Christopher Justice broke it down into incredible details most of us probably weren't even aware of.

Six years ago, a high school student named Christopher Justice eloquently explained the multiple problems with flying the Confederate flag. A video clip of Justice's truth bomb has made the viral rounds a few times since then, and here it is once again getting the attention it deserves.

Justice doesn't just explain why the flag is seen as a symbol of racism. He also explains the history of when the flag originated and why flying a Confederate flag makes no sense for people who claim to be loyal Americans.

But that clip, as great as it is, is a small part of the whole story. Knowing how the discussion came about and seeing the full debate in context is even more impressive.



In 2015, a student at Shawnee Mission East High School outside of Kansas City came up with the idea to have student journalists document students engaging in open discussions about various topics. In support of this idea, history teacher David Muhammad helped arrange a debate about the use of the Confederate flag in American society in his classroom.

According to the Shawnee Mission Post, Muhammad had prepared a basic outline and some basic guiding questions for the discussion, but mainly let the students debate freely. And the result was one of the most interesting debates about the Confederate flag you'll ever see—one that both reflects the perspectives in American society at large and serves as an example of how to hold a respectful conversation on a controversial topic.

The full discussion is definitely worth a watch. Justice had quite a few Confederacy defenders to contend with, and he skillfully responded to each point with facts and logic. Other students also chimed in, and the discussion is wildly familiar to anyone who has engaged in debate on this topic. For his part, Mr. Muhammad did an excellent job of guiding the students through the debate.

"I had Chris in class, so I knew he was super intelligent and that he read a lot," Muhammad told the Shawnee Mission Post in 2018. "But that really came out of left-field. He was never out there very much socially, so I didn't expect for him to want to speak in front of a crowd like that."

(In case you're wondering, according to LinkedIn, Christopher Justice is now studying political science at Wichita State University after switching his major from sports management. David Muhammad is now Dean of Students at Pembroke Middle School and also serves as a Diversity Consultant.)

Thanks, SM East, for documenting and sharing such a great discussion.


This article originally appeared on 08.05.21

Joy

Wholesome exchange between a Black woman a white man is giving people faith in humanity

A woman named Jo'lee Shine expected the worst when a white man approached her overheated vehicle, but his kindness brought her to tears.

@realbillygotti/Instagram

We need more moments like these.


Of course, racism and hatred are very real issues, and ones that we must discuss in order to make progress. But with all the coverage of people behaving badly flooding our awareness through the media and online, it can be easy to write-off humanity entirely. To believe that the world is inherently a divisive, dangerous and ultimately declining place to live. When in reality, not everything is so bleak.

That’s what makes sharing this story so important.

A Black woman named Jo'lee Shine was stuck in her overheated car in front of a stranger's house, waiting for a tow truck to arrive.

When a white man, the homeowner, began approaching her, Jo'lee immediately started recording the interaction. And thank goodness she did, because this was a moment worth immortalizing.


“I'm so sorry, my car ran hot,” she says in the clip, and begins trying to start the car to prove her situation.

And then, in the sweetest southern accent you ever heard, we hear “don’t try to crank it baby.”

When then hear him offer to put water in the car, made sure Jo'lee had coming to pick her up, and then…wait for it…asked if she wanted lunch.

"We’ll be eating lunch shortly. While we wait on [the tow truck] if we get everything set up I’ll come get you and we’ll have dinner,” he says.

This brings Jo’lee to instant tears. “That was so sweet,” she whimpers.

With a chuckle, the man replies, “that’s the way we are.” he then shared how he just had 22 people over at his house the night before for “a family gathering.”

Jo’lee declines the lunch offer, but profusely thanks the kind stranger as she wipes the tears that continue to fall. Just before he goes, the man says that he’ll check back in, joking that the tow truck “might be delayed” and she might change her mind.

In her caption, Jo’lee wrote, “I wasn’t going to post this, but I wanted people to know that they’re still good people in this world.”

Seems like that mission was accomplished. The video, which has gotten over 176,000 likes on Instagram, gave everyone a little dose of hope. Just take a look at some of these lovely comments:

“This is who we are...it sucks that movies have put fear in people to that level. That makes me sad that there's fear and division keeping us all from sharing love that I KNOW is in all of us.”

“The media works to divide us, don't believe their lies. We love all people.. God Bless.”

"I'll come get you when we get dinner on the table?!!" ❤️🩹❤️🩹❤️🩹🔥🔥🔥🔥🙌🙌”

“The way he called you baby without a mean tone in his soul.”

“This renews my faith in humanity. He tried to help her without any thought of race.”

“Just when we think humanity has died, this happens ♥️. Human kindness for the win.”

Indeed, the world has its’ Karens…and even worse characters. But it also has people who invite strangers to dinner, just because it’s a nice thing to do…because it’s the “way they are.” It’s the way a lot of us are, when we let ourselves be.

Gerod Roth's racist Facebook post.


Gerod Roth posted a photo of himself with a coworker's child last month.

And while it might not be immediately obvious why this was such a mistake, well ... let me tell you.

The initial photo, screencapped and tweeted above by Twitter user Dr. X, is seemingly adorable. But the comments and Roth's intent soon turned rather ugly.


Roth had snapped the pic of his coworker's 3-year-old son, Cayden, without his coworker's permission (already an incredibly uncool thing to do) and proceeded to use it as his profile picture.

After it was posted online, his Facebook friends filled the photo's comment section with hurtful, racist "jokes":

"I didn't know you were a slave owner."

"Dude where the hell did you get a black kid??"

"Kunta Kinte."

"But Massuh, I dindu nuffin."

Roth replied in the thread, "He was feral."

Yep. Real comments from real people ... aimed at a 3-year-old. Because of his skin color.

Of course, this being on the Internet and all, Cayden's mom quickly learned about the awful things being said about her child.

The funny thing about the Internet is, things get around. And before long, Cayden's mom, Sydney Shelton, heard about what this coworker had done at her child's expense.

"He is a well-loved, fun-loving, hyper-active and typical three-year-old," Shelton told Fox 5 News, adding there was nothing funny about that post.

Roth told the outlet he was disappointed in his friends' reactions to the photo and insisted that his own comment had only been "interpreted as racist," even though he hadn't meant it that way.

Shelton wasn't buying it.

“People post things in a [joking] manner and it gets taken a completely different way," Shelton acknowledged. "But I don't believe any of these people were joking."

Instead of firing back at Roth with a few choice words, Shelton responded by letting the world see the real Cayden.

She posted several photos of her smiley, adorable son to Facebook, accompanied with the hashtag #HisNameIsCayden.

Cayden Jace, racism, equality, social media

Cayden Jace and mom.

Image via Sydney Shelton/Facebook.

The Internet caught wind of #HisNameIsCayden. And unlike Roth's friends on Facebook, there were some really fabulous responses.

Britt Turner, a woman from Phoenix, was so inspired by Cayden's story that she decided to launch a GoFundMe to raise money for Cayden's college fund.

"Instead of continuing to shed light on all of the dark aspects of this horrible act, I would like to shed a lot of light onto the good things," Turner wrote on the fundraising page. "This young man has a full life ahead of him. I wanted to create this for Cayden, simply for that reason alone.”

In the aftermath of the comments on the initial photo revealing Roth's penchant for racist humor, Roth has since lost his job.

Michael Da Graca Pinto, president of Polaris Marketing Group, where Roth had been employed, shared a statement on the company's Facebook page about the incident. He, too, was not happy about what had happened and assured followers that Roth had been fired on Sept. 29 (although he claimed it was due to unrelated issues at work):

"It breaks my heart that Sydney and her adorable son Cayden were subjected to such hateful, ignorant and despicable behavior. Cayden visits my office almost every afternoon after daycare, he's sat at my dinner table and I consider him a part of the PMG family. The atrocious lies, slander and racism he and his mother have been forced to endure are wholly intolerable. Myself and the entire PMG family in no way condones this kind of behavior and would never willingly associate with anyone who does."

Sometimes the Internet can be a truly awful place...

But the times when overwhelming love trumps mean-spirited hate, victory tastes so sweet. Keep being awesome, Cayden.


This article has been updated. It was originally appeared on 10.06.15