A joke about picking cotton drew outrage online, and intervention by administrators at Langley Christian School. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Bad Video Embed Code

A joke about picking cotton drew outrage online, and intervention by administrators at Langley Christian School. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

VIDEO: Racist ‘cotton’ comment by B.C. student generates outrage online, response by school

Administrator says ‘no doubt that implicit and overt discrimination is present’ in schools

An incident involving a racist joke about picking cotton, made by a student at a Langley, B.C. school has been resolved, according to a spokesperson for the school and a family member of the student who was the target.

In a social media posting that has generated more than 25,000 clicks of support and more than 700 comments, a family member, the older brother of the student, described how his sibling at the school was taking a physical education class at Langley Christian School (LCS) when the remark was made.

@evan.vese

I hope this brings some awareness to the problem at hand. It ain’t a joke. BC School systems ain’t educating bout this! @josiahvese ##blm ✊🏽

♬ original sound – evan.vese

“He’s doing push ups [and] this white kid has the audacity to walk up to him and say ‘keep picking up the cotton,’” and pretended to whip his back with a jumping rope, the family member recounted.

He went on to say that “ignorant” people who make those kind of jokes “don’t even understand the hurt they are bringing.”

“I hope this brings some awareness to the problem at hand.”

It happened last year, but the student didn’t report it until the current school year, when the school launched an anti-racism initiative, which prompted the student to come forward, LCS head of schools Adam Woelders said.

The student who made the joke has “accepted responsibility and participated in a fully restorative and educational process,” Woelders added.

“Like all schools in our community monitored by the Ministry of Education in British Columbia, LCS responds seriously to any communication or behaviour that deliberately degrades, denigrates, labels, stereotypes, incites hatred, slander, prejudice and discrimination toward anyone on the basis of one’s real or perceived sexual or gender orientation, identity, appearance, capacity, disability, ethnicity or religion,” Woelders elaborated.

“No doubt, implicit and overt discrimination is present in public and independent schools throughout the Fraser Valley region, and we all have much to do as community leaders to continue to work hard to equip staff, students and families to transform our communities for the better.”

READ ALSO: Peaceful walk highlights Black Lives Matter in Langley

Hundreds of comments posted in response to the online post said such incidents are all too common.

“I can’t count how many times I heard a non-black kid in my school say the ‘n’ word,” one person wrote.

Another said racism is in Canada “is hidden behind laughter and just kidding,” while a third described how they grew up with a best friend “who is South Sudanese, and I’ve watched this kinda stuff happen to her our whole childhood.”

While the family member did not respond to a request for an interview by the Langley Advance Times, the person did post a follow-up message that said the “situation was dealt with.”

READ ALSO: Teach Black history to fight racism, starting in elementary school: B.C. students

British Columbia Education Minister Rob Fleming recently announced his ministry was examining ways to work with local groups to develop a curriculum that better incorporates Black history, including the slave trade and the Underground Railroad.

Ministry staff were meeting with the B.C. Black History Awareness Society in an effort to address the needs of young people who are demanding change, Fleming said in a statement.

“We plan to listen and we are committed to working with community partners to strengthen the curriculum, to support diversity and to add to the global effort to end systemic racism,” he said.



dan.ferguson@langleyadvancetimes.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Langleyracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
253 new COVID-19 cases, 4 more deaths in Interior Health over the weekend

More than 1,000 cases in the region remain active

Earth worms are decomposers. (Photo via Pixabay)
Stoke on Science-The A-Z: D is for decomposers

Jade Harvey-Berrill Stoke on Science Below our feet, currently buried beneath the… Continue reading

Alistair Taylor has lived in Revelstoke since 2003. He is running to be a city councillor in the upcoming byelection. (Jocelyn Doll/Revelstoke Review)
Alistair Taylor running for vacant council seat

Byelection coming up in Revelstoke in February

Matt Cherry is running to be a Revelstoke City Councillor in the upcoming byelection. (Submited/Matt Stepchuck)
Matt Cherry running in Revelstoke’s byelection

Advance polls are coming up Feb. 3 and 10, with election day on Feb. 13

A juvenile sturgeon in a B.C. rearing facility. The wild population in the Upper Columbia is estimated at 1,100 individuals, enhanced with roughly 5,500 hatchery fish. (file photo)
B.C.’s Upper Columbia sturgeon endure long battle with local extinction

Decades of monitoring and intervention is ongoing to save the prehistoric fish

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun in Salmon Arm. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 vaccinations underway in Salmon Arm

Interior Health confirms vaccination of priority populations has begun

This is the location, 3240 Skaha Lake Road, of where BC Housing plans to build a four storey supportive housing project for the homeless and at risk of being homeless. (Jesse Day Western News)
Penticton mayor and MLA concerned about new BC Housing project

‘Penticton already has its fair share’ of BC Housing projects

Interior Health declared the COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place long term care home over Monday, Jan. 18, 2020. (File photo)
COVID-19 outbreak at McKinney Place care home declared over

‘This has been one of our most challenging outbreaks so far,’ says chief medical health officer

Penticton Bylaw officer Glenn Smith, as well as resident Zak Laycock (not pictured), received the Governor General Award from the Royal Canadian Humane Association to recognize their heroism in a summer 2019 incident. (Contributed)
Bylaw officer and Penticton resident given awards for intervening in sexual assault

Bylaw officer Glenn Smith said he was simply in the right place at the right time

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Sunnybank
COVID-19 related deaths at Oliver, West Kelowna and Vernon senior care homes

Sunnybank, Heritage Retirement Residence and Noric House recorded deaths over the weekend

Hillview Elementary students Emma Li and Mina Nadeau were awarded by the Premier’s office for winning the annual holiday card contest. (Karen Rogers photo)
North Okanagan students’ art featured on Premier’s cards

Hillview youth chosen for annual holiday card contest

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

Most Read