*A high school girls’ basketball team in Madison, WI is in the headlines today over a racially insensitive hashtag used by one of its players.
After Middleton High School lost 75-63 to the Madison East Lady Purgolders last Monday, a white Middleton player posted the following comment to her Instagram page: “I would say good game but a good game doesn’t involve intentionally trying to hurt two of our players and then laughing about it like it was a funny joke. Be aggressive not violent!! Thanks #youregonnaworkforusanyways.”
The majority of the Madison East team are students of color.
The Instagram page has since been deleted, but not before outrage ensued. According to The Capital Times, it’s not the first time race and class tensions have erupted between the two schools. In 2006, Middleton High School’s administration issued a statement apologizing to Madison East after Middleton students chanted, “food stamps, food stamps” during a boys basketball game.
In response to the incident, James Adams, girls basketball coach at Madison East, sent a note home to his team, encouraging them to remain proud of their accomplishments and rise above the incident. The note indicated that Adams and East principal Mike Hernandez reached out to Middleton officials and were “satisfied the individual and (Middleton) team have been dealt with in a manner appropriate to the seriousness of their action.”
“It is more than unfortunate that the mistaken and unacceptable actions of a single individual may take the spotlight off of the team’s achievement last night, but my hope is that this incident can be viewed as an opportunity for learning and growth,” the statement said.
Perry Hibner, communications director for the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District (MCPASD) declined to comment on the matter, but sent the Cap Times the following statement:
“We are aware that one of our Middleton High School student-athletes made an inappropriate post on social media after last night’s girls basketball game against Madison East. We are extremely disappointed. We have worked to make all of our schools inclusive, innovative and inspiring for all of our students. We realize incidents like this set us back in our efforts.”
Following the incident, several Madison community members took to social media to discuss the issue. Percy Brown, the director of equity and student achievement for MCPASD, posted a video he titled, “Message to Black Madison.” In the video, he said MCPASD is aware of the incident and “sometimes, in situations that can create darkness, we have to find opportunities to shed light.”
He added: “I want you to think about that for a minute, community; and let’s think about should we really be directing our frustrations at this young lady? Or should we really just break down the statement and look at our current condition and be frustrated in the fact that her statement is true?”