In his March 05 on-line report concerning the West Charlotte and Ardrey Kell basketball game Mr. Langston Wertz, Jr., a Charlotte Observer reporter wrote: “As for Ardrey Kell, a successful season ended under a cloud of controversy and with a suspended star player. Several Knights’ families who attended the game declined to talk about the week’s events. After initially answering an Observer’s questions about the controversies preceding the game, another Kell parent ripped the page out of the reporter’s notebook containing her comments.”
Now, if citizens were not aware of how much the two schools mirror each other, they do now. One rich. One poor. That is a mirror, just one we do not want to acknowledge because what is reflected is the injustice of our educational system which is managed by elected politicians who are highly influenced by the biggest dollar. Re-read the reported words of Wertz and ask what would prompt a person to think he or she has the right to rip a page from anyone’s notebook? Arrogance of the righteous derived out of wealth or position or both is my answer.
Think of it: a Kell parent speaks of the events surrounding, of all things, a high school basketball game, then another parent (her husband?) rips the page of her comments from Wertz’s notebook. Yes, a family, a school, and its coach has apologized for the racial slur posted on social media. Apologies are good and necessary. However, that racial slur came from somewhere and that somewhere is more than a non-thinking 17-year-old basketball star playing for Kell.
What the Kell parent did to the reporter speaks more than all the apologies erupting from Kell. The act of invading anyone’s space, much less to take their property, is one of the highest acts of disdain. I was not present, but I wonder if the woman and the person who ripped the page from Wertz’s notebook are white. I wonder if the one who violently took the page is male. I don’t know, but I know that contempt like that is usually bred out of arrogance of being white and well-to-do and sometimes leads one to think he or she is above the rules for the rest of us. To paraphrase Mark Twain, The Kell parent acted like a Christian holding four aces because every influence valued by our society is in his or her corner.
Racism is a sin, and like other sins, it can be easily concealed and denied. However, when a person shows such aggressive arrogance to a person doing his job, the sin is revealed. How could anyone think that type of act is right?
The boy who posted the slur did not act in isolation. He and his environment need to honestly examine themselves. It is convenient to verbally deny racism or envy or lust or any other sin. However, our acts expose who we are. And, it does not matter if the persons who engaged the reporter are white or black. The act of invading his notebook was wrong. As is the arrogance that feeds such acts.
In order to accommodate the fans, the game had to be moved from the small (450 capacity) gym of West Charlotte. However, a part of me wishes that the Kell players had to dress, play, and shower at West Charlotte. I wish the Kell fans had to drive to West Charlotte and sit in the small gym and have a new experience. They would have come away impressed had their eyes been opened.
It takes more than an apology or confession to eradicate a sin. While both are the first steps to right living, actions must be taken to demonstrate our change of heart.
Let’s all look into the mirror and see what is honestly there. If the image is right, good. If it is wrong, work to change it by words and deeds.