Opinion: South Pointe rocks racial justice

The rock still proudly displays the uplifting message, able to be seen by anyone who passes our school. (Photo by Gannon Cline/contributor)
The rock still proudly displays the uplifting message, able to be seen by anyone who passes our school. (Photo by Gannon Cline/contributor)

If there was any doubt that racism is still a social issue a hateful slur that was painted on South Pointe’s rock, a canvas for students to decorate, proves that it is still alive and well. South Pointe has fought against ignorance with a positive message, “We are all =.”

This design, created by junior Jamie Rankin, covered the vandalization and portrays a rainbow background and features a globe with multicultural handprints surrounding the phrase. This incident has put South Pointe in the national spotlight and even the Washington Post today for handling a negative situation with such positivity and zeal.

Taking advantage of this “teachable moment,” the public should be reminded that racism is still an ongoing hardship faced by people of color or POCs. Yes, racism is experienced by POCs only because, racism= prejudice + power.  Minority citizens of the U.S. have less political, social, and economic power than the majority race, Caucasians. Just take a look at our 80% white Congress and first ever non-white president and you may realize that our country still has a long way to go until racial equality is achieved.

One could even use the strong reactions towards South Pointe’s message of equality as an example of how racism has not died. If we were all truly equal, would this retaliation against hate be newsworthy?

Despite the racial tension this graffiti caused, it is important to keep moving forward in the fight for justice. A big step in the right direction was the recent vacating of the Friendship Nine’s criminal records. In 1961 the nine black friends housed a sit in at a local Rock Hill restaurant that forbade blacks to sit at the counter. The nine were incarcerated and remained “criminals” until their charges were vacated on Jan. 31, 2015. Two South Pointe classes attended as part of their English lessons, while one student who played one of the Friendship 9 in the production “No Fear for Freedom” Friday and Saturday attended. All these newsmakers were covered by a SPiN journalist, allowed to miss her classes so that she could report. South Pointe was already part of the national news story surrounding the Friendship 9.  We are grateful for the opportunities to speak out freely, both on the rock and about our rock. But we want to raise our expression to a level that makes real dialogue possible.

With everyone on board, equality is attainable. The first step is recognizing the problem, the next step is you.

By Anna Robertson, print version entertainment editor