Berkeley, California, near San Francisco and just north of Oakland, is generally known as a leftist bastion, historically home to one of the most liberal universities in the nation, UC Berkeley. I have heard there is more than a touch of wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing variety racism there, but to my recollection it is not known as a hotbed of organized white supremacist activity. Of course there’s pockets of these groups all across the country, some places louder than others. Apparently though, the black youth in this community take threats head on, no matter how terrifying they may be.
On the afternoon of November 4th, Berkeley high school staff discovered this threat of a public lynching on December 9th, 2015 uploaded onto a library computer (click the link for the actual screenshot):
— Brotha B (@BlakeDontCrack) November 5, 2015
So brave, terrorizing school age kids with disgusting hate speech. But then again, what kind of bravery can one expect from a group of supposed grownups who wear bedsheets with eyeholes cut into them?
The school staff did nothing to inform the student body until after the school day, but that evening an e-mail was sent out to students and parents informing them of the ignorant crap discovered that day.
What follows could not have made the hate-filled little misguided white culprit(s) happy: they inadvertently showed the world yesterday that the students of Berkeley High School, led by the Black Student Union at Berkeley High School, will not be terrorized by their bullshit.
That same night the BSU released a very mature statement demanding that the school administration and local police department give this declaration to lynch students the attention it deserves with a proper investigation.
As reported by the LA Times, by 9 A.M. the next day nearly 1,500 of the student body, led by the BSU, along with school principal Sam Pasarow, hit the streets and headed over to UC Berkeley to rally for their safety, demanding that something be done about this.
Watch courtesy of CBS:
Unfortunately, this is not a new phenomenon at the school. Last year around this time, a noose was hanging up around campus which may have been white power related or it could have been a sick reference to a suicide by hanging on campus from months prior. Regardless, it’s obvious why any black kid would be terrified, and why anyone of conscience would be outraged. It was time school officials got serious about and it appears they have, likely because the Black Student Union and its supporters gave them no choice.
Spokesman for Berkeley Unified School District Mark Coplan was quoted as saying, “[The students] are calling on everyone to come up with solutions to end this kind of madness.” In turn, the school has called in the FBI to look into this as a hate crime, and local law enforcement is also being called in to investigate the incident. Here’s hoping they turn over the rock the culprit is hiding under and take him to justice. We’ll see how much effort is really put into it.
Incidents like this remind me of why Black Lives Matter is necessary: there is no one computer screen that could terrorize me as a white person, yet an image and a sentence is all it takes to bring up chilling and gut-wrenching thoughts and images of a not-too-distant past in our country that didn’t directly affect my relatives, but definitely did many people I care about. I can’t imagine how black people feel about shit like this.
My mind did go to Billie Holliday’s Strange Fruit:
Good on you, Berkeley Black Student Union, way to be proud examples of how to get things moving in your community!
Administrators said late Thursday that they have found the student who posted the messages.
According to CBS, technology workers at the school worked quickly to gather evidence which resulted in identifying the student.
When confronted with the evidence, the student confessed.
Administrators do not think that the student actually intended to commit any violence and there was no particular significance to the date of Dec. 9. School administrators are considering what disciplinary action to take, including possibly expulsion, and will turn over their findings to Berkeley police, district spokesman Mark Coplan said.
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