The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

The Student News Site of Malvern Preparatory School

Friar's Lantern

Destructive comments on letter to Daily Times lead to discussion about race


Racism still occurs in America but the language we use to discuss it never helps. No one knows how to respectfully talk about race, and that is a problem with society in the United States.

Mrs. Nicole Wilkinson wrote a letter that was published in the Delaware County Daily Times on August 21 about racism her daughter encountered.  Its online posting was filled with vile comments that distracted from the piece.

On August 16th, Sabine, 11, and her mother were planning a fun-filled day in the city of Brotherly Love.  While waiting for the el in Upper Darby, an African American girl riding a nearby school bus complimented Sabine on her hair bow.

The day that was supposed to be filled with joy quickly turned into a day that no child or person should ever have to go through.

Other students riding the bus proceeded to shout statements such as, “I hate you” and “I hate white people” These comments reduced Sabine to tears.

Mrs. Wilkinson described the experiences as a “shock.”

“They were children and to hear words like that come out the mouths of young children was the first thing that startled me,” she said.

From the text and voice of the op-ed, one would think that the piece was trying to convey a message that the world is no utopia. But the comments section paints a different picture of some readers’ perceptions. Some of the comments included:

“Stupid remarks coming from supposed leaders, constant race baiting by “leaders” like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, are on the rise. Instead of using his white house occupation to encourage unity–BO just keeps on dividing. Black from white. Rich from poor. Christians from everybody. Republicans against Democrats. Stop wondering why nothing gets done–those of you who elected a divisive community organizer are getting the government you deserve. The rest of us have to suffer through it.” -sassychick007

“The truly despicable part is that he has done this intentionally. This alone is reason enough to remove him from office. That’s what we get when people send a black racist ghetto street activist to do a man’s job. May as well have elected Al Sharpton. All the bitter black ingrates think it’s payback time…” -LibsAreCommies

“The headline should have been: ‘Girl Learns Loony Liberal World is a Total Myth!’ Hahahaha….Thanks for writing this letter, Ms. Wilkinson. Now stop lying to your daughter and let her absorb the bitter taste of racial reality she has learned.Tell her that the majority of Americans now rightly see blacks as more racist than whites. It is the truth.”  -LibsAreCommies

These types of comments are why we cannot have a serious discussion on race in America. The words we use to describe our emotions toward a serious topic are often inflamed with political ideology.

President Obama has been condemned for everything he has said about race from his speech in Philadelphia as a candidate for the Presidency to the recent comments on Trayvon Martin.

Sean Hannity, host of Hannity on Fox News, recently came into the spotlight by criticizing the President’s comments on the Trayvon Martin case.

“Now the president’s saying Trayvon could’ve been me 35 years ago.This is a particularly helpful comment. Is that the president admitting that I guess because what, he was part of the Choom Gang and he smoked pot and he did a little blow — I’m not sure how to interpret because we know that Trayvon had been smoking pot that night,” said Hannity on his radio show.

His words read like they could have been posted as a comment on Wilkinson’s op-ed.

In all of the above examples, differences are highlighted and no solutions discussed. It seems that whenever a high-profile person talks about a sensitive issue they are immediately condemned and not joined by their opposition in coming up with a solution.

For her part Mrs. Wilkinson talked about some ways to solve racial problems in America.

She pushed back on the previous comments by commenting herself, “I think the bottom line is that we all have to work together to focus on creating actual equality within our communities. And I do agree that it starts with all of our leaders and role models (parents, teachers, community leaders, religious leaders, etc).

Wilkinson continued, “I don’t know what policy steps need to be taken– that is beyond the scope of my capabilities. But I do believe that even in baby steps, eventually we can make lasting social changes. That’s why I wrote this letter.”

Words matter a lot more than people think. There are some problems that cannot just be spinned for political gain. Racism and race policy, including the controversial Stop and Frisk policy in Philadelphia and New York are some of those problems. Americans should focus more on problem-solving and not cowering behind an anonymous comment policy for local newspapers.

Read the full text of Mrs. Wilkinson’s letter

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All Friar's Lantern Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • T

    Thad Kirk (MP '06)Sep 15, 2013 at 10:49 pm

    Not surprising given how much of a rag the Delco Times is. Mr. Abron and Mrs. Wilkinson do a good job of raising an issue that we should not be avoiding, namely how we deal with race in today’s society. I hope that Malvern especially is addressing this issue appropriately and in accordance with the Augustinian tradition of truth, unity, and love.