Friday, February 15, 2013

East Ridge High School & The Black Panthers

KSTP News interviewed Ms. Kelly Fenton, concerned East Ridge parent, about the controversy surrounding the use of announcement-time to promote the Black Panthers under the guise of "Black History Month." They also interviewed Principal Aaron Harper.

KSTP presented the issue as unskewed as can be expected by a MSM outlet.  However, they focused primarily on the fact that the poem, "A Black Child's Pledge," had been read during the announcement, with a little attention paid to the fact that the poem was from the Black Panthers.  What readers and KSTP viewers need to understand is not the fact that the poem was read, it is the context in which it was read to "commemorate" the Black Panthers.  Therein lies the difference: the poem as a literary device is innocuous, the poem being read in conjunction with a description of the Black Panthers as just a group of "militant marxists who are ok because they also fed children and helped with community organizing" is offensive.  

Aaron Harper claims that he hadn't "vetted" the content that was to be read during Thursday morning's announcements and that it was "student-led." He assured KSTP that he would be better about paying attention to the information dispersed over the PA system of the school.  The fact that Mr. Harper is shielding Tishanna Brown and claiming that he should have been more aware of what was being read leads one to wonder what else Tishanna Brown has been up to in her classroom - what part of her interests and biases are filtering through to her students, and why didn't Mr. Harper know what was being read to his entire school that morning? Furthermore, if it wasn't such a big deal, why is he assuring parents that he will "keep a closer eye" on things from now on?

Please stay tuned for more updates as this story continues.


  1. This post and the foolish and irresponsible implications are typical of the elitest attitudes of Woodbury parents. You - however you are - should be ashamed of your white bias and the clearly shameless prejudice so clearly alive and well in lily white suburbia. I am embarrassed to live in your community and the be a white mother of children at East Ridge. SHAME ON YOU!!!

    1. Seems to me that you are afraid of the truth. The Black Panthers are a racist militant group on par with the Ku Klux Klan, yet you have no problem with them being glorified to school children during Black History Month. The promotion of the Panthers when there are so many black historic figures worthy of praise, recognition, and study. George Washington Carver, Martin Luther King, Jr., Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass, Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron, Bill Cosby, etc. SHAME ON YOU! Shame on you for walking around as a white mother of children at East Ridge who is afraid to see reality.

    2. Anonymous

      You called MNHockeyMama: foolish, irresponsible, “elitest”, having white bias, shameless prejudice, and lily white. I like you have never met “Mama” and have no idea if she (if indeed the writer is a she) is any of the degrading things you called “her” or all for that matter.

      Unlike you, I could not tell from reading those three paragraphs if the writer was any of those. Foolish means absurd or crazy. Irresponsible means carefree or not responsible. White bias I guess means prejudice? Shameless prejudice means they don’t care that they are prejudice. Lily white, there are several things you could have meant: white as a lily or characterized by or favoring the exclusion of blacks especially from politics. Again the writer maybe none or all of those I do not know.

      What I got from those paragraphs is that the writer did not like the idea that young children were reading a poem written by a group that was initially founded that had neat jingles like “Huey Newton is our only living revolutionary in this country today...He has paid his dues. He has paid his dues. How many white folks did you kill today?” or We must serve notice on our oppressors that we as a people are not going to be frightened by the attempted assassination of our leaders. For my assassination—and I'm the low man on the totem pole—I want 30 police stations blown up, one southern governor, two mayors, and 500 cops, dead. If they assassinate Brother Carmichael, Brother Brown...Brother Seale, this price is tripled. And if Huey is not set free and dies, the sky is the limit!

      “Mama” does not like individuals that talk and act like that and neither do I. To me disliking individuals like that – is not foolish, irresponsible, or demonstrating shameless prejudice.

      No, I do not condone what has happened to blacks in this country from the beginning until now. But there is a difference between now and our beginning. Before, racism and prejudice was practiced within our laws. That practice has ended -- now it is held within the hearts of individuals, some stronger than others. That does not change by name calling. That only changes one individual at a time.

      May we all do our part.

  2. Let me guess. You, oh Hockey Mom, are a parent who pressures teachers to give grades students dont deserve and thats what really has you upset here. You are pathetic!

  3. Wow, way to make it personal and about race or class warfare.

    The only bias I see is that of those who are trying to make it about race.
    This is about glorifying a group that promotes VIOLENCE. Are we not allowed to be critical of a group that is preaching VIOLENCE?

    I would bet you excuse Chris Dorners rampage also, based on the color of his skin. I mean, his violence is being justified in certain communities...

    I might add, i find it very offensive that those of us who care enough to find out what is being taught in our schools, and have concerns about it, are stereotyped as 'white'. I am not, and it is YOU that should be ashamed for reading race or class warfare in to it.

    This is about using a VIOLENT group who is still advocating for VIOLENCE being celebrated at a public school.


    1. To the first Anonymous comment - I find utterly pathetic your attempt to make this a racial issue. The entire situation is about the completely inappropriate use of the morning announcements to "commemorate" a hate group that advocated and still advocates violence, nothing more. For you to play the race card demonstrates your complete lack of any argument in support of your position. I'm a Woodbury parent of an East Ridge student also and I greatly appreciate all the parents that are standing up for what is right.


  4. I, for one, am grateful to see the hatred exposed in this school. To elevate a hateful, oppressive organization such as the Black Panthers to a level of respect and admiration is, in my opinion, unforgivable. With so many wonderful black contributors throughout history to choose from, the reasoning to pick the Black Panthers totally escapes me. As a society, why should we not be elevating the goodness of each other as opposed to the things that divide us? My thanks goes out to those that have exposed this prejudice. And that is exactly what it is.

  5. I wonder how some folks here would feel about a pledge being uttered over the PA system that starts out with,


    Racism is racism, no matter who it comes from.

  6. Assuming a person is White who posts here, is racist. Look in the Mirror, soon, please.

    The Black Panthers are a marxist group. This means what? That they teach Violence justifies the End.
    You may want your children to have that principle, but not this "gurly" Take your kids to a place where that is acceptable. Like Chicago, which only criminals have the guns. Nice place for racists I hear.

  7. Would it be acceptable for a student to read some rhetoric by the KKK over the intercom? If your answer is no, then tell me please why it is ok for a student to read Black Panther manifesto over the intercom at a school? The sentiment is exactly the same. I sincerely thought we were trying to get AWAY from all the racial crap in this country.

  8. The Principal IS responsible for any content either in print or as an announcement that is from his school. Or, what do they need him for, a figurehead? He/she is also responsible for the content and delivery of "educational" materials in his classrooms and/or as any representation of the school. As a teacher, I feel I have a credible voice here.

  9. I have seen the tweets from students at this school. They i am shocked and dismayed at what these kids think behind the mask they wear.
    For all the 'diversity' training and 'inclusiveness' education that has been spoon fed these kids from kindergarten, they see themselves as apart from the community.

    It has become glaringly clear that this idea of teaching America as a 'salad bowl' only creates isolationism and tension. There is nothing being taught as a unifying glue....which used to be the Constitution.

    Since schools no longer require a Constitution class, the kids have no foundation of what binds them together, as well as the foundational platform on which all their freedoms and opportunities rest. This is why marxist ideology becomes attractive to a naive and malleable group. It has become clear to me that racism, separatism, class warfare are alive and well at this school.

    When we look at the race on race fight over in the Minneapolis school, this problem is not isolated to East Ridge. This principle should be held accountable for the culture that is being fostered at this school. The teacher should be required to account for her reasoning of highlighting a violent, revolutionary, murdering, marxist group. Is this her own personal belief that this group is justified in their violence? If so, then what is she teaching students in her classroom?

    Transparency was demanded by this President. (Who by the way, could not have been elected if racism is as abundant and widespread as is professed by groups like the Panthers) Let's have some transparency in the education system.