An outrageously bizarre case of institutionalized racism recently emerged out of a middle school in San Diego, California.
According to a June 10th report by WGHP-TV Channel 8 News, a local Fox-affiliated media outlet based in the greater Greensboro, North Carolina area, San Diego’s Black Mountain Middle School made national headlines for a peculiar, race-based foul up. The disrespectful antic involved this year’s edition of the school’s annual yearbook.
Black Mountain Middle School is located in San Diego County California’s Poway Unified School District. Black Mountain’s 2016-17 school yearbook cover was themed and published with a 19th-century map of San Diego County’s northern region, which back then contained a road called “N*gger” Nate Grade.”
When students recognized the yearbook’s historical eyesore on the cover, an immediate recall was undertaken by Black Mountain Middle School’s yearbook editorial team. “N*gger Nate Grade” was the name given to a road that led to the home of Nate Harrison, a former slave who was North San Diego County’s first black homesteader.
The editors of Black Mountain Middle School’s yearbook claimed that their impropriety was not deliberate. However, it would be quite a shame if such a degree of historical ignorance exists among adult staff members at this educational institution. Charan Kirpalani, the school’s principal sent a letter home to parents after the incident, which read in part:
“In using a historical map from the 1800’s of northern San Diego County, our staff and yearbook editors inadvertently used a background image for the cover of this year’s yearbook containing a highly offensive racial term. This was a reference to an area of San Diego County on Palomar Mountain which was once known as the home of a freed slave, and referred to with a very derogatory label.” (MyFox8.com)
Around 1,000 yearbooks were taken back in the recall. Staff members returned the books to students after all of the derogatory words were etched out by hand, according to a statement by Christine Paik, the Communications Director for the Poway Unified School District.