Two teenage girls have been expelled from Gainesville High School after posting a racist video on YouTube. Their despicable rant, which goes on for a whopping 14 minutes, targets African-Americans with sickening statements such as, “You can understand what we are saying, our accents, we use actual words. Black people do not.”
Principal David Shelnutt refused to comment on the disciplinary action taken against the girls, but he did express his thoughts to WCJB-TV. “There’s no place for comments like that, that video, here at GHS,” he said. “There’s no place for that in the Alachua County Public School System, and my opinion, no place for that in society in general.”
Not surprisingly, the girls have received death threats in response to their video. And while they’re no longer students at the school, eight police officers were brought to the school to ensure everyone’s safety given the circumstances.
Meanwhile, the girls have gone into hiding, with one of them reportedly staying at a relative’s house while her mother’s at work. They’ve expressed remorse since their video went viral, and both girls – along with one of their parents – issued a formal apology in The Gainesville Sun on Monday. One statement reads:
I am one of the girls who were in the racist video that got posted. I’m writing this so that I can tell people how truly sorry I am. I could never, in a million years, have pictured this happening with me involved. I wasn’t raised to hate people for their race, and I still don’t. I made a horrible decision in being a part of this video, and not putting a stop to it myself. No matter someone’s opinions, racism is never appropriate of any kind, and for this many people to get hurt I am so sorry. I never wanted that.
There is no excuse for this video, and I won’t try to make any, but I never could have thought so many people would see it and that it would have this big of an effect on everyone. Seeing the video later on, I realized how bad it was and how ignorant we looked. I couldn’t believe it was myself that I was seeing. It seemed like another person. I cannot even defend myself for the video, because I know how stupid it was and how immature it made me look. I can only say how sorry for everything I am and take the consequences for my actions.
I know people are wanting to blame the parents for this, for our opinions and what we said, but I want it known that I wasn’t raised how I portrayed myself in that video. My parents never taught me hate or to judge someone like that. I honestly don’t know where that came from, but it was wrong no matter what. I understand how I sound in the video, but I’m not a racist person. I doubt anyone will believe that now but it’s true. I don’t see someone for their skin color only and hate them. I like to get to know everyone before passing judgment, but from now on I will just have to live with people’s preconceived notions of me, and I deserve that.
I’ve learned a lot from this experience, but most importantly that everyone has their own opinion, no matter what it is, but just because we have freedom of speech that doesn’t mean we should always use it. People need to be careful what they put on the internet because it could be life-changing. In closing this letter I just want to say again that I am so sorry for all of the people that got hurt over this video. There was no reason to make it, and I am horrified at my actions.
The second girl’s mother says her daughter has gone into depression, and she asks forgiveness from the community. She writes in part:
I am not or have ever been this way or taught any of my children to be this way. My family and circle of close friends include individuals of all ages, races, creeds, social economic backgrounds, religions, and genders. I am a single mother, struggling like many others in our community and our country today.
While we can never take back the words and actions that these 2 children have said, we have to start to heal and forgive IMMEDIATELY. Stop the violent threats to our homes and our children, stop the anger, because this will solve absolutely nothing, and most importantly, look at yourself for change and love. Everyone, including all parents and teenagers, must put in their part to STOP racism, no matter what color your skin may be. We have to practice forgiveness.
Of course, the big question everyone’s wondering is what would cause these girls to have such racial hatred in the first place. While watching the video, I was most surprised to see how flippant they were throughout – as if it’s no big deal to utter such derogatory slurs. Also, I hate to say it, but I question if they’re truly sorry for their actions – or the mere fact that they got caught.