March 21, 2016
Contact: Priscilla Ouchida, Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Japanese American Citizens League (JACL) joins with its affiliates, the JACL Northern California Western Nevada Pacific District Council and the JACL Florin Chapter as well as the Coalition to Support McClatchy Students Against Racism and Bullying in condemning the behavior of some spectators attending a recent basketball game between McClatchy High School and Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills, California. During the game, racial taunts could be heard being shouted from the Oak Ridge spectator section including, “Go back to Fiji,” “small eyes,” and “soy sauce.”
As a national civil right organization, JACL understands the harmful effects of racist behavior. The terms used were not neutral expressions of exuberance. They were terms that were intended to intimidate and ostracize. These racist terms cannot be stripped from a dark history of discrimination and animosity directed at Asian Americans. Indeed, they are a sad reminder of that past, and beyond being hurtful to individuals, the terms denigrate an entire group.
It is our understanding that the superintendent of the El Dorado Union High School District released a statement that included the following, “We are disappointed and saddened by this situation and are working to address the inappropriate behavior.”
Disappointment and sadness only begin to describe the behavior that we believe to be outrageous and unacceptable. National JACL supports the following remedial measures as stipulated by Florin JACL.
1. Holding perpetrators of these actions strictly accountable including a contrite public apology by the students.
2. Setting up clear policies, if none exist, covering such racist and bullying slurs in school.
3. Firmly enforcing such policies so they have meaning.
4. Stepping up diversity training and bullying intervention at Oak Ridge High School plus other schools.
5. Reporting fully to the public by the School and Board on what steps have been taken and will be done to prevent this racist and bullying behavior.