Marist students kneeled in 'disrespect' as Spanish-language song played at homecoming dance, Latino classmates say - Chicago Sun-Times

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  john-russell  •  2 months ago  •  28 comments

By:   Tom Schuba (Chicago Sun-Times)

Marist students kneeled in 'disrespect' as Spanish-language song played at homecoming dance, Latino classmates say - Chicago Sun-Times
In a statement, school officials said they are investigating and "are disheartened by the recent events that took place at our Homecoming celebration this past weekend."

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



In a statement, school officials said they are investigating and "are disheartened by the recent events that took place at our Homecoming celebration this past weekend."

By Tom Schuba Oct 11, 2021, 6:46pm CDT WATCHDOGS_050921_07.0.jpg Marist High School, 4200 W. 115th St.Anthony Vazquez / Sun-Times

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Marist High School in Mount Greenwood is investigating allegations that students engaged in a racist protest during the school's homecoming dance Saturday.

Elizabeth Pacheco and Maia Trevino, both 16-year-old juniors, told the Sun-Times Monday that some of their classmates knelt down and made derisive comments about Mexicans when a disc jockey played a Spanish-language song.

"If you love our food, ethnic fashion, and energy so much… why do you resent us," Pacheco asked in the caption of an Instagram video showing the incident that had garnered nearly 150,000 views as of Monday night. "How would you like it if we kneeled to your country music?"

IMG_6923.jpeg Elizabeth Pacheco (left) and Maia Trevino pose in their homecoming dresses on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021.Provided/Elizabeth Pacheco

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Earlier Saturday, Marist defeated Montini Catholic High School, 34-0, in its homecoming football game. Later that night, hundreds of students attended the dance, which was held on a field outside the school at 4200 W. 115th St.

About an hour into the dance, the DJ spun a Spanish-language version of Billy Ray Cyrus' hit "Achy Breaky Heart." Pacheco and Trevino, who hadn't been dancing, took to the floor.

But a few dozen of their classmates then knelt together in the center of the dance floor, apparently in protest, according to the girls and the video Pacheco posted to Instagram. Pacheco said some students booed and jeered, while others purposely disrupted a line dance. Both girls said they heard one classmate make an apparently racist comment.

"'Ugh, it's Mexicans,'" the girls, who are both of Mexican descent, recalled the student saying.

"I'm trying to understand their point of view," Pacheco said of her classmates. "But when it's something that's so wrong that just targets you and your community, it's really upsetting. I kind of can't see them the same anymore."

While Trevino said her family members had warned her about the discrimination they'd faced in the past, that awareness didn't prepare her for Saturday's jarring incident.

"I never thought that that would ever happen to me, especially in a school where I felt safe and appreciated and with friends — who I considered friends," she said. "Seeing them kneel and disrespect what I am ... and the culture I represent ... it doesn't feel good."

Administrators at the Roman Catholic school didn't respond to interview requests. But Marist spokeswoman Kristine Kavanagh issued a statement saying school leaders "are disheartened by the recent events that took place at our Homecoming celebration this past weekend.

"Our Administrative team, Campus Ministry members, faculty, and staff will use this moment in time to educate all members of our student body, so they have a clear understanding of how their actions, even unintended ones, can be perceived as hurtful to others," the statement said. "We respect and foster diversity, equity, and inclusion for all and want every student to succeed by feeling valued, seen, and connected.

"We, as a school, promote cultural diversity and are providing professional development on cultural competency for staff and students. Marist High School is fully investigating the events and will address them as appropriate."

On Monday, some sophomores took a knee during homeroom "to show how we are against racism and add [to] address the problem that happened," according to social media posts.

Principal Meg Dunneback also met with Latino students, including Pacheco and Trevino. The two said the incident offers a crucial learning experience for their peers.

"You can say I'm sorry [and] be punished, but then you go home and do the exact same thing," Pacheco said. "They need to understand and be educated that this was wrong. I want them to open their hearts to us and our culture."

Pacheco said Saturday's incident isn't the first time minority students "have felt less than themselves."

Trevino noted that a similar incident played out Sept. 15, when the predominantly Hispanic kitchen staff started playing Spanish-language music to mark the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month. She said some white students booed, and one mockingly used what she described as a stereotypical Mexican accent.

Though Pacheco and Trevino weren't yet students at Marist, they also recalled an incident in which two white students were expelled in 2016 over racist text messages that were shared on social media. The girls' fathers later sued the school in Cook County court seeking $1 million, though no filings have been made in the case since December 2017.

That January, their attorney told the Chicago Tribune that the girls had reached an agreement with administrators allowing them to receive their diplomas. At that point, other students who were embroiled in the controversy were welcomed back to the school.

Pacheco and Trevino credited school leaders for swiftly responding to their concerns Monday while insisting they aren't trying to "bash Marist." Pacheco, however, said she fears administrators could try to sweep the issue under the rug to protect the school's reputation.

"My main intention is to educate students on racism and discrimination. I think this was really disrespectful to our community," Pacheco said.


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JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1  seeder  JohnRussell    2 months ago

I have been to Marist High School many times to watch my nieces and nephews play sports. It is an above average co-ed Catholic High School in a middle class Chicago neighborhood that is heavily populated by the families of cops, firemen, and other city workers. 

It doesnt surprise me at all that they had a racial incident. Its not even the first time. A few years ago a number of Marist students were found to have made written harassing statements to black lives matters marchers who were protesting in the white neighborhood. 

Nothing out of the ordinary here. Just everyday racism in 2021 America. 

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2  Sean Treacy    2 months ago

What's the issue?  Kneeling is the most respectful thing possible one can do.   The kneelers should be treated as heroes. Hopefully, Nike makes them millionaires.

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
2.1  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    2 months ago
What's the issue?  Kneeling is the most respectful thing possible one can do.

They had every right to do so, but one might wonder what exactly are they protesting?

The kneelers should be treated as heroes.

Why? What injustice are they protesting? What cause are they championing? Have they and their fellow white Americans been oppressed by Mexican immigrants? Have they had their necks knelt on till they died or been unarmed and shot in the back by Mexican American cops? Seems the only thing they are protesting is that every song at the dance wasn't on their 'white Christian conservative' playlist. So not really sure why they should be considered anything but petulant bigots who didn't fall far from their parents racist tree and think expressing their disdain for immigrants who don't look like them or speak like them is something to be proud of, just like little 'proud boys'.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2.1.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @2.1    2 months ago
ad every right to do so,

Do they? We'll see what the school does.

But why should they be punished when kneeling is the most respectful thing you can do. Per some here, it's more respectful to kneel during the national anthem than stand at attention. 

 what exactly are they protesting?

Maybe they think achy break heart deserves respect.  

Why? What injustice are they protesting? What cause are they championing? Ha

. Who cares? Kneeling isn't disrespectful, remember?  This is only an issue if somehow kneeling is disrespectful. 

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
2.2  SteevieGee  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    2 months ago

I support their right to kneel.  They're getting their message across.  I hope they're ready for the consequences though.  Their message is that they are racists and this will follow them for the rest of their lives.  Nike wouldn't touch them if they won a stanley cup full of heisman trophies and superbowl rings now.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
2.3  SteevieGee  replied to  Sean Treacy @2    2 months ago

If I were somebody in the admissions office of a college this would be an adequate reason to deny admission.

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2.3.1  Sean Treacy  replied to  SteevieGee @2.3    2 months ago
were somebody in the admissions office of a college this would be an adequate reason

No surprise.  Toleration of dissent isn't big among authoritarians.  Must punish kids who don't conform.

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
2.3.3  SteevieGee  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.3.1    2 months ago

How tolerant were these kids of the Mexican students?

 
 
 
Sean Treacy
Professor Expert
2.3.4  Sean Treacy  replied to  SteevieGee @2.3.3    2 months ago

Kneeling is the most respectful thing they could do, or is kneeling suddenly not incredibly respectful again? 

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
2.3.5  SteevieGee  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.3.4    2 months ago

I think that just enjoying the dance would have been the most respectful thing they could have done.  It's really a shame because these kids could end up paying a substantial price for this.  Nobody harmed these kids except maybe their parents and whomever they're following on the internet.

 
 
 
charger 383
Professor Quiet
2.3.6  charger 383  replied to  Sean Treacy @2.3.4    2 months ago

It can't be both

 
 
 
GregTx
Sophomore Participates
3  GregTx    2 months ago

The irony dripping from this story made me instinctively look for an umbrella.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
4  Jack_TX    2 months ago

OK, help me out, because I'm losing track of the whole kneeling issue.

So...Colin Kaepernick kneeling is respectful, but white kids kneeling is disrespectful?  

How does this work, exactly?

 
 
 
Texan1211
Professor Principal
4.1  Texan1211  replied to  Jack_TX @4    2 months ago
So...Colin Kaepernick kneeling is respectful, but white kids kneeling is disrespectful?  

Kaepernick is woke, the kids aren't?

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
4.2  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Jack_TX @4    2 months ago
Colin Kaepernick kneeling is respectful, but white kids kneeling is disrespectful? 

It's not whether kneeling is or isn't "respectful", kneeling can be seen as a form of protest. So the question really becomes what are you protesting? If you're protesting the unjust treatment of minorities or anyone for that matter, one might well understand the motives behind the act and either consider it ridiculous and frivolous or of a serious valid nature.

In the case of high profile football players choosing to kneel during the anthem as a form of protest for the abuse and injustice many of their fellow black Americans have suffered at the hands of the police and the justice system the anthem celebrates especially with so many examples of such injustice to choose from, I would consider that a serious and valid complaint that warrants protest.

In the case of a few dozen students kneeling during a Spanish-language version of "Achy Breaky Heart" I'm not even really sure what they are protesting. Are they protesting Spanish-language revisions of originally American songs? Are they protesting the Spanish language? Are they protesting that their school has Spanish speaking students or that some students have Hispanic heritage's? Are they protesting that they feel left out because they're not bi-lingual? Or are they simply protesting being white and not being the center of attention every fucking minute of the day? That seems to be the most likely reason for their ruffled feathers.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
4.2.2  Jack_TX  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @4.2    2 months ago
So the question really becomes what are you protesting?

So basically it's "respectful" when it's something you agree with and "disrespectful" when it's something you don't understand or disagree with.

 
 
 
Transyferous Rex
Freshman Participates
4.2.3  Transyferous Rex  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @4.2    2 months ago

Difference in protesting and simply being a dumbass. I guess it's not impossible to be a dumbass who is protesting, or protesting in a dumbass way. I don't know, I'm getting off track here. 

Personally, I might kneel at the playing of this song, Spanish or English version, in protest of the DJ. 

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.2.4  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @4.2    2 months ago

My assumption would be that they "knelt" as a protest of Mexican music precisely because Kaepernick and others "knelt" to protest police brutality.  These teenagers are savvy about what their parents believe and their parents believe Kaepernick is unAmerican. 

 
 
 
Dismayed Patriot
Professor Participates
4.2.5  Dismayed Patriot  replied to  Jack_TX @4.2.2    2 months ago
So basically it's "respectful" when it's something you agree with and "disrespectful" when it's something you don't understand or disagree with.

I made no judgement as to whether it was "respectful" or not, as I said "It's not whether kneeling is or isn't "respectful".

I said that the real judgement is whether one feels their protest is serious and valid or not. You can have a group kneeling to protest the color that their new high school concession stand was painted. They have every right to kneel and i wouldn't call it respectful or disrespectful, I'd simply call it silly and certainly not serious even though it might be a valid complaint.

When high profile sports players kneel in protest their complaint of injustice is both valid and serious whether you think it's respectful or not. When these kids kneel in protest of a Spanish-language song being played at a dance it's definitely not serious and I think it's pretty silly, respect doesn't come into play what-so-ever. One could also believe it to be racist, since it clearly appears they were only trying to protest a Spanish language song, their apparent message is that they dislike/hate either the Spanish language or Hispanics in general.

You can tell a lot about someone by what they 'stand' for, or in this case 'kneel' for. The sports players were 'standing' up for those who have unjustly been persecuted by systemic racism by 'kneeling'. These kids at the dance weren't 'standing' up for anyone or anything by kneeling, they were simply expressing their indoctrinated prejudices apparently to make the statement "We're racist, so what?".

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
4.2.6  seeder  JohnRussell  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @4.2.5    2 months ago

I would say the nicest thing you could say about what these kids did is that they were just goofing around when they acted disrespectfully towards "mexican" music. 

I would put a little harsher judgement on it though. They hear from their parents and other adults that Mexicans are illegal immigrants and even though the two girls in the story are Mexican-American  teenagers attending a private high school school where the tuition is $21,000 per year , and thus probably not the children of illegal immigrants , to racists one Mexican is the same as another. 

 
 
 
zuksam
Junior Silent
4.2.7  zuksam  replied to  Dismayed Patriot @4.2    2 months ago
I'm not even really sure what they are protesting

Maybe they're protesting Millions of Illegal Invaders crossing the Mexican Border year after year. Maybe they're protesting Mexico who facilitates and profits from this Illegal Immigration. Maybe they're protesting every Central American Country that allows these Caravans of Illegal Immigrants to cross their borders and travel through their countries on their way to Illegally cross the US border. Maybe we should ask them what they're protesting.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Guide
4.3  evilgenius  replied to  Jack_TX @4    2 months ago
OK, help me out...Colin Kaepernick kneeling is respectful, but white kids kneeling is disrespectful?  

Sure no problem. Kaepernick was protesting police violence against black men. The kids were protesting Mexicans. Anyone who doesn't see the distinction of protesting against racism with protesting for racism is part of the problem.

 
 
 
Jack_TX
Junior Quiet
4.3.1  Jack_TX  replied to  evilgenius @4.3    2 months ago
The kids were protesting Mexicans.

Were they?  The article conspicuously omits any comment from any kid who actually participated.  

 
 
 
SteevieGee
Senior Silent
4.3.2  SteevieGee  replied to  Jack_TX @4.3.1    2 months ago

So...  Why do you think they knelt?  Maybe because of the discrimination and tyranny they've had to endure at the hands of their Mexican-American oppressors they finally just snapped?

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Guide
4.3.3  1stwarrior  replied to  evilgenius @4.3    2 months ago

384

Sure he was - which of the two above is being disrespectful?

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
5  seeder  JohnRussell    2 months ago

Mt Greenwood, which is the city neighborhood where this incident took place (Marist H.S. is located in Mt Greenwood) has always been a problematic area in terms of racial attitudes. It was also the only neighborhood in Chicago that Trump carried in both 2016 and 2020. I know quite a few people over there as it is only a mile or two from where I live. I live in a different, more "liberal" area but it is adjacent to Mt Greenwood.  Marist has a lot of great kids , one of my great nephews started on the state championship boys volleyball team there three years ago, but there are also some kids who go there who have racist parents and racist influences. 

 
 
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