Westview High, Slavery, and Racism

May 25, 2020

Last week, Westview High students expressed their wish that the Confederate States of America had won the war to preserve slavery, so that they would have personal slaves to do their work.  Here is the text of an exchange on social media:

god i really f – – – – – – wish the south won the civil war. i wish i had a f – – – – – – slave to do my work for me.

We know about this thanks to Westview senior Nena Lockhart, who has had enough of the racism that persists in our society.  She took to social media to say: “This is not funny and age is not an excuse for this kind of behavior.  We cannot go around believing that racism doesn’t exist or only exists in the Deep South, because it still exists everywhere.”

We cannot agree with Ms Lockhart more, and want her to know that we support her wholeheartedly.

Such comments display an utter indifference to the practice of kidnapping, torture, rape, imprisonment and murder that has been the lot of African-Americans.  That injustice continues today in the form of segregated neighborhoods and schools, racial health and wealth disparities, racially biased policing and racially disparate outcomes of our “justice” system; not to mention the continued presence in our communities of racial hatred, such as the Klan hood and swastikas recently on display in Santee.

These are not problems with one-time solutions..  They require sustained, focused efforts to make our students understand the true nature and horror of racism, recognize its continued danger to human beings and society, and speak and act with compassion.

African-American students have suffered long enough from their uneducated and ill informed peers.  We call on Westview High School and the Poway Unified School District to show the same courage and initiative Ms Lockhart did in bringing this matter into the open.  We call on them to take this matter every bit as seriously as it deserves.  We call on them to do their duty to educate students properly regarding issues of race, and to:

  • Institute an ongoing program of implicit bias training to students, teachers and staff.
  • Teach history according to a curriculum that gives proper weight to both the contributions and the suffering of the African-Americans who laid the foundations of a prosperity they were not allowed to enjoy.

Should they fail in this, we call on the Poway community to make their school board members pay a heavy price in the November elections.  It’s time to truly heal our racial divide, so we can move forward together to address the problems our nation faces.

We stand ready to aid the school and district, if it stands ready to take meaningful action, and root out the ugliness, not just paper it over with soothing words.

Francine Maxwell, President
NAACP San Diego Branch