A school district here in New York has come under fire for a "racist" snowman it posted to its Facebook page. The incident happened on January 31, 2023. The district at the center of the controversy is the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District. I'm not sure what was going through the person's mind that created the caption, but in today's climate, it doesn't seem like the smartest thing to do.
The picture seems pretty innocent, without the added commentary. Three students created a snowman, albeit a dirty one, and posed for a photo with it. The potential racism comes in with the caption. Someone from the district chose to caption the pic with,
Today's CE Fourth Grade Playground Fun! This snowman is just as diverse as our students!
Just for context, let's take a look at the demographics of the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District, according to U.S. News,
The student body at the schools served by Coxsackie-Athens Central School District is 84.6% White, 2.3% Black, 0.6% Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander, 7.6% Hispanic/Latino, 0.1% American Indian or Alaska Native, and 0% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander. In addition, 4.8% of students are two or more races, and 0% have not specified their race or ethnicity.
Listen, I think I have pretty thick skin, but as a person of color, I can see how this can be offensive. Why would someone compare a dirty snowman to diversity? There's a lot to unpack there, which I'm not going to do at the moment. There are bigger problems we need to address than a snowman. But I will say this to the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District - Do Better!
The responses on Facebook are varied. Here are some of them:
One former student of the district said she didn't feel comfortable until she left it,
Not even surprised, I felt the most comfortable in my skin after changing schools , I attended CA from Kindergarten to the first month of 9th grade. It’s always been like this , I actually had my 7th grade math teacher feel it was appropriate to refer to me as a monkey while using me as an example in a math problem
I guess the school has a reputation...
yeah i knew that school was wild but this takes the cake.
One (black) person doesn't seem to grasp the problem is with the caption,
What is so offensive about the caption? Lol my ⚫️ ass is confused.
You can check out more of the Facebook responses here.