Yearbook Student Identified Only as ‘Black Girl’

Shadoyia Jones, a black Honor Society student at a Texas high school .was identified in her yearbook only as “Black Girl,” apparently because no one on the yearbook staff knew her name.

Student in yearbook identified only as ‘Black Girl’ (AP)

Photo: Shadoyia Jones, identified as A Texas school district has apologized to a student identified only as “Black Girl” in a high school yearbook photo. All the White students are identified by name in a photograph of the Waxahachie High School National Honor Society. The teen identified as “Black Girl” is the only Black student in the photo.

A schools spokeswoman says the caption apparently was intended as a placeholder until the yearbook staff could identify the student. She tells a newspaper, the Waxahachie Daily Light, the label was a poor choice, but wasn’t malicious. The spokeswoman says the school district will reprint the yearbook pages affected by the mistake.

Rather unfortunate.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Jim Rhoads says:

    And stupid as well. Here is someone who strives for and achieves excellence, and this is her reward? A personal insult. She deserves better than this.

  2. McGehee says:

    She deserves better than this.

    Indeed. [drops a quarter in the “unoriginal response” jar]

  3. Jim Rhoads says:

    Not trying to be original. Reprinting yearbook pages seems small consolation. If I had her address I would send her a graduation present. How about you McG?

  4. Having experience in graphic design, I find the explanation offered to be highly plausible. Using a descriptive placeholder caption until correct information is available is a common practice. They should have set “Black Girl” in a boldface font, or one that would contrast with the actual font to be used.

    The yearbook staff is made up of high school students with a faculty adviser, no? Amateurs make mistakes. It’s part of the learning process. Portraying this as a racial incident strikes me as irresponsible, kind of like reporting Quran flushing without confirming your sources.

  5. Larry Grant says:

    Being a Texan, I fear the “error” was intentional. As a yearbook editor back in my high school days, I don’t buy that such a placeholder was used for the ONLY black girl in the photo but they had no problems identifying all the many white kids in the photo. Just maybe someone didn’t like acknowledging that a black kid could be smart enough for the NHS?

    Waxahachie is becoming a bedroom community for DFW commuters but there are still enough of the “good old boys” around those parts who like to dress up in their Confederate uniforms and fight again and again the Civil War.

  6. LJD says:

    Two words misprinted and we have people dressing up in confederate uniforms…
    Now that’s reading into the story…

  7. James Joyner says:

    I’m rather sure it was just a case of a placeholder being used. The girl may not be well known and has a rather unusual name. It’s regretable, however, as it can’t make her feel good to be memorialized in the yearbook in that fashion. Having the pages reprinted and pasted in won’t undo the damage.

  8. Legrone Thompson says:

    Having worked on the Yearbook Staff here in Missouri I find this explanation to be unexcusable, from what I remember our placeholder was from left to right, Front Row, Back Row etc….Now what was wrong with that….Also at the time that pictures are taken all names and correct spelling are to be checked at that time.

  9. Just Me says:

    I can see that being a place holder, inexscusable that they missed it and it was left in.

    I don’t know that you can declare the whole high school yearbook staff future members of the Ku Klux Klan though.

  10. Legrone Thompson says:

    I don’t think that anyone has said that everyone associated with the whole Yearbook Staff is a future Klansmen, just like you cannot say one Gang Member in the family makes the whole family gang member but as you can see in both scenarios there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

  11. McGehee says:

    Not trying to be original.

    I wasn’t accusing you. It was my response that was unoriginal. That’s why I was the one dropping the quarter.

  12. McGehee says:

    If I had her address I would send her a graduation present. How about you McG?

    I’ll let you reconsider this rather prickly rejoinder in light of my last comment.

  13. BSDetector says:

    Small town in Texas?

    Anybody raised in a small town knows that everybody knows everybody. And that anybody who stands out in school, the one red-haired kid for example, everybody knows his name. That one kid who is six feet five and head and shoulders taller than everybody else, everybody knows him and his name.

    The only black girl in the photo and they didn’t know her name? A member of The National Honor Society and they didn’t know her name?

    This clearly shows that when they look at her, all they see is a “Black Girl.” Not an honor student, with a name. But a “Black Girl.”

    The shame is not upon the girl whose name nobody seemed to know, but instead the shame is that nobody bothered to find out who that student in the National Honor Society was before printing the chronicle of her 2004/2005 year at school.

    As far as we have come in this country toward a society that is the embodiment of basic principles outlined in our founding documents of Liberty, we obviously still have much further to go in the small towns of America to live up to those ideals and teach them to our kids. We hold these truths to be self evident… Well, obviously not yet.

  14. Legrone Thompson says:

    I agree with you I was raised in a small community here in Missouri and I much like Shadoyia Jones won numerous awards and participated in various organizations…But people knew me by name and everyone from the Senior to Freshmen Class knew me…..My graduating class had maybe 200 members if that but everyone knew Legrone.

  15. Jim Rhoads says:

    Sorry, McG. It was late.

  16. You city folk. I don’t consider a municipality incorporated as a “city” with a 20,000+ population to be a “small town”.

    The population of my area’s school district, which combines two villages, is less than 10,000. In the local high school there are many, many students who don’t know each other. Now if this had happened in a school district like the one I attended (my graduating class had 74 members) I’d agree that this was probably a racial incident.

    Sorry, but I don’t see enough evidence to start screaming “Klan!”

  17. Mike Pyles says:

    I grew up in Georgia and went to college in Durham, North Carolina. While in college, we used to gather in the dorm commons room for the Raleigh local evening news where Jesse Helms (later a Senator but then the VP of a local television station) delivered a daily editorial that was a source of great amusement to us. In these editorials, he repeatedly referred to integrated schools as “jungle schools”.

    Two decades later, when I was living in Vermont, some friends returned from a trip to north Georgia where they were appalled to hear African-American people openly referred to as “porch monkeys”.

    This yearbook incident happened in Texas. Just be glad they referred to her as a “black” girl. Down there, that’s real progress.

  18. Phill says:

    This school’s year book organization is the stupidest club in history of the United States School System. I mean how can you lable the only black girl in the picture as “black girl”. I’m pretty sure if she is the only black girl in the organization, she would be easliy recognized. The white student”s” in the photo were recognized but not the one and only Black Girl? That’s bull crap. This was an attack on her character and obviously there must have been some issue with her being the only black person in the organization. I’m pretty sure that the organization sponsors took a look at the yearbook before it was distributed throughout the student body and if they didn’t they should have. Otherwise they could have had 5 pages full of derogatory statements about any particular minorty race. This was an “MALICIOUS” attack on her character and this should not go as unpunsihed.

  19. Sean says:

    I feel sorry for Shadoyia..I would have been horrified if it had happened to me! Can you imagine..she works hard all those years to achieve an honor in the National Honor Society and she is the only one in the whole group in which they don’t have a name? And to use a label such as that as a “placeholder”? Give me a break..I feel the school district should reprint the whole yearbook and issue a formal apology to Shadoyia and her family..

  20. Actually went to that school says:

    As a former student of Waxahachie High school (a fairly recent graduate), I can assure you that this isnt a podunk town where everyone knows everyone. The school has nearly 2000 students, and when I worked on the paper, it was very frequent that we would not know a name of a student and would have to ask around.

    This is by no means NYC, but its not a town full of white kids beating up black kids and attacking their character because they are black. Most kids get along just fine, I never heard the “n” word used in my years in that school district.

    I find it really kind of awful that people think that calling this girl black is an “attack on her character”. All of a sudden being black is an insult? Please. If youre white, youre white, if youre black, youre black, there’s nothing anyone can do to change that and there is certainly nothing wrong with the way people are born.

    Furthermore, since the teacher that is in charge of the yearbook is also in charge of the paper, I can guarantee you she probably did not read every word of the yearbook. Should she have? yes, but thats just not the way it works. I can assure you guys that this isnt some horrible plot to ‘put someone in their place’ or whatever.

    It was a thoughtless description by a 15-17 year old more likely than not, who probably didnt think of the consequences.

  21. JSharpe says:

    It makes me sick to think that as hard as this young Lady worked to make a name for her self that “black girl” was all they could think to call her.
    What sickens me more is the weak explaination and tired [half hearted] were sorry that was given to her. There are not many national honor society members at most schools, to find her name should have only taken a few minutes. Between the student advisers the counselers and school administration someone knew her name.
    But what is realy sad is people making excusses for all those who dropped the ball.
    lets just call it what it is, WRONG.

    Every child deserves better even if they dont look like us.

  22. Paul says:

    OK, all you conspiracy theorists, stop and breathe for just a moment; then you can begin frothing at the mouth once again.

    Just for the record, I live “down there” in the “small town” of Waxahachie, Texas. Waxahachie is a fast-growing community with a current population in excess of 20,000. The High School currently has 1,923 students enrolled in grades 9-12 on two campuses, 15.3% of whom are African-American (57.5% are White, 26.2% Hispanic, 0.5% Asian/Pacific Islander, and 0.5% Native American).

    To Larry Grant (the Texan): You can “fear” all you want that “the ‘error’ was intentional”. You still don’t have a clue what you are talking about. As for your blatantly ridiculous comment about all the “‘good old boys’ around those parts who like to dress up in their Confederate uniforms and fight again and again the Civil War” … you would do well to heed a piece of advice I ran across years ago. “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.” You have removed all doubt.

    To Legrone Thompson, RE: “I don’t think that anyone has said that everyone associated with the whole Yearbook Staff is a future Klansmen, just like you cannot say one Gang Member in the family makes the whole family gang member …”. So, are you suggesting that the person who put the “Black Girl” label in the yearbook IS a future Klansman, even though you are graciously giving everyone else on the yearbook staff a pass? And, by the way, congratulations that in your graduating class of “maybe 200 members if that”, “everyone knew Legrone.” You seem to be rather proud of that fact. (I just love it when people refer to themselves in the third person.) Just for the record, Waxahachie High School has a Senior Class of 339.

    To BSDetector, RE: “This clearly shows that when they look at her, all they see is a ‘Black Girl.’ Not an honor student, with a name. But a ‘Black Girl.'” You might be interested to know, Mr. self-proclaimed “BSDetector”, that the particular section of the yearbook which included the offending National Honor Society picture had two student editors: a Hispanic girl and an African-American girl. Yeah, I’m sure that these two students saw her as nothing but a “Black Girl”. And isn’t it amazing how you can “clearly” know this, without even having known who “they” are? You must have amazing psychic abilities! I would suggest that you apply your “BSDetector” to some of your own comments prior to posting them, so that you can detect some of your own BS. As for your comment that “we obviously still have much further to go in the small towns of America” … oh, yeah, New York City and Chicago and Philadelphia and Washington DC “clearly” don’t have any of the horrible kinds of problems that are so appallingly evident in Hicksville USA. Wow! Your insight is astounding. I’m going to have to re-think my whole view of small-town America. You obviously know a whole lot more about my town than I do.

    To Mike Pyles (who grew up in Georgia and went to college in North Carolina): You stated, “This yearbook incident happened in Texas. Just be glad they referred to her as a ‘black’ girl. Down there, that’s real progress.” You may have just won the award for the “Stupidest Comment of the Day” (congratulations). Let’s see, immediately prior to your “down there in Texas” comment, you mentioned a local television station in North Carolina that repeatedly referred to integrated schools as “jungle schools”. You went on to say that two decades after your college days, people in your home state of Georgia still openly referred to African-Americans as “porch monkeys”. I just wish that Texas could experience the same kind of “progress” that Georgia and North Carolina have experienced. They are obviously models for the entire nation. (I find it hard to believe that you are actually stupid enough to make that combination of comments and not even notice your own blatant hypocrisy! But, hey, what do I know? I’m just a Texan!)

    To Phill: You made the bold claim that “This school’s year book organization is the stupidest club in history of the United States School System.” (That should have been “in THE history”, by the way). Sentence 2: You left out a comma between “I mean” and “how”, spelled “label” as “lable”, and ended a question with a period instead of a question mark. Sentenced 3: You misspelled “easily” as “easliy”. Sentence 4: You put quotation marks around the final “s” in “students”. What’s that all about? You also left out a comma between “recognized” and “but”, but we’ll just let that one slide. “This was an attack on her character and obviously there must have been some issue with her being the only black person in the organization.” I’m amazed that you can “obviously” know so much about the motives, character, and racially derogatory intent of someone simply by two little words (“Black Girl”), without even knowing anything about who wrote and edited those words, including their own ethnic background (see my comment above directed to BSDetector). The remaining three sentences of your post contain at least 5 errors (spelling, punctuation, and an incorrect use of an indefinite article). You claim that the Waxahachie High School year book organization is stupid, while you forcefully demonstrate your own overwhelming ignorance of the proper use of the English language. You cannot even properly edit nine sentences of your own writing in an inexcusably lame post to an Internet blog, yet you have absolutely no mercy for ONE yearbook sponsor who missed TWO WORDS that should have been changed in a yearbook containing more than 340 pages and literally thousands upon thousands of words. And then you conclude by stating, “This was an ‘MALICIOUS’ attack on her character and this should not go as unpunsihed.” AN malicious attack? Go as UNPUNSIHED? What exactly does “unpunsihed” mean? Oh, I bet you meant “unpunished”. Learn to spell, for crying out loud! The Bible says, “with what judgment you judge, you will be judged”. Dude, good luck with that whole judgment thing! You’re going to need it!

    This whole incident has been characterized as a blatantly racial slur purposely directed at “Black Girl”. Should those words have been printed in the yearbook? ABSOLUTELY NOT! She deserved to have her name printed in all its glory just like every other National Honor Society student, and that didn’t happen. And that is a crying shame. And school administrators at both the district level and the school level have apologized to the girl and her parents. Teachers have apologized. Yearbook staff members have apologized. Public apologies have been made. The school has contacted the yearbook publisher and made arrangements to correct the mistake. (As of this writing, I don’t know all the specific details of the plan, but they have publicly announced that the affected pages will be reprinted.)

    Yet, news reports all over the country and ignorant blog commentators continue to characterize people they don’t even know as racist hicks, and cry out in violent tones that heads should roll and this heinous crime should not go “as unpunsihed”. Get a grip, people!

    And just in case some of you still think that “down here” in all of the “small towns” of Texas, all the white kids are racist Klan members who hate all the minority kids and intentionally seek out every opportunity to defame their character and put them in their place … let me share just a few more facts with you as I close.

    The student staff of the WHS Yearbook includes two African-Americans, one Hispanic, and one Asian-American. This year’s Homecoming Queen was a beautiful African-American young lady who was selected by the entire student body (57.5% of whom are white), and she is also one of two African-American girls on the Varsity Cheerleading Squad. The “Most _____” and “Most Likely To _____” awards, which were decided by a vote of the students, included awards to 12 African-American and 5 Hispanic students. Minority students are represented in the Class Officers of all four classes. In the sports and organizations sections of the yearbook, there are more than 65 group pictures listing the individual names of people in the picture, and which include one or more minority students in the picture (most groups actually included quite a few minority students). The National Honor Society picture with the words “Black Girl” is the ONLY picture in the whole bunch in which such a mistake was made. That blows your whole stupid conspiracy theory right out of the water. Doesn’t it?

    So stop, relax, take a deep breath … and be a little more ready to give someone the benefit of the doubt next time you read a news story like the “Waxahachie Black Girl” story. Some day, you might need someone to give YOU the benefit of the doubt.

  23. RK says:

    I worked on the yearbook as well as other publications in high school. If a student is unidentifiable, it is the job of the staff to go to the club advisor and request the name. If they really wanted to use a place holder, how about “unknown student” or just leave a blank spot to fill in with a pencil before the final draft is sent for printing. Whether the caption was printed in error or with any malicious intent, it is something that a RESPONSIBLE teacher or faculty advisor should have noticed and corrected before the yearbook was put out. Such NEGLIGENCE should not occur in such a modern country such as the US.

  24. eric says:

    I also was a student at Waxahachie High School. Granted, it has been a while since I graduated, but im sure things haven’t changed that much from when i attended. For all of you who think that this is a racial remark and the “good ‘ol boys” are out to raise some hell, let me tell you that you couldn’t be any further from the truth. It seems that everyone always wants to find anything bad in a situation and dwell on it. I honestly hope i dont ever meet any of yall who think that this was intentional. It was a MISTAKE, get the f#$k over it. see i am in the military and by me risking my life i get to come back to the states and see how some people take freedom for granted. Im pretty sure that most of yall who are making a big deal about this are people who have nothing better to do than b*&^h and complain about every little thing that isnt politically correct in our country. if waxahachie was some hickish redneck town it would make the news for more than a high school yearbook screw up. it seems like everyone is trying to make a bigger deal out of this than the death in Jasper texas. do yall remember that one or do yall just b%$#h and moan about something for so long and then just totally forget about it. yes she was done wrong, but it was a mistake, and all of yall are trying to claim that whenever you were between the ages of 14 and 18 (which is the age group of a highschool student) you never made a mistake. well hell if yall are so damn perfect then why dont you make it known and try to run everything.

  25. chevria says:

    Well, I think that we all (all colors) remember the dranging death in Jasper Texas and that is why alot of people think what they think of Texas. I do think that this was not a mistake. Why “black girl”? That is all you see? Yes it was only on the honor society picture. Why? Because she was the only black face on that picture so we will humiliate her and show her that she has not “arrived” !

  26. Mike Pyles says:

    To believe this incident was an accident or oversight, you’d have to believe that the editors knew or could easily find the name of every single person in the Honor Society except the one person who was not white. One excuse given was that she had an “unusual” name. Why did that make it harder to ascertain her name?

    Contrary to what Eric might think, I do not take freedom for granted. But I happen to believe that freedom carries the responsibility to admit all members of a society into full participation. And, having spent much of my life in the South, I know too much about how the culture there makes entry into full participation difficult for some people.

    I found a case in Texas a few years back to be very telling in this regard. A high school exchange student from Japan was dressed in a tuxedo for his school prom. He showed up at the wrong house to pick up his date, where he was shot dead on the front porch. The owner of the house was acquitted by a jury who, appying the “community standard of reasonableness”, found it reasonable in that community for someone to feel so threatened by a formally-dressed Japanese teenager ringing his doorbell that deadly force was justified.

    This kind of logic only makes sense if one accepts that we should fear people who are not like ourselves.

    I do not buy the story that it was hard to identify this girl (alone among the hundreds of other people photographed in the yearbook) any more than I buy the story that we need to maintain armed vigilance against foreign teenagers in tuxedos.

  27. Billie Bad says:

    WHATEVER. It is not my intention to downplay the incident (as it could have been offensive towards this young lady) but EVERYONE else needs to get over it and move on. I am a black woman from South Georgia. I now reside in South Florida and I have seen my fair share of racism.

    In a case as such, I would not immediately say this was a racist act (just because it included the word black). After all, the student editors are KIDS and we all know kids can be cruel. From what I understand, they were ‘minorites.’ Though distasteful, I would not agree that it was racist.

    Think about it people. How may times have you described someone based on their outer appearances? If you say that you have never said out of your mouth fat girl/boy, white guy/girl, black guy/girl, skinny chick/dude, bald guy, shorty, free willy, big Sally, lanky Linda, one-eyed Jack, lady with the limp or some other descriptive term…’re lying to yourself. For those who are honest enough to say that they have used one of the terms….ask yourself, did you intend to offend? Probably not.

    As stated before, this incident was very distasteful. There is not enough evidence for me to believe that it might have been malicious. It’s possible, but I guess only the people involved will truly know. The staff advisor, on the other hand, should have caught this error before it was printed. An error as such could be damaging to this young lady’s self esteem (especially now that so many people are crying foul).

  28. chevria says:

    Well “BIllY BAD”, you are a complete idiot. Get some knowledge. Your statement is completely asinine. Wake up, you are in the “Real World”. Racism does exist. For you to say that yeah kids can be cruel, yup, they can. That type of behavior is learned at home and obviously we know that there are racist kids at this school with racist parents at home, that will particiapte in cruel behavior such as this incident. Wake up “Black Girl” a.k.a “Billy Bad” !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  29. -ME says:

    As I have read these comments, I realize how quick we “black folks” are to come up with a conspiracy theory. I am one of the most pro-black people that many know but for some reason this story doesnt want to make me want to protest, call the NAACP, or even write a letter to my congressman. Being in leadership, I realize how the mistake of one person can cause all to suffer for it. I honestly think that this was ONE student who put in this place holder and had the responsibility of making sure that it was changed. They dropped the ball and the yearbook went to print. Now we have this controversy and someone has to answer for it.

    My question is… What if the editor of the yearbook is a black girl…or the person who put the placeholder there? If this were true, would we all change our tone? Would we then accuse the yearbook staff of being rednecks or future klansmen?

    While I am left to watch this on CNN… I would rather hear about the number of black families without healthcare…the achievement gap… black athletes not graduating from college…degradation of the environment…financial security…black people creating wealth… Im sure you get my point.

    The school district issued an apology and recalled all of the books while I am sure that this is absolutely mortifying for Shadoyia, I dont think that it garners the attention that it’s receiving. Just one girls opinion…it’s okay for yours to differ.

  30. Mike Pyles says:

    Thanks for the calming voice, ME. A lot of us — myself included — jumped too rabidly up on the soapbox on this story. For my part, it arises from my growing frustration at the resurgence of intolerance in the U.S. these days, and I see so much of it coming from the evangelical strains that are most concentrated in the South. But that’s really a sermon for another day and another place. This story about a high school yearbook picture cannot bear the weight.

  31. lachelle says:

    First of all I think the editor should be the one in the hot seat for letting the book get published like that. He and the school should have realized that this would cause problems for not only the school but for society. I think it was poor judgment and very rude. I just want to say one thing about racism. I am a black female with four children. I don’t teach them to hate any other race I teach them to be all they can be because life is so full of judgment but when we all realize that there is only one God then things like this wouldn’t happen. When we stop teaching our kids to hate people for different reasons whether it be race or because shes too fat or her hair is to wild it could be anything. Then I believe hate would stop. If you put a Black kid, a White kid, a Mexican, a Jewish person, an Asian child or whatever their race might be, in the same room they will all play together. But, when you get little Jimmy at home and say we don’t talk to dark people or people that looks like this and explain to him why, Thats when we have racism.

  32. Betty Hart says:

    I’ve been in Ms. Jones’ shoes. It’s discomforting enough being usually “the only one” in such organizations, without the additional attention and embarassment of this kind of incident. You have no way of knowing what the intentions were–one way or the other. That’s the unfortunate, debilitating aspect: it makes you question whatever ambitions, beliefs, or hope you may have had for being equal in the regard of others. Get used to it, Shadoyia, but don’t you believe it for a minute!

  33. dora jackson says:

    P-l-e-a-s-e RECALL ALL yearbooks & issue COMPLETE new Yearbook. To assume that corrected pages w/b inserted is a stretch on decency for students and/or parents..AND some will intentionally hold onto the originally printed book. Again we see color much too readily & this is the face of Americans b/f others set foot on our shores.Congratulations Shadoyia Jones – try not to let this deflate you. A mindset of a person(s) can send subliminal messages that later can be passed off as a mistake (in the case of the editorial staff at the high school)

  34. CJ says:

    CUT THE NONSENSE. Racism will never be done away with in this country. White people will laugh with you, enjoy your company, but when it’s all said and done you are still a ——. I doubt very seriously that all whites feel this way, but there are MANY (particularly here in the Dallas Metroplex) that do – and have no problem putting their feelings it on display. You see, we deal with public and even subliminal racial tension all the time, so what the hell do you think us Blacks are to assume when some bullspit like this occurs? All of you justifying this placeholder theory – to hell with that. She was the ONLY SISTA in the picture – why in the hell would her description need to be printed under it? To play with her mind, THAT’s why! Not saying that EVERYONE at that school is to be but they do say that just ONE bad seed can ruin an entire BUNCH.


  35. L Smith says:

    Inexcusable as usual. This is no different than seeing an imaginary gun. All those involved (which now includes those who would accept such a blatant lie as an excuse) should come out of their pockets, purchase a billboard with her picture, name (now that they cannot deny they know it) and “Honor Society” title, for no less than one month. June would be great.

    Press on sisters and brothers! Not everyone who is not a person of color is against you. Your excellence will be your justice!

  36. just thefacts says:

    Could someone explain why black girl was used as a place holder name ?

  37. Kayrine says:

    I know it’s difficult to have everything checked out in a yearbook. But, the names of the Honor Students should always be checked & rechecked. No excuse, unless someone just didn’t care because of the color of her skin. Recalling all the yearbooks would be the right thing to do & giving them back to the students free of charge would de the logical thing to do. An apology in the yearbook to the only “Black Girl” would be a step towards saying you made a mistake & corrected it, along with a present from the school to assist her in her future endeavors. Somehting educational & mind stimulating.

  38. Dawn says:

    To reply to MIKE PYLES’ comments about lack of “progress” in the South, it was not my experience growing up in the South that southerners are any more bigoted than Northerners. I grew up in Memphis, where a man from E. St. Louis, IL, stalked Martin Luther King Jr. and participated in a conspiracy to assassinate him that some think included the federal government. Illinois is the North, dear. I got through the 1960s as a child and the 1970s as a teen never hearing the N word except on television until I went to college and visited the family of my best friend in Chicago. That was my first time to hear people use that word; it was unacceptable in Memphis by the time I knew what the word meant and had had the school bang it into our heads it was a bad word, but in 1980 in Chicago, I ran into a bigot family. Then in the mid 1980s, I was back in Memphis and an acquaintance who’d moved from Detroit used the word “yard monkey” and “porch monkey” in my presence and learned that wasn’t acceptable to me. I think he came around and later eventually voted for an African American’s second term in office after being a bigot during the first term of the mayor.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the people you heard saying “porch monkey” were from the North because that is not a Southern phrase; I never heard the term till the late 1980s out of the mouth of a Detroit Vietnam veteran. There are plenty of rude Northern bigots who move to the South, Mike. As to the story at hand, I have no idea if this was a case of racism or not, but I doubt seriously that if it was racism, it represented more than one or two jerks at the school. There are bigots in every part of the United States. In the North, where there were anti-busing anti-integration riots in Boston, Chicago, NY, and Detroit in the 1970s, they like to forget their own racist heritage and laugh it up whenever they can find something the least bit smacking of continued racism in the South but there were lynchings in NY even as far back as the 1860s riots there, and the North has nothing to brag about regarding racism; they have as big a racist heritage as the South, with more hypocrisy involved because they’re blind to their own flaws and use the South as a scapegoat for stereotyping.

  39. Dawn says:

    As for the yearbook incident, it seems to me that it is unlikely to have been deliberate because it makes all the students at the school look very stupid. It wasn’t done to “play with her mind,” as someone said here. It makes the whole school look like complete idiots within the school and outside it and totally ruins the yearbook. There is no one who would have looked at that and laughed at anyone except the idiot who made the error. Generally in the South mistakes like that are considered huge mistakes for the very reason that we have such a bad history from the Civil War days. It is not treated lightly, and certainly I was trained as a child and teen at my schools that it was not tolerated to be racist. There are organizations in the South like The Institute for Healing Racism (or it used to be around in the 1990s) for that very reason, because the South is more attuned to the issues due to the troubled past and the great concentration of an integrated population there.

    I do not imply the South has no problems compared to the North — they both do. It’s just that all this hand wringing done by arrogant people from outside the South as though the people in Texas at that school aren’t horrified too by the mistake is ridiculous. I am sure there is a good deal of genuine horror and outrage at that school over the incident, and if they discover there was racism involved, this “Waxahachie” district will need to retrain their students about the sickness of racism, in case the teachers had thought by 2005 there were no issues any more. I should add that the South had a good deal of integration among people marrying and among music bands as early as the 1950s and 1960s with Booker T. and the MG’s, many other groups, and the leader of the MG’s married to Rita Coolidge’s sister back in the 1960s in the South. People viewing the South as behind the North neglect to perceive that much of the integration that was brought into the culture through the music and pop culture world came through the music industry influence of R&B and pop acts of the 1960s and 1970s from Stax (southern record label) and Motown that included integrated bands. So please can the corn about Southern stereotypes. I’m a bit tired of seeing people rehash the usual Northern superiority about the South being more backwards. There have been plenty of incidents of racism in the North the past decade, including blacks being shot for pulling out a wallet in the North (or pulled over for DWB – driving while black), demonstrably not a merely Southern phenomenon.

  40. Mike Pyles says:

    Dawn, dear . . . . I have lived overseas and in 8 states (4 northern, 3 southern, and 1 western). I currently own homes in Chicago and Florida. While I freely acknowledge that bigotry exists everywhere, there are DEFINITELY regional differences in its tone, frequency, and range of manifestations. I have found both bigotry and religion to be more intertwined and more in-your-face in the south than anywhere else I have lived. It’s just an opinion, I know. But it’s an opinion from someone who has lived more places over a longer period of time than most people.

  41. M. Leach, Ed.D. says:

    Where are we? What year is this? How can a school insult its’ students, community, and every U.S. citizen who is aware of this ignorant mistake. Clearly administrators and those responsible for the production of this yearbook are incompetent and should be relieved of their duties. “Sorry” it was a mistake and/or error are no longer acceptable explanations for the disregard we demonstrate to Student of Color in this nation. Educators, administrators, and policy makers should be held accountable for their actions. There a many lessons for the White people in this county and this community to learn how their lack of sensitivity to student diversity is harmful to the very core of the Students of Color.

    Texas is not alone in this harmful practice, one only has to look at every school in every school district in this country and see how differences are ignored, not tolerated, unaccepted, and totally misunderstood.

    The lack of awareness White citizens have of the privileges afforded to them simply because of the color of their skin is a critical issue in the country.

    Until White people learned what their “whiteness” means to themselves and to People of Color, this country will continue to have examples of Shadoyia.

    How sad we are as a Nation.

  42. Paul says:

    Dear M. Leach, Ed.D.:

    How utterly pathetic that a DOCTOR OF EDUCATION calls other educators ignorant and incompetent, while demonstrating his or her own incompetence in the correct use of the written language. Your post is filled with errors (grammatical errors, misuse of punctuation, run-on sentences, and verb tense inconsistencies).

    Even more pathetic, however, is the broad brush with which you paint your picture of rampant racial discrimination in this country, while revealing in those very same words your own blatant racism. You talk all throughout your ranting diatribe about lessons that White people need to learn, about “the lack of awareness White citizens have of the privileges afforded to them simply because of the color of their skin”, and about the need for White people to learn what their “whiteness” means to themselves and to People of Color. Look in the mirror, dude! You are the racist!

    You are saying that all White people are alike, that they are all insensitive to the needs of “People of Color”, that they are all racists, that none of them have a clue what “their whiteness” means (OK, maybe you’re right about that one, because I certainly have no clue what you are talking about!). And, according to your accusations, the one thing that gives all of these people this embarrassing list of detestable character traits is THE COLOR OF THEIR SKIN! They are White, therefore they are bad!

    You are a much worse racist, and a much bigger hypocrite, than ANYONE involved in the yearbook fiasco. Why? Because your words have left no doubt about your overtly racist mind set. You have openly admitted that you think all White people are alike simply because their skin is white. NO ONE involved in the yearbook blunder has even come close to that. In fact, you seem to assume that everyone in the yearbook chain of command who should have caught and corrected the “error” was White. You actually come right out and accuse everyone involved of having “disregard” for “Student of Color” (the failure to pluralize “students” is your error, not mine). You call for people to be relieved of their duties, because allowing this sort of thing to happen and then simply apologizing for it is “no longer acceptable”. Well, guess what, Mr. or Ms. Self-Righteous Doctor of Education. One of the two student editors who was responsible for proofreading the yearbook section which contained the offending description was a “Student of Color” (to use your words). The other editor of this section was a Hispanic student. Should they be relieved of their duties due to their blatant racist attitudes toward “Students of Color”? If not, why not? Or, are only White people capable of being racist?

    Shadoyia graduated last night and received a rousing applause from black and white audience members alike. Afterwards, she was warmly greeted and hugged and offered congratulations and well-wishes (as were ALL of the graduates) by students and adults both black and white (and people of other ethnic backgrounds as well). At the “Project Graduation” party given for the graduates by a racially-mixed committee of their parents, black and white and Hispanic and Asian students all had a lot of fun TOGETHER! There was no racial tension in the air. Shadoyia was there and seemed to be enjoying the night immensely.

    IT’S YOU PEOPLE WHO KEEP BRINGING THIS SITUATION UP WHO HAVE THE PROBLEM! Shadoyia and her family have expressed appreciation and acceptance of the school district’s apologies and their correcting of the faulty yearbook page. Yes, a mistake was made. Yes, it was extremely unfortunate. But those who were actually personally affected are leading the way in putting this incident to rest and moving on with their lives. They are not demanding that people be fired from their jobs. They are satisfied that proper restitution has been made.

    So, that’s it. End of story. Case closed. You are now free to go find something else to rant and rave about. Only, next time, do a little bit of proofreading of your own first … both for grammatical and other “technical” errors (after all, you are a Doctor of Education, and you seem to be pretty proud of that fact since you flash your credentials at the end of your name; learn to write like someone who is educated); and, more importantly, for consistency of thought and lack of blatant hypocrisy in the accusations you so readily throw at others.

  43. Robert says:

    Wow?? Is this a little stong?? We are talking about a 16 or 17 year old student. Not one person on this message board can say they have never made a mistake. It’s so east to point at a person for being wrong instead of forgiving a high student for a dumb mistake. Maybe I am from Waxahachie, but I am not racist because I attended high school there. Again, don’t judge a book from its cover and look at the reality of the situation. Its not hard if you open your eyes.

  44. chevria says:


  45. Michael says:

    There is no way in the world that this was a mistake. This was a cruel, demented, evil and deliberate act driven . . .DRIVEN! by jeolousy and racism by racists “white girls”. Who exactly did this? What is the name of the white girl who did this? This is the members of the National Honor Society. It should be very easy to acquire their names. The name of the white people were found. You damn right this was a conspiracy. Everyone along the chain of auditing saw that situation and allowed it to go to print.

    Thats like creating a photograph of the US Supreme Court and putting a placeholder there to represent Justice Clarence Thomas. Then saying you did not know his name.

    It was their job to find his name. They found everyone elses name! That is just another testament of how sick, evil and demented the mind of white people really are. To do this to a child. I am sure this has a long-term affect on the psychology of the child. Maybe if we are lucky the white girl who did it, will catch AIDS and die or something. All the adults who had anything to do with that school and its yearbook should resign or be fired.

  46. Paul says:

    No, chevria, actually I probably have a lot less time on my hands than you do. However, I do MAKE time for things that are important.

    I made time to attend the Commencement Ceremony for the Waxahachie High School Class of 2005 because my daughter would have graduated that night along with her classmates. She didn’t make it to graduation, though, because she died of cancer at age 14. While she was still alive, however, she and Shadoyia were friends. My wife and I also attended (and helped chaperone) the graduation party, because we wanted to be there for our daughter’s classmates, including Shadoyia, and because we wanted to participate in the special activities that would have been part of our daughter’s senior year experience.

    I MADE the time to write my two previous posts (both during the wee hours of the morning), and I took a LOT of time to think through my thoughts clearly, research my facts thoroughly, and choose my words very carefully … because I thought that perhaps a look at some of the actual FACTS of the case might help some of the rabid hate-mongers like you and Michael and so many others to stop and think for at least a moment before spewing out your putrid vomit of hateful words. I was obviously completely mistaken.

    How do YOU know, sitting miles away, that at the graduation ceremony and then at the party, “EVERYONE ACTED AS THEY SHOULD HAVE. IT WAS I GUESS ‘POLITICALY CORRECT’!” You were accidentally honest with two of those words: “I GUESS”. That’s all you CAN do, is GUESS! That’s all you ARE doing, is GUESSING! In fact, in your feeble attempt to take Shadoyia’s side, you have actually besmirched her good name and questioned her character. You assume that she was just smiling on the outside in order to be politically correct. Oh, really? So, have you talked to Shadoyia and has she confided in you her inner angst and the utter turmoil deep within her soul over this incident? Or are you simply GUESSING? How do you know that she is not a person of much greater integrity and true character than you are? You have assumed that the statements that she and her family have made publicly – acceptance of the school district’s sincere apology and of their painstaking effort to correct the mistake – are merely “politically correct” statements and do not accurately reflect their true feelings. You are calling them liars! And is this because you KNOW these things to be true? NO! It’s because you are GUESSING!

    You told Billie Bad (while misspelling her name twice) that she is “a complete idiot”. Read YOUR OWN WORDS, chevria, and then look in the mirror. You told Billie Bad to “get some knowledge”. Let’s see, Billie Bad is a complete idiot because she makes statements that are not based on actual KNOWLEDGE! (Your words “I GUESS” come immediately to my mind.) Again, READ YOUR OWN WORDS, and then look in the mirror. “That type of behavior is learned at home and obviously we know that there are racist kids at this school with racist parents at home, that will particiapte in cruel behavior such as this incident.” You don’t “obviously know” ANYTHING that you have claimed to know about this incident. All of your accusations are mere “asinine” assumptions based on either a lack of knowledge of, or a blatant disregard for, the true facts. Listen to your ridiculous words, chevria! You are accusing kids you don’t even know of being racist, and saying that they “obviously” learned their racist tendencies from their parents (who you also don’t know). I really want to believe, chevria, that you are not as big a fool as your words make you sound.

  47. Paul says:

    Hey, Michael! Dude, you seriously need to put down the crack pipe next time before you attempt to write words that actually make sense. I mean, it is OK for me to assume that you smoke crack, isn’t it? It only seems fair, in light of the assumptions you made about other people in your post.

    Let’s start with your assumption that this “cruel, demented, evil and deliberate act” was “driven . . .DRIVEN! by jeolousy and racism by racists ‘white girls’.” Dude, that must be some wickedly sick crack you are smoking (assuming that it is still OK for me to assume that you are a crack-head). I mean, not only do you know that it was more than one kid who did this, and that they were racist and jealous, you even know that they were girls, and that they were white! (OK, now take another puff and tell me HOW MANY “white girls” there were. In fact, while you are pulling facts out of thin air, what were their names? HEY! It just occurred to me. The yearbook staff should all come over to your house next time and smoke crack, and then maybe they’ll know everything about everyone in the yearbook, including their names! It sure seems to make YOU able to know things that you couldn’t possibly know otherwise.)

    Next, you assume (although, from your extremely strong language, you seem to know rather than assume) that “this was a conspiracy”, and that “everyone along the chain of auditing saw that situation and allowed it to go to print.” OK, wake up for just a minute, Mr. Crack-Head. Listen very carefully. One of the people “along the chain of auditing” was an African-American girl! She was one of the yearbook editors who “saw that situation and allowed it to go to print” (following YOUR assumption about motive and intent). So, does her head roll as well? Hey, I bet, as part of this grand conspiracy, that she is really a racist “white girl” who painted herself black at birth and took up residence with a Black family all through her childhood just so that she could be part of this conspiracy in high school and let this “cruel, demented, evil and deliberate act” happen. Man, some people will do anything to be part of a conspiracy! We are still assuming that this was a conspiracy, aren’t we?

    Don’t you just HATE racist people? Of course, there is nothing wrong with your statement, “That is just another testament of how sick, evil and demented the mind of white people really are.” Saying that ALL WHITE PEOPLE are “sick, evil and demented” doesn’t make YOU a racist, does it? Certainly not! (Michael takes another long drag on the crack pipe, sits back, and smiles proudly as he contemplates his own superiority to all white people.)

    And, hoping that “the white girl who did it, will catch AIDS and die or something” … that’s not nearly as “cruel, demented,” and “evil” as these stinkin’ “white girls” who intentionally participated in this evil conspiracy. No, there’s nothing evil or sick or demented about hoping someone will catch AIDS and die.

    But the kicker has got to be your advice on how to handle this problem. “All the adults who had anything to do with that school and its yearbook should resign or be fired.” Man, you are a genius! You should be an advisor to Kings and Presidents (or at least a high-dollar consultant to sick, racist, white school districts)! Why didn’t anyone else think of your solution? Fire every principal, assistant principal, office worker, security guard, teacher, aide, janitor, librarian, and everyone else “who had anything to do with that school”. Wipe the slate completely clean. NOBODY gets to keep their job! Then, hire a whole brand new set of school personnel in the next month-and-a-half so that they will be ready for the first day of school in August. That certainly SOUNDS do-able! Doesn’t it? Huh? Doesn’t it? I stand in complete awe of your utter brilliance! (NOT!)

    Just like so many others, Michael, you cry “RACIST” at the top of your lungs, without even being smart enough to realize that the word fits you much better than it fits any of those at whom you point your pathetic little finger. I guess the world will always have crack-heads like you. The really sad thing is, people like YOU do as much to keep alive the evils of racism and bigotry, as anyone who is on the receiving end of your rabid accusations.

    On second thought, don’t put down the crack pipe. There are enough people out here who can actually differentiate between reality and fantasy, that we’ll just let you keep living in your own pathetic little crack-induced fantasy world where all white people are inherently sick, evil and demented, and where you are the king of the universe. We humbly bow before your majestic throne, O Great One! (Puff, puff)