Is the media hype justified over Desert Vista girls spelling out N-word?

You’ve heard about the six Desert Vista High School girls who arranged themselves so the letters on their T-shirts spelled out the N-word.

You read about it in the newspaper. You heard it on the radio. You saw it on television, and you certainly got an onslaught of tweets and alerts.

racial-1There were live trucks, with their satellite masts in the air. Some stations sent out two crews of reporters and cameras to the scene on campus where some gathered Monday to protest. It could be fairly called chaotic as reporters and cameramen scrambled after the girl and her family.

After all, it was one of the most important stories of the moment, rattling up Arizona’s collective conscience to the core.

But was it really?

Montini: N-word isn’t Desert Vista’s problem; P-word is

 No. It wasn’t the most important story of the day. It’s simply easy to inflame people’s emotions in an already racially charged society.
Yes, we do have to call out the girls’ actions. We have to question the campus and home environment that presumably made them think it was OK to behave that way.

racial-6The powerful condemnation of the girls at Desert Vista High School in the Tempe Union High District is important and shouldn’t be ignored.

My problem with this media hype and community reaction is that we take stories such as this to denounce the bigotry and call for collective tolerance, for a day or two. Then we do nothing. We quickly move onto the next thing and hardly stop to take a hard look and have a serious discussion about the root of racism.

Talking about segregated public high schools is a lot more difficult and, quite frankly, isn’t sexy enough. And calling out police departments’ hiring practice to add diversity is done only when a White officer shoots an African-American and an outcry ensue

There is no consistent and meaningful discussion about race in our society. But whose fault is it? It’s everyone’s fault.

Elvia Diaz is editor of La Voz and editorial writer for The Republic and azcentral. Reach her at 602-444-8606 or elvia.diaz@arizonarepublic.com. Follow her @elviadiaz1