The girls' basketball team of Derby High School had an incident recently that prompted them to share a video by Black author Dr. Joy DeGruy on the topic of white privilege.
When their principal shared the same video, however, the school board lost it, forcing him to apologize, reports KMUW.
Principal Tim Hamblin shared the video with the teachers and offended at least one faculty member, leading to a school board complaint. Hamblin was then forced to apologize to the staff for sending it.
"In the short video, DeGruy talked about going to the grocery store with her sister-in-law, who has a Black and a white parent and presents as a white person, as she has blue eyes and a very fair complexion," the Daily Beast reported about the video.
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"During the store run, the cashier checked out the sister-in-law with no issue when she paid with a check. DeGruy, on the other hand, said she had to present multiple forms of identification when paying with a check," the description continues. "The cashier also double-checked to make sure that she was not on a list of people from whom not to accept checks. The situation escalated to the point where the manager had to get involved, and DeGruy’s sister-in-law called out the cashier for discrimination."
“I apologize to anyone that felt the video or its content which reference[d] white privilege made them feel uncomfortable, awkward, harassed, or that it created a hostile work environment,” Principal Hamblin said in the apology, KMUW reported.
The Kansas town of Derby has a population of under 25,000, yet it has a history of making news for racism.
Derby High School students have a history of BLM activism. In 2020 they were among few high schools in the state where nearly all of their boys basketball team took a knee during the National Anthem, the Derby Informer reported at the time.
"We did not do this because the NBA players and other pro athletes are," said Senior Blake Chadwick. “We did this because we feel that this is ultimately bigger than basketball. This was a way for us to use our voice.”
There's a history in the school of racial problems, a 2008 graduate recalled in the Derby Informer. Michelle Rico, the daughter of Brigadier General Michael Dillard, spent two years in school in Derby, and she said she was surprised by racial tensions in the school.
“I walked into the lunchroom and saw that everyone had separated themselves,” Rico recalled noting they were segregated by color. "I had never seen something like that. I was very upset, and went to the bathroom and cried about it. That was just the beginning of noticing a lot of things that would be different."
The teachers told her mother that it was always like that at Derby High School.
"No one in Derby is ever going to call someone the n-word with a hard r,” Rico said. “That’s not the type of racism people experience at Derby High School, from my personal experience.”
In 2020, Rico's father came forward talking about being Black in the town. He had years of military service but when he went to the grocery store they looked at him like he was a thief. That's the kind of casual racism that he, his daughter and other Black students, teachers and residents experience in the city.