Story Archive

Color Blind

To “build pride” at Meyer Middle School in River Falls, Wisc., home of the Wildcats, the school held a $100,000 fundraising campaign to refurbish its fitness center. It apparently promised naming rights to the biggest donors; the Royal Credit Union threw in $10,000, and the family of alum Roger T. White, who died in 1996, topped that with $15,000. Chuck Eaton, Rocky Branch Elementary School principal and spokesman for the Pride Fitness fundraising committee, thus announced the new facility, with the approval of the school board, would be called the Roger T. White Pride Fitness Room as Presented by RCU. Despite its length, “We couldn’t have had a better choice” of names, Eaton declared. But reaction was swift against the apparent racism in having “white pride” in the name. “To prevent any future misunderstanding,” Superintendent Jamie Benson announced the next day, “the fitness center will be named and referred to as the ‘Roger T. White Wildcat Fitness Room’ or the ‘Roger T. White Fitness Room as Presented by RCU’,” adding that “we know our role in teaching our children about compassion, understanding, inclusiveness, acceptance, and tolerance.” (RC/River Falls Journal) ...Knowing it, living it — two different things.
Original Publication Date: 21 February 2016
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 22.

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