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Black Arkansas Student Forced to Share Valedictorian


Alecto

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http://thefreshxpress.com/2011/08/afric ... e-of-race/

According to 18-year-old Kymberly Wimberly she was forced to share the title of Valedictorian at McGehee Secondary School’s May graduation all because she was African-American. Wimberly who has filed a federal lawsuit against the McGehee School District, its superintendent and her high school principal stated that she had the highest GPA of her graduating class, however she was not allowed to be the sole Valedictorian. Wimberly was forced to share the spotlight with a co-valedictorian; a white student with a lower GPA.

Both students were allowed to speak at the graduation even though Wimberly’s grade point average was the highest of any student in the McGehee Secondary School Class of 2011.

Wimberly, along with her mother Molly Bratton, believe that the school did not want Wimberly representing the school as Valedictorian because she was African-American and a single mother. Bratton was also blocked from addressing the school board about the issue until after the graduation ceremony.

Being from the Arkansas delta, I am not surprised in the least at this. I think this girl's race as well as the fact she had a kid played a HUGE part in their decision, and the fact she was barred from addressing the school board makes it even more hinky, though I do wonder if the single mother part played a greater role. After all, we can't have sluts who have kids out of wedlock be any kind of role model, right? sarcasm>

This kind of thing, sadly, isn't anything new. The high school I would have attended if I'd not gone to boarding school had an African American girl elected homecoming queen for the first time in the mid 90's, and the school decided to do a white and black queen to not upset the majority white town and school.

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You and I must have had similar thoughts. I read your post on Sundown Towns and wanted to discuss racism in the United States more in depth so I started a thread at the same exact time that you started this one.

Luckily, I live in a racially diverse community but I know that racism exist. In the case of the Valedictorian, the school will claim other reasons for forcing her to share her honor. I don't doubt that being a single, black mother was a big factor but I don't see how she can prove it. Perhaps her lawsuit will prevent the school from doing this to another young person

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Honestly, I hope she gets her case heard in federal court, specifically in Helena/West Helena, where the juries have a history of ruling very fairly on racial discrimination lawsuits.

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If she's suing under federal law, she ought to be in federal court. I find this particularly appalling not just because of the racial aspect, but also the teenage mother aspect. So, our teen moms should be flitting around worrying more about their ex-boyfriends, getting high, getting arrested and dropping out of school ala Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant, but if they aspire to something better, like getting the best GPA in the school, punish them for their success? Sucks. If it's true (and I'm sure it probably is) I hope she wins and wins big.

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In any case you can't discriminate any more based on the fact that she's a single mother than on the fact she's black. Both are types of discrimination. I hope she wins.

Sometimes people are just incredibly annoyingly set on their idea and don't want to look at how their practices are discriminatory. In my former university, when I pointed out that the department was not attributing PhD honoris causa on a fair gender base they were like well there are less women in high spheres, blablabla, riiiiight because there are only 50 people who deserve those stupid titles in the world right? And those are all PhDs.... in poli sci and law!

Racism will take a long time to disappear, social inequalities are greatly racialized in the US (and in many other countries too). I live in a college town where the students are not very diversified at all, and yet there are many black and hispanic families in the town, none of them have kids in this college.... maybe no one say slurs at them, but society is sure organized along racist divides (like all white families put their kids in the private schools because public schools are so bad - students there are in majority black and this escape from public school isn't helping any...).

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That is appalling. I know in some places the discrimination would be more due to the fact of her being a teen mother, but in either case this is awful. I hope she wins.

Props to her for managing to be valedictorian while being a mother in high school, though; she must be an extraordinary student.

Also I have to say the first thing that struck me in the article was that the poor girl's name is Kymberly Wimberly. That's unfortunate. :?

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If she's suing under federal law, she ought to be in federal court. I find this particularly appalling not just because of the racial aspect, but also the teenage mother aspect. So, our teen moms should be flitting around worrying more about their ex-boyfriends, getting high, getting arrested and dropping out of school ala Teen Mom and 16 & Pregnant, but if they aspire to something better, like getting the best GPA in the school, punish them for their success? Sucks. If it's true (and I'm sure it probably is) I hope she wins and wins big.

This, exactly.

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Heaven forbid we show students an example of someone overcoming their past mistakes and being successful. Apparently when people make dumb decisions, they're just supposed to give up on life.

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I've heard a lot of "OMG WHY IS SHE SUING" but by doing this, the school actually deprived her financially. Most of the universities in Arkansas offer significant scholarships to the valedictorian of a high school.

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Heaven forbid we show students an example of someone overcoming their past mistakes and being successful. Apparently when people make dumb decisions, they're just supposed to give up on life.

No shit. Had she made different choices, she'd be lumped as a statistic. Instead, she had priorities and goals and intelligence and did not allow the fact that she had a child turn her into something or someone she isn't. She persevered and tried and worked hard and did what was right and best for herself.

I have a weird feeling that she disappointed every last person who had low expectations for her. She doesn't fulfill anyone's stereotype and that has to really kill those who hold to them.

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Also I have to say the first thing that struck me in the article was that the poor girl's name is Kymberly Wimberly. That's unfortunate.

This. It sounds like something out of a book for preschoolers :roll:

That said, if it's true, it's deplorable behavior. I remember hearing, during the Constance McMillan prom drama, that there was a school in MS that didn't have a desegregated prom until 2008 :shock: I live in the south, but the level of blatant racism that you sometimes hear about is really shocking.

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Guest Anonymous

The school also wasted a splendid opportunity to advance her as a role model. She could have been an example to her peers, that making a dumb decision early in life doesn't have to be the end for you and that it is still possible to make something of yourself. And like another poster said, this could cost her money, by affecting her scholarship eligibility. I hope she wins, and wins big.

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Was the white student called the salutatorian? If so, they are generally also asked to speak. Also, were the classes weighted? At my high school honors classes were given more weight so that our valedictorians (yeah, we had like 6 of them) had GPA's over 4.0. Is it possible that the white student had a lower GPA but the weighted courses bumped it up so it was equal?

If those issues weren't the case, then I hope she sues the hell out of the school district for discrimination.

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Was the white student called the salutatorian? If so, they are generally also asked to speak. Also, were the classes weighted? At my high school honors classes were given more weight so that our valedictorians (yeah, we had like 6 of them) had GPA's over 4.0. Is it possible that the white student had a lower GPA but the weighted courses bumped it up so it was equal?

If those issues weren't the case, then I hope she sues the hell out of the school district for discrimination.

They were both called valedictorians, and she had the higher GPA even with the weighted GPA scale.

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Was the white student called the salutatorian? If so, they are generally also asked to speak. Also, were the classes weighted? At my high school honors classes were given more weight so that our valedictorians (yeah, we had like 6 of them) had GPA's over 4.0. Is it possible that the white student had a lower GPA but the weighted courses bumped it up so it was equal?

If those issues weren't the case, then I hope she sues the hell out of the school district for discrimination.

I was wondering why the white student wasn't called salutatorian. But I have known schools like yours that multiple valedictorians. One year at my high school, two students were tied for the highest GPA so they were called co-valedictorians. I think there is a big chance that the black student and the white student in this case did take honors classes but the black student might have still had a higher GPA.

I agree if weighted GPA's weren't an issue, I hope she sues for discrimination.

Issues with valdectorian and GPA's is nothing new and often in some places people go crazy for little things. Several years ago there was the Blair Hornstine case in New Jersey that was pretty crazy.

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Heaven forbid we show students an example of someone overcoming their past mistakes and being successful. Apparently when people make dumb decisions, they're just supposed to give up on life.

What is her mistake exactly? Being black or being a teen mum??

And what has it to do with the fact that she is apparantly the best student with the best results?

What exactly are the school's arguments to let her share the 'Valedictorean?'

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