Upstate New York School Under Fire Over “Racist” Snowman Post
This could've easily been a cute Facebook post showing off their students enjoying a wonderful winter activity. Unfortunately, one sentence managed to corrupt the whole post and spark outrage from the community.
"Racist" Snowman Post Receives Backlash from the Community
Yesterday, January 31st, the Coxsackie-Athens Central School District posted a picture showing off three of their students' latest creation: a playground snowman.
The school district took to Facebook to post the photo of the students and their new friend.
The caption reads:
Today's CE Fourth Grade Playground Fun! This snowman is just as diverse as our students!
Greene County, NY School District Blasted for "Tasteless" Caption About a Snowman
Since the post was put up, the school district has been under fire. People have no problem with the snowman itself, but rather the caption. Many of the comments having been attacking the school for its tone-deaf post.
Many people commented saying as people of color, they do not want to be compared to a dirty snowman. They do not want their skin color compared to mud and dirt, saying that the caption's attempt at inclusivity only feels "nonsensical" and "dehumanizing."
One comment under the post questioned,
"In what way can this be taken in a non-racist way?"
Some Facebook users are coming to the school's defense saying that it was one person's poor choice of words, and not to hate on the entire school district for it. Others have used the platform to express their dissatisfaction with the school district as a whole, and write about their negative experiences.
A few people were hoping that whoever wrote the post, despite missing the mark, thought they were saying the right thing, and not trying to be malicious. The same people also questioned if that made it worse for them not realizing how tone-deaf the caption was.
The Facebook post has since been taken down from the district Facebook page; however, screenshots are circulating on Facebook and still receiving a lot of attention.
Coxsackie-Athens School District Releases a Statement
The school posted this response to the criticism on their website on January 31st:
Today, a post was uploaded to our Facebook page that has since been deleted. The post was a picture of three kids standing next to the snowman they had created during recess. The post stated, “ This snowman is just as diverse as our students.” The word “diverse” was used to describe how every kid can make a snowman differently and this variety of creativity should be celebrated. When it was commented that this post could be interpreted about race the post was taken down.
We want to apologize and reiterate it was never intended to be hurtful. We are sincerely sorry.
We know screen shots of the post are circulating on social media and ask that the privacy of the families be respected. The district knows its responsibility for this and that is one reason we will use this as an opportunity to review our social media policies and procedures and continue our commitment to providing a learning environment where every person feels that they belong.