Another Stereotype of the Month entry:
Racial taunts spark debate
Posted: March 03, 2003 -- 8:50am EST
by: Gail K. Pechuli / Correspondent / Indian Country Today
SHOW LOW, Ariz. -- Show Low high school students attempting to ignite school spirit instead blared racist remarks during a basketball game against visiting Alchesay High School from the Fort Apache Reservation on Feb. 4.
In what was to be a well-known chant during a timeout huddle, the students substituted their own malicious words directed at Alchesay fans, "We pay taxes, yes we do, We pay taxes, how about you!"
Alchesay fans were stunned. The students then wanted a prompt response, frantically waving their hands for attention.
Show Low's athletic director managed to halt the remarks after a Whiteriver school board member condemned the incident.
According to Show Low school superintendent Norlis McKay, the students told the athletic director that it was meant to be "funny" and a "joke."
The remarks ensued after a player/parent altercation occurred at the freshman boy's game when an Alchesay player fired a corner shot to the net. There was a brief contact with Show Low team members in which a Show Low adult fan became entangled.
Observing the heightening emotions, the player's mother collected her son and left the gymnasium. It may have appeared on videotape that they were followed to the parking lot by several other Show Low fans.
Superintendent McKay referred the incident to the Show Low Police Department along with the taped incident. Currently, it is under investigation by the police.
The Whiteriver school district referred both incidents to the Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) that governs high school sporting events throughout the state and enforces regulations. The district's requests to the AIA to pursue sanctions against Show Low, include a reprimand and a conference league change.
The Whiteriver school district stated they will pursue charges against the Show Low spectator, pending the investigation.
In a press statement released Feb. 11 to area newspapers, Show Low High School Administration prepares to be "… in the process of taking corrective action to repair this inappropriate activity and appropriate proactive action…"
In lieu of this incident, the freshman girl's basketball game was cancelled and the varsity boy's game was rescheduled to a neutral location at Round Valley High School, some 50 miles away from each town.
That Indians don't pay taxes is a common stereotype. But the student tax chant is also a sign of deep-seated hostility. That isn't funny or a joke.
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