Reddit | neonshaun

High School Students Accused Of Racism After Dressing Up For 'Thug Day'

Most of the time, getting through school felt like a boring grind, so it's no surprise that the staff would think of fun themed days to make things a little livelier.

Over the years, I can recall us having wild hair days, pajama days, and days where we dressed up like people from different decades. At no point, however, did any of us decide, "Hey, let's all dress up like cultural stereotypes."

Maybe it's because we were a pretty multicultural school and knew which friends we would make uncomfortable by doing that or maybe the thought just never occurred to us.

However, both that decision a similar one to dress in out-and-out blackface obviously has occurred to kids at a disturbing number of schools and one recent case suggests this problem is no closer to going away.

At Memorial High School in Houston, Texas, juniors work with school administrators to plan a spirit week right before finals begin.

Twitter | @Rachellemmma

As a representative told KHOU, the approved themes for each day of the week were Hippie, Jersey, 2000s, USA/America, and Hawaiian.

However, when Jersey Day rolled around on Tuesday, some white students made a secret agreement to take the festivities in a different direction.

Twitter | @Rachellemmma

Instead of simply representing their favorite sports teams, they would add chains, fake tattoos, du rags, and wear their hair in corn rows to turn Jersey Day into "Thug Day."

Both the idea of equating black people in general with the loaded term "thugs" and playing dress up with another culture invited accusations of racism.

Twitter | @Rachellemmma

A particularly strong call-out came from Twitter user @Rachellemmma, who has attended this school and made others on social media aware that this "open secret" was going on.

Some users pointed out that dress codes which are often criticized for policing natural black hair and hair care accessories suddenly didn't apply when white students wanted to try them on.

A student from a nearby high school [told] KHOU that these images also circulated through Snapchat and said, "I saw a lot of people from other schools reposting this and talking about how inappropriate it is."

Another user also expressed frustration at the tendency of those who engage in this kind of appropriation to turn a blind eye at issues that affect black communities.

Former student Monica Day told KHOU that "Thug Day" is hardly a new phenomenon at Memorial High School and could recall the similar "Senior Swag Day" back in 2015 before participants arrived at the name it carries now.

Day said that students also used to engage in a theme day called "Senioritas," where students would wear ponchos, sombreros and fake mustaches.

The Idaho Statesman, Facebook

As she said, "During the theme day students would ‘act Mexican’ and ask other students if they needed their lawns mowed. One female student who I will not name went so far as to dress as a border patrol officer at school."

Note that the similar activity pictured here was not taken at Memorial High School, but rather Middleton Heights Elementary School in Idaho, where a similar scandal unfolded.

School administrators said they did not approve the "thug day" concept.

Twitter | @Rachellemmma

As a representative said, "While the majority of rising juniors followed the approved dress theme on Tuesday, any instance of an inappropriate or offensive dress violation will not be tolerated. Students found to be in violation of the Student Code of Conduct and dress code will be given a consequence."

The incident has also led school officials to cancel the rest of the theme days planned this week.

Reddit | neonshaun

However, they declined to discuss whether they took any disciplinary action against the students pictured in @Rachellemmma's post.

h/t: KHOU