In today’s episode of Tell Me You’re anti-Black Without Telling Me You’re Anti-Black, a Mont Belvieu, Texas, superintendent took out a full newspaper ad defending the continued suspension of Darryl George, a Black student whose family has accused officials of violating the CROWN Act by allowing him to be suspended over his locs.
The fact that the education official felt the need to take out a full ad in the newspaper just to whitesplain why he doesn’t think the law applies to Darryl is ridiculous enough, but it was one line in particular that raised eyebrows and arguably vindicated anyone who thinks discriminatory hair policies in schools are inherently racist.
(*gestures widely toward non-boot-licking Black people whose minds haven’t been colonized*)
“Being an American requires conformity with the positive benefit of unity,” Barbers Hill ISD Superintendant Greg Poole wrote in his ad, which was published by the Houston Chronicle on Jan. 14, according to the Washington Post.
Listen: It’s not clear how Poole was expecting that sentence to be received, but he might as well have written, “America is white supremacy and your Black asses will bow down if you know what’s good for you!”
Seriously, if you’re defending a hair policy that is widely being called racist and is connected to a viral story about a Black student’s suspension, the last thing you want to do is open with a line that implies being an American requires Black people to conform to the standards of whiteness. What did Poole think was going to happen here outside of him getting dragged across social media like Texas educational officials want to drag Black hairstyles from the rear bumpers of their pickup trucks?
Anyway, Poole went on to write other things that virtually no one was going to pay attention to after he started flirting with fascism and calling it “unity.” He Klan-splained that Black students have received religious exemptions for the school district’s dress code, which he said allows braids, locs, and twists but disallows boys’ hair to “extend below the top of a t-shirt collar, below the eyebrows, or below the ear lobes when let down.”
“We have taken the highly unusual step of seeking a declaratory judgment in state district court to verify our interpretation,” Poole wrote, according to the Messenger News.
Poole also mentioned in his ad that Darryl previously moved to his district from one that allows longer hair and every family has to sign an agreement to follow the district rules.
“Ultimately, this is an issue of local control and deciding who should be setting the policies, goals and expectations of our school district,” Poole wrote. “The litigation is not about what is best for students.”
What Poole should “ultimately” understand is that a policy against moderately long hair for male students is stupid, arbitrary, and needlessly discriminatory, especially since there’s actually no district policy that targets locs or braids, as Messenger noted. What’s the point of Poole enforcing his meaningless policy according to his “interpretation” of the CROWN Act when that policy can’t possibly serve any other purpose but to discriminate? How is that “what is best for students?”
Darryl’s Mother Dareesha George Fires Back, Democratic State Rep. Ron Reynolds Enters The Chat
Darryl George’s family filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against Gov. Greg Abbott and Attorney General Ken Paxton last year accusing them of violating the CROWN Act.
Most recently, Darrly’s mom Dareesha George attempted to explain the reason why her son’s hair is loc’d. (As if she should have to)
“The men in our family show their locs as a sign of connection with our roots and ancestors, which keeps us connected and closer to the Higher power God,” Darresha George, Darryl’s mother, wrote in an exemption form filed Tuesday, according to the Washington Post.
On the same day she filed for exemption, Darresha also filed a complaint calling for the Texas Education Agency to investigate the district and alleging that school officials failed to turn in previous grievances to the district.
Democratic state Rep. Ron Reynolds, who co-wrote the version of CROWN that became Texas law, has accused Superintendent Poole of trying to force an end run around Texas law.
“They are trying to argue that there is a loophole in the law, that it doesn’t cover length, which is nonsense,” Reynolds said per the Post, adding that Poole’s ad is a “PR attempt to deflect the fact that they’re violating Texas law.”
But here’s where Reynolds, who chairs the Texas Legislative Black Caucus, arguably said it best:
“They’re trying to make their African American students conform to European students. Meanwhile, they’re not conforming to the law that we passed.”
A trial date has now been set.
See some reactions to Texas Superintendent Greg Poole’s ad below.