The racism in Aledo goes much further than the Snapchat group and it’s been going on for a long time.
Last night Aledo ISD held its school board meeting. Their dozens of parents came to speak to the board and what was clear, more than anything, is that the racism problem in Aledo is a lot worse than we initially thought. Last week, Aledo made national news when it was discovered that white students had a Snapchat group where they were auctioning Black students as slaves. The Snapchat group was full of racial slurs and hate rhetoric.
Then, yesterday morning these flyers of a “slave auction” were found in a park in Aledo. Before the meeting, there was no question that Aledo had problems with racism. Aledo is in Parker County. Weatherford is also in Parker County. If you’ve been following Living Blue in Texas, you’ll know that we’ve been extensively coving the race issue in Weatherford, particularly about the Confederate statue on the Parker County Courthouse.
Weatherford’s Confederate statue has been a magnet for racists and racist groups in North Texas. The Parker County judge, Judge Dean, has been pictured buddying up with Neo-Confederates, Parker County GOP has been talking about secession, and Neo-Nazis from Charlottesville’s 2017 hate rally have made a home in Parker County.
Racism thrives in Parker County, but it wasn’t until last night when we learned how dire the situation is.
The videos below are from last night’s meeting. There were minors at the meeting. For their safety, I have cut their images out of the video. To fully grasp the severity of racism in Aledo, watch the videos below.
The first young man who spoke was one of the Black children targeted in the “slave trade.” He was very articulate and explained how AISD had yet to apologize. He also spoke about how he was affected by this incident, and the school board knew about racism previously yet did nothing.
No child should have to go to any school board and ask them to stop the racism at their school because nothing has been done. But that’s what happened.
The next speaker was a mother reading a letter on behalf of her son.
Her son is biracial, but white passing, and his letter spoke about how he has heard racial slurs and language from both other students and teachers.
Some of the testimony was heart-wrenching.
One mother testified about how her family moved to Aledo five years ago, and since they moved there, both of her children had been the target of hate and racism. She spoke about a story where her 8-year-old played an innocent game of cops and robbers with the neighborhood children. The game went south, and the other elementary students tackled the young Black child.
As he shouted about how he couldn’t breathe, one of the white children suggested that the others put their knees on his neck. Elementary children in Aledo are acting out in hate. The question that we all likely know the answer to is, “where are they learning it from?”
An Aledo resident and teacher spoke about how significant racism is in Aledo ISD and pointed to a survey she sent out, which got over 60 racist responses. She made copies of those and handed them out to the board.
A real estate agent spoke about how Aledo is one of the most nationally perused towns of white supremacists.
It’s shocking but not surprising. Many of the speakers who testified at this meeting spoke about the school board doing more to make students of color feel included. In Southlake, a similar battle is happening, although they are much further along. As they have been trying to implement an inclusion and diversity plan in Southlake schools, local racists have lashed out and pushed back. When Aledo develops an inclusion plan and presents it to the community, it is undoubtedly that the racists in Aledo will push back, too.
There is only one Black teacher in all of Aledo. Just one. The first step that Aledo should be taking is to hire a more diverse staff. When minority students go to school in Aledo, they don’t see any other people who look like them.
During the meeting students, former students, and parents all spoke out about racism they had either witnessed or experienced in Aledo ISD, and it’s been going on a long time.
Watch these videos of testimony from the Aledo ISD meeting, and you’ll no longer ask, “how did we get here?”
Racists and white supremacists choose Aledo because of its reputation for being a majority white town. According to the realtor who spoke, Aledo is known as the number one destination to live if you don’t want to live near people of color. White flight. It’s been going on for over a century. Racists don’t want to live in the same towns and neighborhoods as BIPOC, so they move to a more rural and white area.
As demographics are continuously changing in America, the demographics of small communities change, too. Racists use white flight to escape equality and inclusion. Still, as white people continue on the path to being a minority in this country, the places they can escape to are slowly disappearing.
The only good thing they have going for them is that in the ex-Confederate State of Texas, there are still plenty of sundown towns that are willing to take them in.
The community of Aledo has to do some deep soul searching. I would even say that Parker County as a whole must really start making changes. The Parker County Judge, the highest government official in the county, pals around with Neo-Confederates, who celebrate slavery and fight to keep white supremacist symbology standing in Parker County.
It’s a long journey that Parker County and Aledo face. Now that the entire world is watching and expecting them to make that first step, we are all wondering, “will they have the courage to do what’s right?”