All-white cheer squad used a Black mannequin head as its ‘mascot’ and named it ‘Kareem’
"If they meant it as a statement, they should have clarified that," said one Bay Area parent. "If they meant it as a joke, it’s not funny."
A group of high school cheerleaders reportedly shared photos on social media, posing with a Black mannequin head they called their “mascot,” which they nicknamed “Kareem.”
According to NBC Bay Area, the incident occurred in California’s East Bay Area and was screenshot by an Instagram account called Black Bay Area, which tagged the cheer team from California High School.
Now, the posting is being examined by the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. The superintendent, Dr. John Malloy, said of the incident, “That is not something that we can accept, nor will we tolerate.”
He maintained that the school district had been expanding on-campus sensitivity training, so the posts came as a surprise.
“We have worked with our students, our staff, our administrators. Having said that though, most of our work has happened with our administrators,” said Malloy, per ABC 7 News. “Going forward, we’re going to spend more time supporting our staff, not only to interrupt any issues of discrimination but to educate so our students and community better.”
“We don’t accept this,” he contended. “We understand that it’s wrong, and we also understand that it’s harming some members of our community more than others — especially those who may identify as Black or African American.”
The social media posts came from the California High School’s cheer stunt team, which, according to ABC 7 News, has since deleted its page. In it, the all-white team is seen posing with the mannequin head, one that appears to be used for cosmetology classes.
One area parent, Angelica Tucker, said her daughters are interested in joining the team, and the lack of representation is a problem. She hopes that the squad will become authentically diverse in membership—and not just with a doll head.
“It can open up their eyes to the fact that there’s no representation that looks like them on the cheerleading squad, and maybe they will be the first ones to do it,” noted Tucker.
“If they meant it as a statement, they should have clarified that,” said Tucker. “If they meant it as a joke, it’s not funny.”
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