Welcome to 2018 White Supremacist America:
It’s Not How Good Your High School Team Is, But How White It Is

May 7, 2018 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


The white football coach at Camden Catholic High School in Camden, New Jersey, was fired from his job on April 30. It was not because of his record on the field, which was extremely good at 34-6 in his four seasons. No, Coach Nick Strom says it was because school officials thought he had too many Black players on his team!

Strom told reporters, “From day one, the administration told me they did not approve of the ratio of Black to white students.” He said, “I tried to build this program by bringing in players based on their ability, grades and character.” But the principal told him she hoped he “could get more white players on the field because they would connect with the alumni base.” Almost half the team's football players are minorities, while the student population is 60% white, 16% Black, 14% Asian, and 9% Latino. Strom said the question of race came up 10-20 times with the principal since he was hired in 2013.

Camden is one of the poorest cities in the country. Its population of 74,420 is 5% white, 42% Black, and 48% Latino. Camden is also known for the rebellions in the late 1960s and early 1970s against police murders of Black and Puerto Rican people.

The Black students and many of their parents are standing with Coach Strom, refusing to allow this firing to go down. On the day Strom was officially fired, 25 of his supporters, including parents of players on his team, came to the school to demand answers about why Strom was being let go—only to be told by school officials they couldn't answer most of the questions. Half an hour later, 22 students walked out of school in protest. One student said “He’s done an unbelievable job as a coach and a teacher here. It’s come out of nowhere. It hurts all of us to know that a man we look up to doesn’t have a job anymore. We felt like we needed to walk out of school to show that we’re all together and we’re with Coach Strom in a tough time for him.”

On Friday, May 4, 20 students gathered on the school lawn in protest, with signs saying “HONK FOR STROM,” “WE MATTER,” and “WE WANT JUSTICE.”

The school administrators deny Strom's claims. Yet Strom—who was also a history teacher at the school—never received a poor teaching evaluation in his three reviews, and the stated reasons for his dismissal are pitiful: dress code violations; leaving class early to prepare for the golf team’s upcoming match; and allowing students to leave the classroom early. Strom's former high school coach and coaching mentor said that Strom had called him last fall, saying he was concerned about the treatment of minorities at the school by the administration, and some teachers. Strom has retained an attorney and is considering all of his options. And a group of parents has retained their own attorney to represent them in this battle.

A Black player told Highschoolsports.nj.com,The school has a problem. Camden Catholic’s true colors are exposed. One student will be treated differently than another student. I’ve always felt black students were treated differently than Caucasians. I always talked to Coach Strom about why teachers would act like this.”

In 2018 white supremacist America, the key question for the administrators at this Catholic high school isn't how good their football team is but how white it is!

The truth of Nick Strom’s allegations is yet to be fully proven. But there is ample evidence, not just in this case but in the racism in youth sports nationwide, for everyone to learn the lesson being taught. What is happening in Camden Catholic is no isolated incident (see for example, “What’s Behind All the Racism at Youth Sports Events?” at Forbes.com, which lists just some of the recent incidents).

And racism and white supremacy are not just an ugly reality in youth sports but in every corner of the capitalist-imperialist system in America: discrimination in health care, housing, and employment; rampant racial profiling and officially sanctioned murder and brutality by the police; mass incarceration of Black, Brown, and Native American people; and on and on. All this is built in to the foundation and functioning of this system—and the rulers could not put an end to the oppression and degradation of Black and other people of color even if they wanted to—which they don’t. The open call to white supremacy by the Trump/Pence fascist regime is an extreme expression of what has always been at the heart of this country. And nothing short of revolution to overthrow this system is going to put an end to it.    




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