The first black Student Body President of the most expensive prep school in America was forced to resign after making jokes that took aim at her white, male peers. The offense: Posing on Instagram holding a hockey stick dressed as a typical Lawrenceville Prep guy.
BuzzFeed's Katie J.M. Baker reported on the story of Maya Peterson, whose Instagram included satirical hashtags like #romney2016, #confederate, and #peakedinhighschool.
Said Peterson to Buzzfeed: "I understand why I hurt people's feelings, but I didn't become president to make sure rich white guys had more representation on campus. Let's be honest. They're not the ones that feel uncomfortable here."
While it may seem understandable that a school president shouldn't make fun of his or her student body, Peterson's case isn't so clear cut:
“Yes, I am making a mockery of the right-wing, confederate-flag hanging, openly misogynistic Lawrentians,” Peterson responded. “If that’s a large portion of the school’s male population, then I think the issue is not with my bringing attention to it in a lighthearted way, but rather why no one has brought attention to it before…”
Following the Instagram photo and a senior picture in which she and other black students raised their fists in a "Black Power" salute, the administration asked Peterson to resign pending disciplinary action. The BuzzFeed piece also details the racial epithets openly used around Lawrenceville's black students:
Black Lawrenceville students told BuzzFeed that racial divides are pervasive. Many said they had been called racial epithets, ranging from “Negro amigo” to “n***er,” by white peers who didn’t understand “why they couldn’t say the word too.”
One student said she overheard her white male classmates call black students on an opposing basketball team “Trayvon,” after Trayvon Martin. Another pointed out anewspaper op-ed by a white student criticizing a Black History Month celebration for “descending” into a rap performance “crafted with too little, if any, subtlety.”
For the full, outrage-inducing story I urge you to head to BuzzFeed to read the whole thing.
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