Spectators shout racial slurs at Sacramento-area high school game

Student spectators from Oak Ridge High School, in Northern California’s El Dorado Hills, made racial taunts and other appearance-related insults against Asian American basketball players from C.K McClatchy High School during a recent play-off game between the two schools’ girls’ teams.

The story gained attention when McClatchy parent Glen Kumamoto posted a short clip from the Feb. 25 play-off game on Facebook. In the post, Kumamoto said the Oak Ridge students would yell things like “soy sauce,” “little eyes” and “you’re ugly” at the McClatchy team, half of which is of Asian descent according to Kumamoto. In the video clip, an Oak Ridge High student appears to be taunting a McClatchy player up close after she slid past the baseline. The McClatchy player brushed off the student angrily in response.

Tensions were high throughout the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoff game, which took place in El Dorado Hills. The Oak Ridge Trojans and the McClatchy Lions, last year’s California Interscholastic Federation State Division I champions, engaged in a constant battle for the lead, often within just a few points of each other.

Kumamoto expressed his desire to inform news outlets of the situation in his Facebook post, which he posted March 8. In the days following, the story was featured on several local Sacramento news outlets like The Sacramento Bee, CBS Sacramento, Fox 40 News, ABC 10 and KCRA 3. It even appeared on national news sites like NBC News and USA Today High School Sports.

“We have played in gyms all across Sacramento and the Bay Area,” Kumamoto told The Sacramento Bee. “We have never, ever been subjected to anything like that. We have never been more disrespected than we were in that gym.”

Oak Ridge High’s Aaron Palm, who was recently named interim principal by the El Dorado Union trustees, issued an e-mail to Oak Ridge community members stating the that the school does not support intolerance or racism on campus, according to a story by The Sacramento Bee. It also outlined what is to be done in response to the game.

According to Palm, the student who approached the McClatchy player shown in Kumamoto’s video was ejected from the game immediately and disciplined the next day. In the video, a gym staff member is seen approaching that student right after he taunted her.

According to a story by KCRA 3, the El Dorado Union High School District said in a statement made on March 10 that it is aware of the “inappropriate behavior and derogatory comments” made by the Oak Ridge High students.

“We are disappointed and saddened by this situation and are working to address the inappropriate behavior,” the statement read. “It is our expectation that respect be given to all during our athletic events and apologize that this was not the case on this particular evening.”

As of March 15, Kumamoto’s video has been viewed more than 57,427 times and shared almost 570 times.

Comments

  1. I am disappointed at this websites level of professionalism to get to the truth. As a parent who was there, I have a few comments of my own:
    • the Media took the word of the complaining parents as the truth without investigating. IF you look at Kumamoto’s posts, he is asking all parents to call the media and CIF to complain. Have you asked why they contacted CIF to handle a school issue?
    • The video that Mr. Kumamoto provided proved nothing. All media outlets said that nothing racial could be heard. In fact, it showed an Oak Ridge student getting out of line and a staff member kicking him out (although it looked as if the video was edited to make it look like nothing was done). That staff member was with the student section the entire time. If any racial chants would have started, he would have acted immediately as he did in the video Mr. Kumamoto provided.
    • Mr. Kumamoto provided some of the chants he felt were racial. One example was that the kids were yelling go back to Fiji. In reality, the kids were yelling “where is Gigi” referring to McClatchy’s D1 commit who is sidelined due to a knee injury. Is it possible that he misunderstood other chants? I cannot begin to explain what he interpreted, but with all the parents/cell phones/video cameras, why wasn’t any one able to capture this on video? Even Sac Bee’s very own Joe Davidson tweeted the following: “I didn’t hear the chants or see any of the boorish behavior”. Now, I could leave it at that, but that would be tweaking the facts in our favor and I believe in reporting reality. He continued on to say “as I was locked into the game, but the Bee is looking into this”. Did any news channel really look into this? Many parents have reached out to the reporting entities, but no one seems to be interested in getting to the truth. Does the truth not sell papers as much as the headline ” Oak Ridge High School on Racist Allegations: We’re deeply saddened “?

    There is not one school that has 100% perfect kids. I know there are some at OR as well as McClatchy. We know we had a few kids act inappropriately at the game. It was addressed immediately (as seen in the video that Kumamoto provided) and an apology was issued. However, where the media has failed us is the lack of desire to get to the truth. McClatchy’s student body started disrespecting Oak Ridge the minute the announcer started speaking. When the Oak Ridge players were announced, all the McClatchy cheerleaders and the two buses of students turned their back. There were students who were holding signs that said “choakridge” and that was a chant that they participated in. Some would consider that threatening. In addition, the Oak Ridge cheer team, who was positioned in between the two stands, were called white trash, inbred and whores. If you had taken the time to get to the truth, both schools could have acknowledged that both need a reminder about school spirit and respect. I have tried to reach out to Mr. Kumamoto and found that he has now gone silent (from a man who loved social media). I would have hoped he could have been the bigger man and acknowledge the short comings on both sides.

    The administration was so quick to apologize without getting to the bottom of this event and to the best of my knowledge, no one from the administration was on site during this game. I am trying to be a voice for kids who are being accused of something that they did not do. I am looking for one media outlet to do the right thing and show these kids what it means to make a mistake and admit it. Take the time to get to the truth.

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