Two wrongs don’t make a right. That idiom may be a cliche, but it perfectly applies to many situations of so-called “reverse racism.”
It could also apply to a small town in Mississippi, where a young black woman has earned valedictorian honors.
Instead of celebrating the accomplishment, however, the high school graduate made a sick move against the school district: She’s suing the school because she had to share the graduation stage with a white girl, who also earned a co-valedictorian title.
According to The Washington Post, Jasmine Shepard graduated from Cleveland High School in Mississippi last spring. Both she and a white student were given co-valedictorian honors, but Shepard and her family are still bitter about the shared title even a year later.
“Prior to 2016, all of Cleveland High School’s valedictorians were white,” the recently filed lawsuit states. “As a result of the school official’s unprecedented action of making an African-American student share the valedictorian award with a white student, the defendants discriminated against.”
The school district has a pretty good explanation for the shared title: Both students had identical grade point averages.
“As such, under school board policy, they were both named valedictorian of their graduating class,” Jamie Jacks, an attorney for the school district, explained. “The district’s policy is racially neutral and fair to students.”
Co-valedictorian honors for students with identical grades are fairly common in large schools. However, Sherry Shepherd, the mother of Jasmine, apparently believes that disagreeing with the school’s official GPA records makes them irrelevant.
“These children have been attending school with each other since middle school,” she said. “We know the schedule, we know what they take, and we have a good idea where the discrepancy lies.”
Shepherd and the lawsuit are demanding a cash payout for “monetary damages” from the school district. More shocking, however, is the lawsuit’s demand that the white student be stripped of her honors, so that Jasmine Shepard can be declared “sole valedictorian.”
The sad reality is that the student and her family would likely not be suing the school district if the co-valedictorian happened to also be black.
If the GPA numbers are in fact the same — a fact that is presumably easy to confirm — then it seems that the lawsuit is designed to punish a high-achieving student for daring to be white.
The fact that the lawsuit was recently filed an entire year after the graduation took place adds additional pettiness to the case.
A year after being named valedictorian, a student should be focused on their future, such as attending college or pursuing a career.
Instead of celebrating accomplishments, however, the lawsuit filers seem to be bitter about skin color. Stripping a well-earned valedictorian title from a white student is no better than doing so based on dark skin.
The simple fact is that treating a white person differently because of her race is just as bad as if the reverse were true.
It’s a call for special treatment based not on performance, but on race… and demanding the spotlight despite equal accomplishments is the opposite of equality.