Why I wrote to the racist teen’s school principal… and posted it on Facebook

Email to School Faculty

Over the long weekend, I’ve had quite a bit of free time and I, like many social media fanatics (a.k.a lazy losers), spent much of that time reconnecting with friends on Facebook and reading about people’s recent adventures, job changes, and political activities (to me this is like reading People). A friend of mine shared a tumblr post about people’s racist reaction to the movie Red Dawn, a movie about the North Korean invasion of the U.S. and the heroic revolution led by a courageous, patriotic white family that saved the country from the evil forces. Honestly, I thought Red Dawn was a Twilight movie, a sequel to Breaking Dawn (I’ve never watched any of the Twilight movies and I’m damn proud of it so shut it teenagers).

The collage of people’s racist tweets on tumblr was really, really, sad. One tweet in particular stood out to me, which said, “Kinda wanna kill some Asians right now and defend the homeland, thank you Red Dawn for sparking some patriotism in me.” I couldn’t resist but find the actual person who tweeted this and confront him. Well, here’s the part I’m not so proud of… I called him an ignorant piece of shit. Ouch, oops. I shouldn’t have reacted that way, because it wasn’t constructive and I didn’t get anything out of it besides letting my frustration and anger out on him, even though he was not the root of my anger. He replied, “it was just a joke” to my tweet, which validated my action wasn’t productive nor educational. He’s only a sophomore in high school after all, and while I respect so many of today’s youth and their intelligence, maturity, and political acumen, there is still a lot of room for more growth and learning, and a dire need for good educators who teach beyond just the scope of the textbook. I used to say ignorant things all the time (no, I’m not going to tell you what I used to say) and it was through education, compassion, community, and forgiveness that I was able to learn to be more thoughtful and aware.

The true cause of my anger wasn’t him. It was, and is, our racist media, our racist society, our racist culture, and our racist institutions that fail to acknowledge any non-white person and culture as “American” and otherize people like me and lead people like Kiel to want to kill people like me. From his other tweets, I also found him using words like “faggot,” “rape,” which again, is the product of our racist, sexist, homophobic, etc. society and culture. And then I thought… what if? What if this white football player dude is bullying or harassing Asian, and/or women, and/or queer students at his school? What if no one is calling him out? What if he convinces others to do the same? Then what?

So I decided to do something about it.

Inspired by Jezebel’s recent post that held teens accountable for their racist tweets about President Obama, I decided to hold Kiel and adults around him accountable. Really, it’s not Kiel’s fault that he’s using hateful language — it’s people, adults, around him who failed to educate him that is to blame. A quick Google search and three easy clicks led me to the teen’s high school football team profile, his school’s website, and directory of faculty and staff’s email addresses. It required hardly any research at all. I wrote to the school’s principal, athletics director, football coach, and guidance counselor. I figured one of these people would care about the student’s behavior and growth. So I wrote the email and sent it (you can read it in the image above)… and took a screenshot and posted it on Facebook. Here’s why:

  1. I wanted my friends to know they, too, can do this — some people may think I’m crazy, but hey, if SOMEONE doesn’t speak up about stuff like this, no one will. And I’m certainly not going to wait and bet on the possibility of someone else who’s in closer proximity to the teen will one day teach him. If he didn’t want the whole world involved, he shouldn’t have posted a public tweet. To me, it was almost like a “cry for help” (please excuse my savior complex).
  2. I wanted to share my approach — I’ve had friends in the past who told me they just don’t know how to approach situations like this. What am I supposed to do when someone says something offensive? How do I call them out without causing a bigger scene? I’m hoping some of my wordings in the email can help figure out the approach for different people. This will always be a tricky thing to do, and everyone has different communication styles that work best for them.
  3. I wanted to point to the actual cause — I wanted folks to realize my anger wasn’t directed at the teen (sure, I may be a wee bit vindictive, but that’s beside the point) and that it was really the teen’s educators’ job to fix this. Sure, I could’ve continued the back-and-forth tweet war with the teen, but I’m pretty sure he would’ve either shut me down by saying “it was a joke, get a life” sort of a response, or simply block me. It also gave the school a clear opportunity to educate its students. I wanted my friends to know that this type of approach will (hopefully) bring more constructive and productive results.
  4. I wanted to brag — come on, now.

My partner still thinks I’m a nut job for doing what I did, especially since he thinks I make an easy target for retaliation despite my recent completion of a self-defense course. But I’m glad I did what I did, because I tried (a little too hard, my partner would say). I can also say this with a bit of reassurance because this morning, I received an email from the teen’s school principal:

Email reply from the school principal

My only hope is the school’s “consequences” will entail proper education rather than just punishment. If only the school, and other schools and organizations, can take opportunities like this to start changing the culture of the institution and instill values that embrace diversity, our world – online or offline – would be so much less violent and isolating.

Happy conscious tweeting,

Michelle

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33 thoughts on “Why I wrote to the racist teen’s school principal… and posted it on Facebook

  1. Hi Michelle. I want to thank you for this post on the Twitter racism. I hope you don’t mind but I copied this letter and am using it as a template to reach out to some of the other racist students’ schools. Cheers.

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  2. This is a fantastic blog. I’m so proud of the way you handled it, Michelle. It was very professional, yet assertive and I truly commend you for doing this. I will definitely use this as a reference in the future!

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  3. If everyone stood up to ignorance like what you did, this world would be a better place and racism would be dead. You make me proud to be an Asian American!

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  4. Hey Michelle! I got a response back from one of the kid’s principals too, who assured me they will investigate it and that it definitely “flies in the face of common decency” (the school administrator’s words, not mine). I don’t really expect anything out of it, but at least my voice was heard.

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    1. Good job Ryan!

      I am so very proud of you for stooping down to the level of the she-witch, spawn of Satan also known as Michelle Kim. You should really start a website teaching others how to kiss ass because it sure as hell seems like you are good at it. And while you’re at it, why don’t you and all of your politically correct pussy friends make a giant porno of you all banging while you search the Internet intruding and interfering with people’s lives.

      Do everyone a favor and stop breathing our air you stupid cunt.

      Sincerely Yours,
      Dr. ( ) )========D~~~~

      P.S.
      9/11 was an inside job
      Ron Paul for President
      The “n” word

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  5. Dear Chode Licker,
    Why don’t you make good use of your time and obsess over something that is actually real. Had you not looked into this, you would have never been effected. If this was a direct threat, then your actions would be understandable. Take your anger out on real racists. Leave the joking high school kids alone.
    Sincerely,
    Go fuck yourself

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    1. Sounds like a thinly veiled physical threat on your part. Perhaps you want a criminal record? If you’re really Asian (doubtful), you’re just another shameful Uncle Tom. Otherwise, Michelle, just ban him already. Why is a White racist allowed on this site??

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      1. Dear Racism,

        I realize they might not have freedom of speech in China but here in America making a few comments on a blog does not justify a police report. I suggest you read the Constitution or get the fuck out of this country. If you have any further questions please visit http://www.gofuckyourself.com/fuckyourself.htm

        Sincerely,
        Everybody else in the world you stupid fuck

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  6. Dear Ms. Kim,

    Your article not only disappoints and saddens me because of the rash and judgmental decisions that you made therein, but it also upsets me because you see yourself as a crusader and a defender of the Asian community as a whole.

    From what I can discern from the article, I can tell that you are obviously not in touch with the current generation of high school and college students. For one, you took the very literal meaning of the words which Kiel used in his tweets such as ‘faggot’ and ‘rape.’ Although it may not be politically correct to use words like those to describe some things, the ways that they are used do not always have the derogatory meanings that you assumed that they do. An example of this is the word ‘faggot.’ With today’s slang, people call others faggots not just because they are gay, but also because they are generally annoying or they are assholes. If you are still confused about this topic, i suggest that you watch the South Park episode which deals with this exact topic which you apparently misunderstand.

    Another reason why I am frankly livid after reading your article is because of your superiority complex and judgmental actions which you demonstrated in response to Kiel’s tweet. To start off, before you even took the time to think about the situation, you decided to respond with an ignorant tweet to match Kiel’s. Although you admitted the error of your ways, you still believed that you had the right and obligation to email the principal of this student and impart your ‘wisdom’ to her. Maybe you should have looked inwardly and corrected your own faults after posting such an angry tweet to Kiel instead of letting your ‘better than thou’ superiority complex take control and cause you to send an email to the principal. Not only did you do this, but you also used your almighty powers of judgment to label the teen with the controversial tweet as a racist. If you would take the time to look up the definition of racist, you would see that it is defined as “a person with a predjudiced belief that one race is superior to others.” It is sickening and disheartening to know that you feel you have the knowledge, power, and right to label someone a racist after reading a few of their tweets. By doing a quick Google search of my own, I discovered that you live in California while Kiel lives hundreds of miles away. Myself being a ‘cyber sleuth’ like you, I can deduce that you have never met this boy before, yet you decided to label him as a racist and call out his parents, teachers, and adult role models as failures for allowing him to say the things that he did (jokingly according to him) in his tweets. To correct this shortcoming on your part, I suggest that you spend time around some youth and listen to the kind of language they use. You will be shocked by the number of racists (by your standards of course) that you will find. In fact, you might discover that a majority of youth have corrupted adult role models, teachers, and parents who fill their dirty little mouths with so many vile words.

    Thirdly, you displayed even more ignorance pertaining to the situation with your comment assuming that the teen would have continued a tweet war with you. In response to the comment about the tweet war, what makes you think that this random high schooler would want to spend his time arguing with a random Asian lady from another state who was offended by one of his tweets. In any case, weren’t YOU the one who went out of her way to inflame the situation and obviously make a bigger deal about it than it previously was? It looks to me like you got a little butt-hurt and decided to persecute some random kid in the hopes of imparting your ‘superior virtues’ upon him, and upon his school as well.

    In conclusion, if anyone in this situation should be ashamed of their actions it should be you. Not only did you go out of your way to make the situation worse by responding with an angry, profane tweet, you also completely misjudged the meaning of the tweet and the meaning of previous tweets by student. Your complete lack of understanding of the current generation caused you to act rashly and make yourself look like a fool. Although you certainly had good intentions, you made a complete mess of the situation and probably caused a lot of trouble for a lot of people while causing little to no good. My only hope is that you eventually find something better to do with your time than insulting and judging random people over the Internet.

    I award you no points for this article, and may God have mercy on your soul.

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    1. I am a current college student and most students around me don’t use derogatory terms. Even if they do, they will apologize and reword their phrase once pointed out. I think this is partially because we actually know the definition of ‘derogatory’. It surprises me that you had the time to look up ‘racist’ but not ‘derogatory’. To me, you just defined derogatory term by saying, “With today’s slang, people call others faggots not just because they are gay, but also because they are generally annoying or they are assholes” . Also, I hope you learn one day that not everything media shares is socially acceptable. I generally don’t believe in censorship because I think it should be individuals’ decision to censor their own materials but you are changing my thoughts on that issue.

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      1. yes, maybe we should consider censorship for women like u like they do in arab countries. Because since women get power and a voice they use to abuse other people’s right of speech. So since u beleive in censorship, start by wearing a burqa, then others will follow suit and u dont have to worry about any words abusing your “delicate female sensibilities”.

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  7. Dear Ms. Kim,

    I have thoroughly read your article on this madder and have pondered it for quite some time and the first question that came to my mind was “Since when do the Chinese sweat shops let their employees use the Internet ?” You should not be offended at all by this tweet because there is no possible way that America would be invaded by Asians unless it is by all of the adopted babies that they can not afford to keep.
    I thank you for attempted justice in this cruel society and go fuck yourself.

    Sincerely,
    Your Average American

    P.S. get back to work, Nike shoes dont make themselves

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  8. @ Amazing Racist: “on this madder”? Amazingly Incompetent is a more suitable namesake for you. Don’t spout nonesense about being an average American. You don’t understand what that entails. As a caucasian American, I judge you to be likely an inbred redneck who probably never gets laid – at the very least by anyone respectable 😉

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    1. I agree with Kim-Jong-Un. What gives you the right to tell other people how to behave and react. Who the hell gave you the right to act as if some football’s players words should be met with action when freedom of speech dictates he has the right to post whatever he wants. It is sickening and I hope nothing happens to him, and I’ll use the words faggot, chink just to piss off people like u who think themselves superior because they refrain from using a few words. his comments for his party and his kind of people. People like u who go around telling others how to behave should have your internet stopped bec u use it as moral policing. ur pathetic and sad, and a complete waste of space.

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      1. Listen, you stupid cunt whore, “fredumz of speec” don’t apply to individual institutions. Now go get high off paint thinner like you white trash do and fuck yourself with a loaded gun.

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  9. I think I can do better than your email, its not enough for this action as other people can continue to do this without fear of repercussion or just to get attention.

    Hello,

    I am a concerned citizen, and i have to add to the email of my dear associate Michelle Kim, she had every right to tell you to take action against an errant student,You have a right to punish him, and hold those around him accountable for his behavior. However, I am sure that this still goes on and the only way to ensure students don’t post things that may be offensive is others is to take action against each and every one.
    Start by monitoring blogs, twitter and all internet actions of students. it will make life easier for me and concerned citizens like Michelle Kim. You cannot expect us to monitor all people over the net.

    Make sure all students are allowed to see proper movies, books and tv shows to watch, that means only pre-approved media, and not trash that could corrupt their minds. Moreover, you will be expected to give them all uniforms so no one can distinguish who is poor, goth or gay. That will eliminate half of the trash talk.
    You must silent any speech that could be detrimental for the country and social fabric, your students should not question the president, movies or anything, as if they are lead to allowed to think and question – they might indirectly harm people. why should people not be allowed to hate gays but say bad things against pedophiles, zoosexuals and alternate sexual orientations? do you think these pedophile and rapists could help how they were born? And surely not against the president or government or other states as these people do a lot for the country and don’t deserve any criticism.

    Your students represent your school and to avoid such future problems, you must keep them in tight restraints and constant scrutiny.

    Treat students equal so eliminate the honor awards, and anything that gives some students feelings of superiority over others. If the football player didn’t have this sick twisted notion of being some muscular hero, he wouldn’t speak like some rapper. and if football players don’t get respect, why should honor students or those who do academically well-eliminate the idea of congratulating achievements. So no student feels the need to show off..

    If you can take action for what students post on their twitter account, then surely these requests are not out of your abilities. They are reasonable and surely in sync to Michelle Kim’s thoughts of a better future.

    Sincerely,
    A concerned citizen like Michelle Kim

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  10. I don’t get the posters complaining about Michelle’s actions limiting the ignorant teen’s “free speech” since what he said is not “free speech” but “hate speech”. Here’s the definiton of hate speech, from wiki:

    In law, hate speech is any speech, gesture or conduct, writing, or display which is forbidden because it may incite violence or prejudicial action against or by a protected individual or group, or because it disparages or intimidates a protected individual or group. The law may identify a protected individual or a protected group by certain characteristics.

    Now some might defend him cause he said it’s just a stupid joke, but the sooner he learns that stupid jokes can be misinterpreted, the sooner he’ll stop them, before they cause him trouble, plus the fact, that this “it’s just a joke” line is a way overused cliche, that people thing they can just utter and get out of the deep s**t they fell in, even if their intentions were more sininster than “just a joke, man”.

    Ignorant people complain about political correctness, but PC wouldn’t be needed if people had basic manners and decency and empathy. As a big number of people lack this things PC is a necessary evil that does more good than bad, therefore stop whining and start exercising some self-criticism, so that someday it may no longer be needed.

    Also as I write this, I must also admit that unfortunately Hollywood’s media machine, by making such stupid movies spread misinformation about asians or whoever else the target maybe, worldwide. I’m not even from the usa and I have heard stereotypes used against asians, based on hollywood fairytales. Unfortunately since currently the anglosaxon spherer is the biggest cultural super power, it pushes a lot of it’s notions to other cultures, through it’s dominance in the international media. Good thing to see that there are asian americans awake to it, and this is not coming from another asian but someone who has an interset in east asian cultures and media and studies an east asian language and therefore can see the idiotic stereotypes about east asian males & females being spewed by “the west” (Mainly the anglosaxon cultural sphere). So admittedly even there are a lot of ignorant caucasians, I assure you not all have wooled pulled over their eyes about the imperialistic, eurocentric and post-colonialist attitudes that the mass media tries to force feed us. Of course this ties also with the divide and conquer tactics of the 1%, the bankers and their political chronies but that’s a story to be explained some other time.

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    1. I find a problem with your definition of hate speech. I think for something to be condsidered hate speech it needs to be directed towards a group of people. You failed to recognize the fact that Asians are not people. We pay them less than a dollar a day and make them work extreme hours. They are our work animals and are less valued than the American dog, i mean at least we have laws to protect our dogs. It’s sad the people think they are doing the right thing by protesting this when the boy was simple suggesting to help purge the world.

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  11. Dear Michelle Kimberly,

    First i would like to say i appreciate your two first names. It must be reassuring knowing you can always choose to be called by your last name and it sound totally normal. That is actually all i had…

    Like

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