A “bias incident” involving a noose and multiple Malibu High School students will be the center of an upcoming discussion held by The Committee for Racial Justice beginning this Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
In February, Malibu High officials discovered a noose present in a film production class on-campus, “and that it had been used in a threatening/intimidating way directed towards another student,” a letter sent to parents states. “At this time, we’ve determined several students in SharkTV class created and displayed the noose at varying times over a multiple week period. We also have determined that other students used the noose at varying times (and) know that many students in the classroom were aware of the noose and did not take action to notify an adult on campus to have it removed or stop the behavior as it occurred, which is upsetting.”
Though it is far from being the only racial incident to ever occur on school grounds, Joanne Berlin, a coordinator with The Committee for Racial Justice, said Thursday that the group immediately felt that it should use the incident to begin a conversation.
The committee, or CRJ as it is widely known, has a purpose to educate and advocate the community about racial issues so it traditionally gathers to hold a meeting once a month.
“Not every action is as overt, but this incident shows that people don’t understand the significance of a noose in American society,” Berlin said. However, she hopes residents will tune in Sunday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. to hear a presentation that will dissect why the noose incident is noteworthy and how white supremacist organizations are looking to recruit teens.
“Across the country and locally, we hear from folks in the black community that there has been an increase of bigoted language and racial slurs being used in public, so we felt that, given the comments and reaction by some of the parents on Facebook after that particular incident, that we needed to make people more aware that there’s something new going on,” Berlin said, detailing how Dr. Shelly Tochluk will present a hard hitting and informative analysis of the ways in which White Supremacists use the internet to reach the minds of our young people.
As an educator, author and one of the primary leaders of the antiracist group AWARE-LA (Alliance of White Antiracists Everywhere), Berlin said Tochluk is the perfect person to broach the subject.
“Given the horrible role that the lynching of Black people has had in American history, people of good will should be distressed and disturbed by these actions,” Berlin said. “And I hope they’ll listen Sunday and learn how these very negatively affect a community of people.”
To register for the “Another Noose: What’s Going on in Our Schools?” discussion, residents encouraged to visit the website bit.ly/2MrFRSh, where they will receive a link to the upcoming presentation.