If ever there was an argument for affirmative action, the news of how the 94 percent white student body of Highland Park High School likes to celebrate their “spirit” is cause enough.
For those who missed it, students at the exemplary-rated high school get revved up each year the week before their Homecoming game by coming to school every day dressed to fit a particular theme during what is dubbed as “Spirit Week.” This year, one day was designated “Thug Day” and another “Fiesta Day.” The Dallas Morning News focused more so on “Thug Day” where the kids dressed in baggy clothes, sporting lots of bling-bling (flashy jewelry for the slang-illiterate), gang attire, gold-capped teeth and afro wigs. Aside from the gold-capped teeth, this kind of dressing up has been around since the 70s.
In my book, it doesn’t raise the red flags as much as the so-called “costumes” worn on Fiesta Day. The school says that Fiesta Day was to celebrate Hispanic heritage. Yet, according to a Park Cities People article, some kids came to school with leaf blowers, dressed in maid outfits and wearing traditional Mexican dresses with pillows stuffed under them to make it look like they were pregnant.
The principal has gone on record saying no one got in trouble because the dress code was not violated.
As someone who worked her way through college as an elementary school bilingual assistant, the one thing drilled into me was that every situation should be seized as a learning opportunity. To not call these students on the insensitive nature of their choice of costumes is as much a reflection on the lack of administrative guidance regarding cultural sensitivity at this school as it is on the segregated lifestyles these children lead. It’s a sad commentary when fun is made of other people’s line of work, and just lends credence to the observation that Hispanics are doing the kinds of jobs that others don’t want.