Blackout deemed ‘racially discriminatory’

Elizabeth Alexander and Video Production Team

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The Manhattan High student body was bustling with talk and debate over the Junction City football game — not because of the sport, but rather the colors fans would adorn.

A single email was sent out by Manhattan High School principal Greg Hoyt on Oct. 6 regarding the favored theme blackout for the Junction-Manhattan football game, one of the most hyped games of the school year. Blackout would involve MHS students showing up in all black to support the football as a unit, coming together in a singular color. The message Hoyt issued disregarded the idea, and instead went with the secondary idea of “navy out.” His reasoning, according to the email, was that students were planning to wear black “as a reference to the large number of African Americans that attend Junction City High School.” Hoyt stated that this act was “extremely offensive at the least, and racially discriminatory at worst.” However, there has been no shared evidence as to what led to this speculation.

“I met with Mr. [Michael] Dorst as well as another member of Tribe,” Tribe co-president Josie Hilgers, senior, said. “We made it known that it has been going around the school that people were going to make it a ‘red out’ or a blackout.”

The course of events regarding the shirt’s color bounced around quite a bit. Originally, Tribe had planned for the shirts to be red, in favor of “red out,” but before they could communicate with the football parents — the designated printers of the shirts– had already printed them in navy. With the game quickly approaching and no resolution reached, a Twitter poll was sent out October 2 to the student body as to what color should be worn. The student majority won over the color black with 50 percent of the votes, red with 32 percent and navy with 18 percent.

“On Twitter we posted a poll and we had ‘red out,’ blackout and navy,” Tribe co-president Megan Klug, senior, said. “The results of the poll said that the student body wanted blackout. There were also responses from football parents stating that the shirts are sponsored by businesses and that it would only be respectful to have ‘navy out,’ that way people are encouraged to buy the shirts to support the businesses that are supporting the team.”

The question that the MHS student body asked was what led to Hoyt’s email and the idea of blackout being “racially discriminatory.” Hoyt and athletic director Mike Marsh declined to comment. Who or what led to the idea is currently unknown.

“[Discrimination] never Tribe’s intention, that was never my intention,” Hilgers said. “I legitimately never even thought about it.” Hilgers said.

By the last bell of the school day, what was left was the game to look at the outcome of the shirt conflict. Students attended the game adorned in navy blue shirts, hats, face and body paint, wielding confetti shooters and rubber chickens. Despite the dispute prior to the game, students still managed to celebrate school spirit and cheer on for their football team, singing the school song with arms thrown over shoulders.

 

 

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The student news site of Manhattan High School
Blackout deemed ‘racially discriminatory’