NAACP says students of color started watermelon incident at football game
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Louisville's NAACP says an incident involving a watermelon at a football game was started by students of color.
The watermelon was passed around the student section at last Friday's Ballard High School football game vs. Central High School. Central's principal spoke out on the taunt, which many called racist, for the first time.
For the students of color who started it, Louisville NAACP President Raoul Cunningham said it came as a surprise.
"Does it make it better or worse? For me, personally, it was very shocking," Cunningham said.
He added that while an older generation understands the connotation, a younger generation might not.
"Because if someone would have given me a watermelon in high school, I would have thrown it at them," Cunningham said. "Therefore, we have a different perspective of what segregation was."
Central High School Principal Raymond Green does not think there will be retaliation from Central students. He said he's been in constant talks with Ballard's principal on the appropriate ways to help students learn and grow from last week's display.
"I would call it inappropriate and insensitive, because to call it racist meant I would know their intent, and I didn't know their intent," said Central Principal Raymond Green. "But the best I could say right now is it was inappropriate and insensitive."
There was outrage on social media after the incident. Nearly 80 percent of Central's students are black, compared to about 30 percent of Ballard's.
A peace offering came Tuesday during the Ballard vs. Central volleyball game, when Ballard players gave yellow roses to the Yellowjackets from Central.
"My message to my school is that we do not live in a post-racial America," Green said. "We have to be cognizant of the implication of race in all settings and be wise in how we deal with one another and ourselves."
Ballard's principal is investigating the incident with the watermelon and said appropriate action will be taken.
The NAACP says JCPS needs to discuss the historical and and racial significance of the incident, immediately develop and implement its Racial Equity Plan and add more programs on African American history.
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