In south Philadelphia, where Asian students have been harassed and even assaulted by Black students in recent weeks, several African Americans want to make it clear that they are not part of those causing trouble.
Last Thursday, according to community activists, a group of Black students attacked about 30 Asian students at South Philly High, causing the school district to increase school security and solicit help from city police on and around the campus.
But many Black students say the response was exaggerated, given that only a handful of troublemakers were involved in the incident. They note that only about 10 students,
Speaking to the Philadelphia Daily News, 11th-grader John Harris said, “It was unnecessary. I got nothing to do with it. Just because we're black, they think we're in gangs."
Added Trina Moore, 17, a senior, “I feel offended. They just labeled all of us.”
Samirah Eugene, 16, an 11th-grader, told the Daily News that the Asian students who were punched and kicked repeatedly inside and outside the school last week “didn’t deserve it.”
Chad Dion Lassiter, president of Black Men at Penn, told the newspaper that the behavior of those few were malicious and could have been the result of "pack mentality."
But in a society in which immigrants are seen as the "other," he said, prejudice is "deeply rooted" and "then we act out aggressively against something we don't understand."
He urged the district to keep its promise to incorporate culture-sensitivity workshops, as well as " bullying prevention, intervention and anger-reduction workshops” into the curriculum. "It's long overdue," he said.