A group of Alabama cheerleaders are receiving backlash after they posed holding a T-shirt featuring the Confederate flag and the words, “I love Redneck Boys.”
The shirt was so offensive that it caused Reagan Coleman, a Black cheerleader on the squad, to call out her teammates who participated in the now-viral pic, and then quit the squad.
“I immediately see hate,” Coleman told WKRG of seeing the image.
The controversial photo, which was posted on July 4, shows six white girls, four of whom attend Daphne High School along with Coleman. All were wearing the offensive t-shirt.
The photo was posted by one of the cheerleaders on Instagram but was quickly removed after she was slammed in her own comment section over it.
Reagan’s mother Latifah Coleman says the shirt is hateful. Period.
“There’s no two sides to that flag. That means hatred, That’s what it stands for for us. We were oppressed with that flag,” she said. “They used it when they burned crosses in our ancestors’ yards. When it was railed around on horses”
Reagan’s mom continued: “I don’t know what history you’re reading, but if you read the U.S. history, it tells you exactly what that flag stands for and what it means, especially to African-Americans.”
Latifah Coleman says she told the school about the photo, however she claims no disciplinary action has yet been taken.
“I went from the coach to the principal, from the principal to the superintendent. And I kept getting vague answers. It was almost like everybody was reading a script,” she said.
Reagan says she has a passion for cheerleading, but she’s not going to abide by racism on her own squad. Inclusion, to her, is everything.
“No matter how much I love something, no matter how passionate I am about something, I love myself more and I respect myself more and I could not be on that team,” she said.
Baldwin County Public Schools has released a statement saying the Confederate flag photo was handled “at the local school level.”
“We are aware of the situation and it has been handled at the local school level. As with any student issue, federal law prohibits us from discussing disciplinary actions, if any, involving our students,” the school wrote in the statement. “Our system has implemented sensitivity programs and Superintendent Tyler has stressed that we have a zero tolerance for racism and bullying in our system.”
Coleman, who is only one of two Black girls on the squad, says this isn’t the first instance of racism on the team. In a resurfaced IG video, a Daphne cheerleader is seen saying the n-word while another screenshot via Snapchat also surfaced of another member of the squad calling a classmate the n-word.
A Change.org petition has been started, demanding the girls be removed from the team. It’s already received over 1,900 signatures as of Thursday afternoon (August 6).
“As 1/2 black girls on the cheer team, I knew I needed to speak up about this matter and Daphne’s negligence. I have since quit the team due to their carelessness and inactivity,” Coleman wrote in the petition’s mission statement. “I am not trying to ignite hate on these girls, I just simply want everyone to see what Daphne High School allows. Daphne’s Administration team has failed to release any statements or contact anyone back concerning this matter. Daphne is known for keeping things like this hidden and swept under the rug. I don’t want this to be another one of Daphne’s well kept secrets. Something has to be done, and these girls need to face consequences for their actions.”