Ashton Brooks, an African-American student athlete who made history by becoming the first girl to join Midland, Michigan’s Dow High School varsity football team, recently responded to a racist Instagram post comparing her to a gorilla. And trust—it was amazing.
“I think the post was just a representation of ignorance from one individual who was trying to bring me down, but that will not stop me from performing my best in the sport I’ve grown to love,” the high school senior said.
She also Tweeted:
As Hello Beautiful previously reported, earlier this week Shaun King, reporter for the New York Daily News, tweeted the image from an Instagram post that showed a fan standing next to someone wearing a gorilla suit with a photo caption identifying the gorilla as Brooks.
After the image went viral, the Superintendent of Midland Public Schools later sent a statement to USA TODAY Sports addressing the issue:
“The Board, Superintendent and High School Administrators have thoroughly investigated this incident.The girl who posted the photo and caption is a former MPS student. She last attended MPS in the 2014-15 school year and is now college age. We are equally offended and upset that our schools and community have been connected to her comments in this matter. The comments made do not reflect the beliefs of our District or Schools in any way.”
“During the investigation it was evident that the student in the costume was surprised to learn that this post had been made. He was shocked that some people thought that he was complicit in staging the photo. We believe that based on what we have learned, he was unaware of the post being made and specifically did not know about the girl’s comments until we addressed it with him…”
“Midland Public Schools will continue to track this information. We will condemn this type of racism and misuse of social media within our Schools, District and Community.”
Brooks continues to shine, and she has secured a partial academic scholarship to Northwood University.
Regardless, no one should have to endure this type of ignorance. Keep your head up baby girl!