In a story that sounds straight out of the Jim Crow era, a college recruiter in Oklahoma has been fired for lining up high school students by skin color and hair texture.
On Feb. 24, a white recruiter from Oklahoma Christian University allegedly told students from Harding Charter Preparatory in Oklahoma City to line up by whose hair was “nappy or not,” KFOR News reported.
One student, Korey Todd, told the news station that during the assembly the man, later identified as Cedric Sunray, told the students, “‘Okay, everyone now line up from darkest to lightest skin complexion.’”
Todd also told the station that before Sunray even opened his mouth, he “could already see through his BS basically, because “he was a white man.”
As the junior class lined up, another student, Rio Brown, instructed the class, “He told us nappiest hair in the back and straighter hair in the front.”
Students claim that’s when things went south.
“Teachers left,” Brown said. “They were crying and they were offended. Their faces just look disgusted. I know they had a talk with him after, like, ‘That’s not okay.'”
Meanwhile, Sunray claimed he had no intention of “promoting a racist agenda” and was just trying to facilitate an ice-breaker and teach the children about privilege.
“I break the teams into four teams and then I say, ‘Line up darkest to the front, lightest to the back,”the 45-year-old told KFOR. “From the largest Afro to the tightest braid to the blondest hair, blue-eyed student. They all want to know that they are valued and they are warranted. And that is the kind of programs I provide.”
Thankfully, school officials were not having it and according to the New York Times, Sunray was fired an hour after the incident went down.
“The OC admissions counselor who visited Harding Charter Preparatory Academy on Monday is no longer an Oklahoma Christian University employee. OC admissions leadership did not approve the inappropriate activity in advance and has communicated closely with Harding administration since the visit. Admissions staff are scheduled to visit the academy Monday to apologize to Harding students and staff on behalf of the University,” said the president of the university, John deSteiguer, in a statement sent to KFOR News.
In a separate statement, officials from Harding Charter Preparatory Academy confirmed that the incident happened and stressed that this type of behavior goes against its values.
“The Harding Charter Preparatory High School governance board, administration, and staff does not condone any behavior and/or language that undermines our community’s values. Our community, from its inception, has valued diversity, inclusion, and a safe and supportive learning environment. We will continue to do so.”
For the students like Brown, they hope this serves as “a wake-up call because many people at the school need to hear how we feel,” he told KFOR.
Todd added, “I accept who I am and who I look like, so I feel like I don’t need an exercise from a college recruiter to tell me that, personally.”
My heart goes out to these students. No one should have to be treated like that, ever.