Portland School Happy To Celebrate Student Success, But Only If They’re Black

Lars received the following from a listener, along with the pictures of the cakes:


I was at Costco in Vancouver yesterday cobbling together supplies for my restaurant when I noticed a stack of cakes in the produce cooler. What was written on the label surprised me. Or should I say, didn’t surprise me. “Celebrating Black Student Excellence”. 

Harriet Tubman School. 

How I often parse out things to see if they sound wrong this way. I insert white in the place of black and see if I cringe. Celebrating White Student Excellence… Cringe. 

It should be automatic to “celebrate student excellence”

Years ago, the Washington State liquor control board came in and advised us that you can’t have ladies night unless you have men’s night as well. The advice was, “play it safe, avoid discrimination and don’t have either ”. 

Although, I think the WSLCB was overstepping their authority, perhaps they need to advise the schools on discrimination.

It would be interesting to interview the people at Harriet Tubman to get their take on this. The Costco member that ordered the cakes is on the label as Tony Smith-Myles. 

I took the picture of the cakes as I figured nobody would believe me if I told them about this. Perhaps I am over reacting?

In response to the email, Lars reached out to the school’s principal (below) to find out why the school thinks it’s okay for a school with mostly BIPOC students to celebrate success based on color, but wonders will the minority of white students ever get their day of celebration?

Principal Greer,

I see that Tubman school is “Celebrating Black Student Excellence”?

I’d love to have someone from Tubman, perhaps the principal, come on my regional NW radio show to talk about the educational progress made at Tubman.
I’ll admit I’m a bit confused though.
I checked the latest stats for the school and it seems more than 3/4 of students are NOT proficient in math (24% are ) and 2/3rds of students are NOT proficient in reading (35 percent are).
I would also like to know, since the school has 60% students of color, will there be a similar event to commemorate the excellence of white students?
I’m copying in my producers so we can set up a time and date for an interview by phone.  It should only take about 15 minutes if you’re willing
I’ve attached a picture of the cakes you ordered for the celebration.  
I plan to share this with my radio audience via social media.
Look forward to hearing from you.