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Slave auction held at Kubasaki High School

By: Victoria L. Moore

Date Posted: 1998-03-20

Slavery, defined by Webster, is the state of a person who is the chattel of another. The "Roman-Greek Sale," many students referred to as a slave auction, was held at Kubasaki High School, on Camp Foster, Feb. 12. A Greek-Roman sale is usually held to sell the services of another person, who does not in fact get paid for services provided. The event, originally scheduled for Feb. 12 - 13, was later reduced to a one day event, raised the eyebrows and temperatures of many students and parents alike.

The event was held in the school cafeteria where many African American students not only refused to participate but also spoke out on how offended they felt about witnessing the sale of humans.

Flyers were exhibited and distributed throughout the school, publicizing the auction and further ensued tension and outrage of the black community.

The NAACP President, Gregory Moore and Larry Wright spoke with the principal, Mr. Abbott, to lodge an official complaint about the event. Moore stated, "Abbott told us that although several students complained subsequent to this event, he suggested that they work it out though the student council. He felt he should not interfere with the process of letting students govern their own activities."

Wright stated that Abbott told him that "there were flyers distributed and posted publicizing an auction." Abbott later ordered the flyers removed. The name of the sale was changed to the "Greek Ladies and Gentlemen Sale." Although two students came to him and complained about having the auction, he wanted the students to have the benefit of the democratic process and did not want to interfere.

Abbott stated that he could have said no and shut it down, but felt that it was for the good of the student majority to go through the democratic process.

Several students voiced their objections to the event and some of the youths" participation. Another student reported that she just felt angry. "There were no programs organized by the school to recognize Black History Month," she said. She felt that it was very insensitive to hold an auction and in the same breath fail to recognize the importance of cultural respect and diversity.

Darlene Ballard, a concerned parent, was shocked to report that "I could not believe that the school allowed this program to happen. When my son told me what was planned, I was sure he was mistaken."

This event was sponsored by the sophomore student body, headed by James. James stated that the sale was intended to be the "'Ladies and Gentlemen's Sale,' I would not have approved of a slave auction," she commented.

A concerned student revealed that the student council consists of four members, that include a president, vice-president, treasurer and secretary. This was the presumed majority that proposed this activity, as a fund raiser, approved by James and Abbott.

Abbott stated, "there is no story here. Prior to the event no one had come to me with a complaint. I wanted to allow the student government to try and solve their own problems, without using my administrative authority. I spoke with many parents and students who felt there was nothing wrong with the event." His story to the Update conflicts with what he said to people who also spoke with Japan Update on the same subject, however.

Many parents we interviewed felt that it was in poor taste and the principal failed to use good judgment in allowing an event that could be construed as racially biased, especially during a month designated to reflect on African American history.

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