Charging racism is serious allegation
This week a good number of residents of this community got charged up over what they felt was racism in what actually turned out to be a bad case of miscommunication.
On Wednesday, the social media sites, the Recorder’s phone and, we are certain, phones in the Burton School District and at Changala’s Pumpkin Patch, were afire with activity.
A misguided letter sent home by kindergarten teachers at Summit Charter Academy that hinted at racism stirred up a good number of parents and others.
Fortunately, it was not a case of racism.
A request by the owners of Changala’s that teachers in the dual immersion program be able to speak with them in English if needed got taken out of context and led to the teachers cancelling a planned field trip for approximately 100 kindergartners to the pumpkin patch.
According to the business owner Liz Changala, and verified by school officials, the whole incident was a misunderstanding and could have been cleared up with a phone call, which apparently did not occur. Reportedly, when the teachers said they could only speak in Spanish, the business owner said it was a concern and asked them to be able to speak in English.
The teachers then sent out a letter to parents telling them the trip was cancelled because the owners would not allow them to speak in Spanish. That started the firestorm that led to charges of racism, acts of vandalism and even death threats for the owners.
Charging racism is akin to yelling fire in a crowded theater. It can have grave consequences and even though the teachers did not call the business owners racist, they certainly insinuated as much. Many people did use the term racists.
The teachers were wrong in sending out the note without first going through the channels to rectify the situation. The Changalas have been in business too long to be racists. Racism has no place in Porterville or our nation, but especially in Porterville where more than 60 percent of the population is Hispanic. Being a racist here would mean a short term business venture.
Hopefully, everyone will realize it was a misunderstanding and go along with their lives. The kindergartners certainly did that during their visit to the pumpkin patch the next day.