Student ejected from ceremony for graduating while black


Seriously, I don’t get it. Graduation is the last place you should expect conformity and at least he’s wearing the cap and gown.


Because nothing says, “GO OUT IN THE WORLD AND DO WONDERFULLY GREAT THINGS” like, “uh, no, graduate, you may not wear that little piece of cloth to the ceremony meant to celebrate you and your accomplishments and if you don’t like it we’ll boot you via the Boys In Blue. And why yes, that is my boot on your face.”



Mods: I need to update our List of Things That Frighten Police but the “Edit” option has been removed. Any way to reactivate that option?


Clearly, he should have carried a mattress.

On the bright side, they didn’t shoot or beat him to a pulp, so… progress, right?
anyone? (crickets, very angry crickets)


A two-second Google image search for “graduation mortarboard decoration” will bring up hundreds, if not thousands, of results that would–if the same principle were applied–result in many students being kicked out of their graduation ceremonies.

To be clear I don’t think the principle should be applied, and, strictly speaking, I’m not sure it’s exactly the same principle. The tops of mortarboards may be visible to the audience while the students are sitting and this young man’s kente cloth would only be seen while he was getting his diploma.


I wonder if they kicked out the Jewish kid for wearing a yamulke?


Plus, whatever the origin of Americans sporting a kente cloth as part of American graduations (I seem to remember seeing this certainly by the 1980s), it’s now certainly part of a family tradition – Dad wore one in the 1980s, his daughter wants to wear one now, or uncles or nephews or what-nt – boom, we now have a well-established and excellent American tradition, that I – as a center-right white dude – think is fucking awesome.

Of course, like so many of these incidents, it’s not about the thing itself (no one seriously thinks a Kinte cloth is going to disrupt anything), but once the government says “you can’t”, no matter how reflexively, and a citizen tells the government to fuck right off, then we cannot allow that sort of disobedience.

The government is not the dispensing chemist of my freedom, nor to that of this young man and damn straight for standing up for it.


My read of this was the school officials wanted it gone, and the kid wouldn’t obey, so the school officials ordered the police to take the kid out. Not sure it’s the police who were frightened but the school district.


Hey, they probably thought it was a Muslim Terrorist cloth.



There’s nothing wrong with trying to enforce rules (if there is a rule against this). The misdeed was using jackbooted thugs to do the enforcement that the administration couldn’t do.

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We have a rule that specifically allows Mr. Holmes to wear his kente.


If Americans are allowed to exercise their freedoms, the terrorists win!



I don’t think you’ll find all that much agreement with this, as it relates to this story, or as a universal truth, around these parts.


Reminds me of kid who got suspended wearing a Pepsi t-shirt on Coke Day.


“Student ejected from ceremony for graduating while black.”

Uh-huh. I see. So it is Boingboing’s position that a white student who refused to take off such a cloth – or similar adornment – would not have been kicked out.

Right. Got it.

//As far as creds go, let me note that I think it’s a dumb policy, and the kid should have been allowed to wear it. But as far as crying RAYYYCCISSTTT!! about almost literally everything, man – what a warped view of the world.


I don’t think Tinker applies, it was addressing officials blocking students from wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam war:

The Court held that for school officials to justify censoring speech, they “must be able to show that [their] action was caused by something more than a mere desire to avoid the discomfort and unpleasantness that always accompany an unpopular viewpoint,” allowing schools to forbid conduct that would “materially and substantially interfere with the requirements of appropriate discipline in the operation of the school.”

Basically you can ban stuff as long as you’re viewpoint neutral and have some valid motive. So they’re allowed to have a policy that says you’re not allowed to wear other garments over your graduation gown as long as it’s being applied fairly and wasn’t invented just to avoid kente cloths. The motive could be they want an orderly graduation without a lot of fuss over all the random stuff people are trying to customize their gowns with.


It’s wrong to enforce rules that shouldn’t exist … so, yeah, about that. :laughing:

Tinker has been taken repeatedly as precedent in case law for any number of things. There’s no reason to doubt that the courts would see a specific, non-hateful cultural expression as being less protected than a protest against the Vietnam war.

If the school can’t manage to write rules that prevent kids from “tricking out their sweet sweet graduation robes” without sending cops to eject a kid for wearing a kente cloth, then maybe they’d just better prepare to deal with a bunch of kids “tricking out their sweet sweet graduation robes.” :expressionless:

To any kids in the audience, I suggest flame decals, a non-functional spoiler, and running lights. :smiley: