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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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Area high school faces media backlash in wake of Instagram photo

Area high school faces media backlash in wake of Instagram photo


Social media is a venue in which discussion on important issues regarding language and race can flourish and spread rapidly. In the case of two high school students who live near the University of Mary Washington, this is most definitely true. There are no exceptions, however, in what information is spread. For the two high school students this was in the form of a controversial message on the back of their t- shirts, which they shared on Instagram.

The two seniors of Mountain View High School, just 20 minutes north of Fredericksburg, took a photo on Friday, Oct. 23 during the high school’s homecoming spirit week. Wearing shirts of their orange and maroon school colors, the students tagged the back of their shirts with the phrase “N16ga we made it”, replacing the ‘IG’ in the derogatory ‘N word’ with a ’16’ to symbolize their graduating class of 2016.

The photo ignited debate on social media and got the attention of national and international media including coverage by New York Daily News, NBC Washington and The Independent in the UK.

Having two caucasian students advertising such a slogan at a school that’s population is comprised of less than 10% of African Americans is asking for the media to attack. Former Mountain View students that now attend UMW are disappointed in their alma mater and its students’ defacement.

“My opinion on the incident at Mountain View is I think that they should not have done that, I think that it is definitely something that they should not have put on their shirt. It is rude, it is very disrespectful towards other people,” Val Colon said, freshman political science and international relations double major.

Hunter Watson, a freshman business administration and science double major, finds that the situation has been blown out of proportion.

“The ‘N word’ is obviously not acceptable and should not have been put on a shirt, but I think it was blown way out of proportion,” Watson said.

Watson does not believe that these girls should get all of this attention for the representation they bring to their school. He believes that the Mountain View that he will forever cherish is being plagued with a bad reputation that it does not deserve.

Watson further claimed “there has been no prior racial discrimination at my high school before, so this is absurd.”

According to these former Mountain View students, it is extremely disrespectful to use derogatory language at this day and age, especially in a public school system.