By Tonya Whitaker
NDG Staff Writer
In 2010, we would like to believe individuals are judged on the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. Rowlett teen JerrKelia “KeeKee” Bazile has taken on these issues in her sophomore book titled The Color of My Skin. Bazile, 17, who graduated from Sachse High School in 2010, recounts the good and bad experiences she witnessed during her time at the school. The book details her fight against the institutional racism she said existed at Sachse high. The end result was becoming one of the first black cheerleaders on the school’s varsity squad and status as an honor student. Bazile currently attends the University of Houston main campus.
Bazile boldy confronts institutional racism in her book. To allow the reader to sympathize with her battles, she references statistics and repeats the importance that Sachse is “83.1 percent white and only 4.6 percent black.” Bazile claims she witnessed racism from white administrators at Sachse who did not treat all students the same. In addition, she said black students were not encouraged to take advanced placement classes and scholarship monies went to whites with “similar or with less academic achievements as black students.”
After reading The Color of My Skin, especially the first few chapters, I thought the book was a gutsy move by Bazile. Racism is a taboo subject, and no one outside the reigns of an extremist group wants to admit publically they hold negative thoughts about a certain group of people. The oppressed tend to shy away from saying a word.
“I wanted my voice to be heard,” the soft-spoken Bazile said. “You really don’t hear young or older people speaking out about racial issues.”
I attempted to contact Steve Hammerle, principal of Sachse, to allow him to respond to Bazile’s accusations. I was referred to Reavis Wortham, director of communications for Garland ISD. Wortham said neither Bazile nor her parents have filed a formal complaint with the district regarding their accusations. Sachse high is a part of the Garland ISD.
“No one has brought their concerns forward. We have not seen this young lady (KeeKee) or her parents take the necessary steps to start an investigation. We always welcome patrons and students to voice their concerns; and we address any concern that parents and students have so we can benefit all district patrons to the best of our abilities.”
Wortham said Garland ISD has publicly recognized Bazile with its Evidence of Excellence award for the publication of her first book, The Piercing That Changed My Life.
Bazile dedicates the remainder of The Color of My Skin to her entrepreneurial endeavors and educates readers on cheerleading and famous celebs who took part in the activity. Can you imagine Samuel L. Jackson as a cheerleader? Bazile tells us that we can achieve anything in life, and she draws inspiration from her parents, Barack Obama and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. She reminds readers that sacrifice can make one uncomfortable but, in the end, it is worth all the stress.
“If you withstand the challenges long enough, you will find that your success awaits you on the other side of your mind.”