Sunday, June 26, 2022

The Color of My Skin touches on institutional racism

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.”

13 COMMENTS

  1. I know Steve Hammerle personally. He is happily married to a Asian woman and has adopted her children as his own. This young author has every right to her opinion and seems to be an excellent writer. That being said though, very much of her story is inaccurate with her accusations of the Sachse high school administrators. I wish the young lady well but, in the future if she really had all this courage to take subject of institutional racism then maybe she should do it while she is a student at the school. Now, that it is years after she has graduated it looks more like she is trying to sell books.

  2. She is very wrong about her facts in the book. 83 % white, try not even 50% white. It cracks me up that someone who went to school at Sachse and wrote a book, clearly to sale and make money doesn’t even research and get her facts correct. Now everyone that reads the book will believe what she has to say. 1st african american cheerleader in the histroy of Sachse which they list est. around 1900. Yes, the city was, but the school was only established 8 years ago. Facts are, only a few african americans have ever even tried out for cheerleader. WOW!!

  3. This book is such a lie! I have 3 daughters who attended Sachse High and we never saw any racism. The Bazile parents have had 3 children graduate from Sachse High and they believe there was racism there! Something is wrong!!!!!!!!!

  4. This girl should have lawsuits upon lawsuits filed upon her for her outrageous lies! Like stated above, her statistics are clearly false. Its a sad world that we live in when someone tries to make money off of lies about a very severe issue. This girl should be ashamed as well as her parents. SAD 🙁 Lets listen to the beatles and realize “all you need is love”. And Sachse is a very loving school.
    -peace&love

  5. I attend Sachse. I am currently a Senior. This is not true. IN THE SLIGHTEST. And though she says she is Sachse’s first black cheerleader, the school hasn’t even been open for ten years. If Sachse was racist, I would support her 100%. But seeing as I go here, and that in all my four years, have not seen a HINT of powerful, if any racism, I must say that this girl is a complete LIAR. I do not support liars. Good riddance that you are now gone. We don’t need any false accusations. It’s people like you that make me sick. I have plenty of good friends. But instead of going about counting out how many white or black friends I have, I would rather say that I am color blind.

  6. Sunday December 19, 2010 Kee Kee posted on her facebook status that she did not write “The Color of My Skin”. She further stated that she was crying, not because of the treatment she received, but because she was forced to say everything she said. I showed it to a couple of people Sunday afternoon. BySunday night it had been deleted.

    We did our own research. Kee Kee does not believe there was institutional racism at Sachse. Her dad is the one who feels that way. He wrote the book, not Kee Kee. He made it seem like Kee Kee wrote i because he said he will sell if it comes from a teenager.

    Kee Kee loved Sachse High School.

  7. Isn’t everyone (regardless their race) “one of the first” at anything in a school that had its first graduating seniors in 2005? (this is a fact pulled straight from the SHS website) I have seen for myself how hard GISD works to be “color blind” and provide a diverse environment for their students. Regardless who wrote the book, shame on them! And even if her father wrote it, SHE did the interviews on WFAA in DFW and in Houston. On her website, she states one of the reasons for writing the book as rising unemployment rates and tough economic times. Wow! Really?

  8. Isn’t everyone (regardless their race) “one of the first” at anything in a school that had its first graduating seniors in 2005? (this is a fact pulled straight from the SHS website) I have seen for myself how hard GISD works to be “color blind” and provide a diverse environment for their students. Regardless who wrote the book, shame on them! And even if her father wrote it, SHE did the interviews on WFAA in DFW and in Houston. On her website, she states one of the reasons for writing the book as rising unemployment rates and tough economic times. Wow! Really?

  9. this is just stupid. i am an african american student that attends sachse high school and i have never been discriminated against on ANY basis while attending sachse high school. my older borther went there and everyone loved him and now my younger brother and sister also go there. NO ONE has displayed any actions of racism toward any of us. i love sachse high school- you’d never catch me slandering the principals or faculty and ruining people’s careers. and if her dad wrote the book she’s ignorant for putting her name on it and can only excpect that people will lash out at her. she’s an adult, she can do what she wants. there comes a time in all people’s lives where they have to stop letting their parents rule them and i’m thinking its about that time for her.

  10. Classic parental power play over their children to, in this case, to use race to make money .. at the expense of a wonderful town and high school staff. Race is not the issue here, it seems to be lack of parental engagement. Where was this parental involvement during your daughter’s high school career??? Things may have turned out to your liking!!! I would suggest that instead of blaming others for your shortcomings as a parent, you right this obvious wrong, and cease this slander before you completely ruin your daughter’s name. I hope KeeKee eventually can muster the courage to break away from her Father’s grip on her life. On another note, legally, this is pure slander and if it were directed at me, I’d sue you seven ways to Sunday!!!

  11. I am not sure about the allegations that Mr. Bazile wrote the book or what Kee Kee wrote on her website. I can imagine, given the emails that I have just read and their strong emotion against this book, that she might have been very upset over the response she most likely received.

    I am not an African American, but a white teacher, who experienced institutionalized bullying within GISD. Also, I am not sure if any of you are aware of the ongoing lawsuit against GISD by the NAACP. It is the reason all district employees must attend a Diversity Training where they and I speak first hand on this because I had to miss a seminar on How to Teach Down Syndrome Children to Read to attend this training where pictures of people in differing dress are presented, one in a motorcycle outfit, another dressed very professionally, etc. and the presenter then asks the audience, “Which one of these is a lawyer?” “Which one of these is a mechanic?” and on and on. Something happened in GISD to require such basic 101 Humanity to be in need of teaching to 7,300 employees.

    There is also a section of the GISD handbook that specifically states how Garland is to recruit African American teachers, and even spells out how many predominantly black universities they are to go to and how many have to be out of state (7 I think it is). There seems to be a disclaimer though that states that if no “qualified African American candidate” can be found, then another ethnicity will fulfill this requirement. As an over ten year district employee with a spotless record and excellent job reviews, my teaching position was “non renewed” but the teacher hired after me, who was recruited solely over the internet from the Philippines, was not certified until the end of the school year, was not a U.S. citizen had her contract to teach for GISD renewed. A short time later another teacher from the same country with similar qualifications was hired as well. I saw the news report on Kee Kee’s book and felt that she might have touched on a significant problem within GISD. Man’s inhumanity to man is a thread that runs through history and it is not hard to imagine that it could play into Kee Kee’s situation, as well as my situation.

    I am surprised by how defensive and hostile all of your comments are. Does Kee Kee or her family not have a right to their own experience and perceptions even if they are not or have not been your own? I feel a bit like I did, reading all of the comments, when I would try to tell a fellow teacher about my experience, those employed by the district and possibly afraid of losing their job or of being perceived as disloyal, and they would act as if I had no right to be upset and that I had better just keep my mouth shut about everything and be thankful that I had been able to secure a part time position within the district after I was, I feel, discriminated against for whatever reasons, there are definitely factors involved that would benefit the district due to the ethnicity requirements, but the sad thing is those requirements were put in place to help the African American teachers of our country and city, not those from other countries. It is sad to me to see those who you would think might at least be open to this young woman’s experience and at least support her right to tell her story as she sees it and her first book does not deal with racial issues and I have read both of her books, in fact I took a copy of The Color of My Skin to the Rowlett Public Library and they added it to their collection this week, they already had her first book, The Piercing That Changed My Life – an inspirational book with many resources for teens that are helpful, and I am not sure if any of you have read these books, but I would certainly hope so given the strong negative opinions you have formed and expressed. Some how this is really sad to me, so I can imagine how Kee Kee must have felt if she was exposed to a lot of the same. I hope you will take some time to check out the ongoing lawsuit against GISD by the NAACP and I hope you will read both books, they are quite an accomplishment for a teenager and I have no doubt her father did not pen them. He just supported and encouraged his daughter as he has all three of his kids and actually as he did me in a few conversations I had with him. As I told him, “You have a gift of bringing out the best in those around you” and I truly believe that was his role in the book, “The Color of My Skin”.
    God Bless and I hope my words are received in the spirit of friendship and common good they were intended.
    Thanks

  12. You had to attend to sachse to know what she means. there are distinct situations in which favoritism on no other grounds besides race are seen and felt by certain students. the lady who said all her brothers and sisters attended sachse needs to try and be more involved in the bigger school programs and she might see some…like trying out for a spot in the play that iv in my four years havent recalled seeing but one black person on stage and others working lights. but the truth is there are more racist students then faculty and when they feel their comfort zone is under attack they use their established presence as well as their race to sway positions of authority to side with them. all they have to do is show their discomfort with “that black girl/guy” and the rest is done mentally but the coach or whoever to fit the best interest and comfort of the team.ive been pulled out of games so peoples white sons could play and we’d lose the game…something sachse is famous for. my best friend lost his starting varsity spot to a white kid coming from jv because he was a senior and they wanted him to have the chance to play. we lost every game. not all faculty and staff are racist but the may be more tolerant of their own race in situations that may call for discipline of a student. i was pepper sprayed in an incident where black kids were fighting and i was on my way to the bus. for one, pepper spray for a one on one high school fight; and for two earlier that day 2 white girls are bouncing around between lunch tables and are separated by 2 teachers and sent to class. you may not see the racism in one situation but in comparison to others surrounding, you may just get the picture. Hammerle is cool and miller too but as far as im concerned fuck sachse.

  13. Your blog is not displaying correctly in Netscape, but I have joined your RSS subscription anyway

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