A black New Jersey student body president was stripped of her position after mocking her white male peers on Instagram.
Lawrenceville School’s Maya Peterson donned L.L. Bean boots and a Yale University sweater to pose for a photo which she describes as a typical “Lawrenceville boi;” white, cocky and Republican.
Peterson, who graduated in June, added hashtags like “#romney2016,” “#confederate,” and “#peakedinhighschool” before posting. It was a joke, she said, inspired by classmates who complained to the school’s dean of students about Peterson’s own senior photo, in which she and 10 friends, all black, raised their fists in a “Black Power” salute. But not everyone thought it was funny.
“You’re the student body president, and you’re mocking and blatantly insulting a large group of the school’s male population,” one student commented on the photo.
“Yes, I am making a mockery of the right-wing, confederate-flag hanging, openly misogynistic Lawrentians,” Peterson responded. “If that’s a large portion of the school’s male population, then I think the issue is not with my bringing attention to it in a lighthearted way, but rather why no one has brought attention to it before…”
The photo was uploaded to Peterson’s account last March, three weeks later, administrators told her she would face disciplinary action unless she resigned from her posts as student body president.
Peterson was the first black woman to serve in that role at The Lawerenceville School. It’s a prestigious boarding school near Princeton, N.J.
A large portion of the schools faculty members and students felt “it was not fitting of a student leader to make comments mocking members of the community.” But the photo was ammunition for students who never wanted Peterson to be president in the first place.
Peterson stated that she was sick and tired of fighting vicious attacks from the students. “I’m not saying what I did was right,” she said. “But it wasn’t racist. I was just calling those guys exactly what they are. And Lawrenceville is the type of place where those kids are idolized.” Peterson told Buzzfeed.
By the way, The Lawrenceville School just started admitting blacks 50 years ago.
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