A 17-year-old high school senior was so excited to get his senior sweater to commemorate his senior year until racism reared its ugly head. Christ the King High School student Malcolm Xavier Combs wanted “Malcolm X” embroidered on the back of his sweater. Not only because it is an abbreviation of his name, but he also could pay homage to black activist Malcolm X.
Assistant Principal of Instruction for Computer Science, Guidance and Social Studies Veronica Arbitello allegedly pulled Combs out of class and told him that Malcolm X is someone that she shouldn’t “want to be associated with.” She later made fun of Combs, telling the school’s basketball coach, Joe Arbitello, who is also her husband, that Combs was “the new Malcolm X.”
I felt insulted,” Combs told the NY Daily News. “They just laughed at me.”
Combs later cancelled his order for the $40 sweater.
Combs’ parents are arranging a meeting with the school and have also invited reps from Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network.
“I’m asking for a legacy for the African-American students who come in after my son, so they won’t be ridiculed for their culture,” Combs’ mother, Mychelle told the News. “Malcolm X not only represented African-Americans, he also represented Muslims. I wonder if she has a problem with them as well.”
“This is absurd that in 2018 we have to teach school administration how to be culturally sensitive,” said Rev. Kevin McCall of the National Action Network. “In the spirit of Malcolm X, we are calling cultural inclusion events with this school administration so that they can understand what it means to be black in America.”
Mychelle Combs said she will not be filing a lawsuit, but does want more minority staff at the school.