Seven Black senior softball players were not included in the team’s banner at a North Carolina high school, The News & Observer reports. Orange High School parents placed up to four banners outside the school’s softball field ahead of the season. However, not all players were accounted for.
The banners included the roster’s names and numbers but with seven seniors active, three were missing. All of the white girls received their shout out on the signs except the Black players and their families.
Camelia Latta-Harshaw, the mother of one the Black players said, “It’s not like these parents did not know who my child was. They have been playing T-ball together. They have been in the county. Three of them have been in the same elementary school with her.”
After being notified of the discrepancy en route to a game, Latta-Harshaw decided to address the issues with one of the parents responsible for creating the banners. The concerned mother was told that her daughter wasn’t placed on the banner because she didn’t participate with the team during the fall season.
However, team tryouts didn’t take place until February to which Latta-Harshaw’s daughter made the cut. After making the team, the mother claimed her daughter received very little playing time during games. Latta-Harshaw was aware that not each player gets adequate PT however, her daughter’s self-esteem was affected.
“It’s almost like, am I part of the team?,” she said. Despite receiving minimal play time, the concerned mom started asking her daughter, “Why am I here?” Latta-Harshaw’s declaration of racism was dismissed by other parents and her daughter’s teammates.
Reportedly, Orange County Schools have documented at least 70 racially based incidents in their middle and high schools. Any additional reports went undocumented once the school system was outed on local news stations.
Professional player A.J. Andrews says she too experienced a bumpy road playing in predominately white sport as a Black woman.“I don’t think it’s an assumption to look at softball and say, ‘Oh, there’s not a lot of Black representation,’” she said. “All you have to do is turn on the TV.”