Monday, March 21, 2011

Bi-Racial Student Larz Cosby Overreacts To White Student Wearing Klan Hood As A Joke At Alta High School Spirit Event In Utah

Note: All posts about this incident can be simultaneously displayed HERE, with the most recent post appearing first.

A White student at Alta High School showed up for a spirit event and donned a white Klan hood, and a bi-racial student is all torqued off and has vented on his blog. Larz Cosby, a junior at Alta, thinks there was racist intent -- and he's also upset that a number of students seem supportive of the student who donned the hood. Reported on the Deseret News; KSL news video embedded below:

Video Courtesy of

From Larz Crosby's blog comes this account of the incident:

On March 17, 2011 @ approximately 9:00am the school was gathering for our annual spirit bowl. I woke up excited because the first spirit bowl I attended was fun but this time I was going to actually participate.

While walking across the gym floor to find a seat, a student wearing a white hood with holes for eyes was jumping around. When his friends saw that I had noticed they began pointing and laughing. I immediately demanded that he remove the hood. He then approached me and began dancing in my face and taunting me. I snatch the hood and threw it behind me and his crowd of friends became very displeased with this. I found a seat, finally, and sat down next to a friend. She, her sister and her friend all asked me if I was ok. I told them I was ok, and then began to contemplate how I was going to handle the situation.

I felt numb! I had no idea that the KKK was part of my high school spirit bowl.

Cosby also reported that the same student was running in circles, "hailing Hitler".

Afterwards, Cosby seemed quite offended that the student was sitting in Spanish class as if nothing happened. He's also offended that a large group of students expressed support for the "offending" student on a Facebook page. Apparently, Cosby thinks the "offending" student ought to be witch-hunted and forced to endure Soviet-style diversity indoctrination. He claims that the chances of a non-White student being treated unethically at Alta High are "very high", although he admits that non-White students who have "conformed" have no problem with "bullying".

Perhaps the non-Whites who have "conformed" choose not to make race an issue, so they are more accepted as a result. Perhaps Larz Cosby has a history of copping an attitude about race all the time; some of the comments appended to his blog post imply this might be the case.

Canyons School District officials are concerned about the reports they're hearing and are taking the allegations seriously. The district's office of civil rights is looking into it, and based on the evidence it finds will come up with a course of action that could potentially include discipline for the student who allegedly donned the hood. A comment posted on Cosby's blog indicates the student has already been suspended for three days. Update March 30th: The student was suspended for seven days.

There's a mixed reaction to Cosby's post in the comments section (after the jump):

Posted by aint yo bizzness on March 19, 2011 at 3:34 am
dude you shouldnt be so butt hurt over a joke. i aint white and i go to alta, but you dont see me crying. i ignore mackay and hes just a tool. i dont think he really meant it though. do you really think he really hates colored people…? how is that you are the only colored person at alta getting all hurt about it?? IT WAS A JOKE. although what he did was stupid, you took it way too hard. i get critized alot, but i know people dont really mean it. its life bro, deal with it. and this is coming from a colored junior at alta! just get over it, its not a big deal at all. there are alot of fake tough guys at alta high school who think they can do whatever the fuck they want to others, and you just gotta fuck it. mackay is just one of them, and is why i dont like him. as goes with most of the football team ( which cant talk shit going 4-7). there just tools. and im sorry if anyone gets offended by what i say, its totally true. alta is known for douchebag guys. im just saying it was stupid, but dont get all butt hurt over some joke…

Posted by Anonymous on March 19, 2011 at 11:43 pm
I would like to remain anonymous but I know Mackay very well and was there. Him and his meathead friends seriously get along with just about everyone if you actually talk to them. They’re not racist and they just do stupid things cause they are trying to entertain everyone. He shouldn’t have put the hat on but let’s get real Larz he ran in a circle then took it off, it was on for about 2 minutes tops – it wasn’t appropriate but what your saying isn’t either, especially when you know it’s not true. I mean dude one of his best buddies is black! If you have a problem with Mackay tell him, you know he feels bad that it offended you but why don’t you tell him instead of trying to cause drama and he will realize he hurt someone by trying to be funny and he’ll knock it off! Common you’re talking like an adult, why don’t you be one.

Posted by Bready on March 21, 2011 at 4:08 am
dont think this blog accurately portrays what went on. I was there and saw everything first hand. The Junior class was told to wear white to the assembly while the seniors were to wear black. The spirit bowl is not taken lightly at Alta. The student did not bring the mask to pick on the “minority”. He simply did it to poke fun at the seniors. When Larz saw the mask, he took matters into his own hands grabbing the mask and throwing it down. Many other black kids walked by the mask and laughed because of the nature, “poking fun at seniors”. The kid then ran around the court when the Juniors beat the Seniors in a game. THERE WAS NO RACIAL SLUR intended. Larz then takes things one step farther calling his dad, who by the way called the police… Is this a way to handle things in high school. I talked to the kid after, he felt bad, but did not mean to offend larz or anyone else. Just a simple joke. This is High School. Let kids be kids.

Posted by senior at alta on March 21, 2011 at 5:26 pm
I personally know the person that was involved and have had the chance to speak with him since the incident. He feels terrible and had no idea that it would hurt someone like it did. He is already suspended for 3 days and after speaking with him multiple times about it, would do anything to take it back and do anything to make Larz feel comfortable again. I read these comments and see complete ignorance by so many people. Yes, albeit, what happened was extremely dumb, thoughtless, and did deserve a consequence. He truly learned his lesson, and I think that a 3 day suspension, all the negative publicity, and sites like this will haunt him enough to have not only him learn from his lesson, but also many others to come in the future. What was done was thoughtless, but I have known the boy who did this for over 14 years and he is in NO WAY a racist in any way shape or form. He has plenty of nonwhites in his extended family even, and what it comes down to is that he made a mistake.

If Larz, his family, or any of these supporters are truly wanting to pursue this and continue to bring more consequences upon the boy, I ask what purpose would this serve? You are already making this into an ENORMOUS ordeal and have proven your point about how terrible demonstrations and jokes like this are. Enough awareness has been spread, the question is, do you really want to torment and pursue to indict a boy that made a mistake and is doing everything in his power to make it better. I agree it is not a laughing matter, but to say that Alta High School or even Utah in general contains a lot of racists is absolutely farfetched. In fact, if you really want to go into the details, there has been more acts of reverse racism demonstrated in Utah over the last ten years. I commend Larz for not violently retaliating and expressing how he felt to administration and on this page, but the point has been made and lets all move on from this experience peacefully and more educated.

Looks like Crosby's getting some sound advice from some of his peers. No one's attempting to bring back Jim Crow to Salt Lake -- this incident should not be presented as a crisis. He should thicken up his skin and move on; he's fortunate enough to be in an upper middle class high school where he can get a good education. And his writing does show that he's received a good education.

Less attitude -- more gratitude.


Clay Boggess said...

This student showed very poor taste in judgment. Even if he really did mean it as a joke (which I seriously question), to even be associated with a Klan hood and do a Hitler salute was completely wrong and inappropriate. I don’t blame Cosby at all for being upset. How could he see it any other way than as a racial attack? He did not overreact but merely brought a problem to light.

Anonymous said...

He thinks it was all about him. It was directed at the seniors, not Larz, a junior. I know Larz personally and being a senior in a sophomore class (and mistaken often as one) he would bully us to the point where he and the other kids in his group forced us out of our own PE class on occasion.

Deseret Dawg said...

To Clay Boggess: I agree that wearing a Klan hood is not in the best of taste; I personally wouldn't do that as a joke.

But in reviewing the comments on Crosby's blog, there seems to be a group of people who want to witch-hunt the White kid who did this, to stigmatize him and publicly shame him. This is not only inappropriate, but an over-reaction.

A three-day suspension is sufficient. Then move on.

Anonymous said...

I'm a student at Alta and I agree that this has gone out of proportion. He meant no harm, and a 3 day suspension is sufficient to teach him a lesson. I saw the whole thing first hand and he was in no way doing any sort of Nazi salute to Hitler, he was just putting his hand in the air with his pointer finger up just symbolizing that juniors were #1 because they just beat the seniors in a game. He wasn't hailing Hitler like the news stations are saying. He did the Klan thing which wasnt a well thought out prank but that was it.

Anonymous said...

I suppose I'll follow suit and remain anonymous as it seems to be popular on Cosby's blog as well as here.

The point of bringing this matter to light is the action itself, not its intended target. The target is not relevant, the atrocious action was. There is no way to justify the student's action.

It is also wrong to tell minorities to suck it up and deal because that's just how things are. Letting it go is the same as condoning the behavior.

If you eliminate all fake and anonymous posts to Cosby's blog, you're left with comments from people using their REAL names and the vast majority are fellow students who support Larz. That says everything to the general public reading the blog. Kudos to those who have the spine and character to stand up for what they believe in!!

Racism appears to be Alive and Well at Alta High School. Rawhide? These kids are so ignorant about history that they think they've come up with a secret code nobody gets? No wonder the ignorant student didn't understand the ramifications of his actions, he's severely uneducated!

What a sad time in our world when we cannot educate our children not to repeat the mistakes of the past.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping for a response but instead you deleted my comment. I feel that this would only happen if I had reached some kind of truth, so thank you for the validation.

Unfortunately, it reiterates my first point. You are a weasel and a charlatan. Go do something else as a hobby because the only voice you present is your uneducated own.

zack said...

where is the proof that what cosby said is true, i would like to know where the proof is for one. I would also like to see both sides of the story rather than just taking one kids point of view that is poor journalism if you ask me. whats mackays side of the story? i know for a fact that cosby did not throw the hood off mackay took it off himself.

Brohammas said...

this blog post is a prime example of you absolutely not "getting it". Your advice for him to count his blessings and toughen up is not only calous but historically ignorant.
We should talk
Dalyn Montgomery
Jordan High class of '94

Anonymous said...

Kids shouldn't have to worry about being intimidated, provoked, or bullied at school. I don't think it's a matter of sucking it up and laughing it off. I wasn't at the said event, but can't see how representing a Klan hood at a school assembly is acceptable for an academic environment.

I don't think the kid needs to be flogged, but it could be a time for some educators to turn this into an experience of education. It's not alright.

I'm from Salt Lake but live in North Carolina and have lived in New York, Alabama, and Mississippi. In many ways Utah has a much larger spirit of contention between, races, religions, and classes, than even the Deep South.

The demographics of the state are going to continue changing. For the Beehive State to remain a decent place to live, the culture and population as a whole has to become a less myopic. That doesn't mean accepting of bad morality or loss of identity. It means continuing to thrive and remaining true in a shifting landscape. How can one discuss ideas of difference with any sort of civility, if they can't even see life from the others experience?

I also find the name of this blog to be quite offensive. You are not the voice of Deseret and to say so is an embarrassment.

Danny Barber said...

What is claimed to be a joke has in fact highlighted the actual problems with the lack of tolerance at Alta High School. Even if I acknowledge that the offender intended the incident to be a joke, the homophobic and racist comments stated by other students at the school, on this comment board and the offended students blog, are truly concerning. As a graduate of Alta, I am disappointed with such comments and beliefs, but am in no way surprised. For those of you who are maintaining such intolerant positions toward this student, who has only expressed concern about personal safety, I challenge you to spend a day in an environment where you are the extreme minority and the majority either overtly or covertly holds ideals of hatred towards your person (as was the case in the situation at Alta).

And for those of you whom defend such actions that dangerously walk the line of intolerance for the sake of humor; let you be thankful that the incident did not occur elsewhere. What pases for humor is Sandy Utah just might have passed for assault, or even murder in a large portion of not only our own country, but the world as well.

Danny Barber
Alta class of 2008

Anonymous said...

This is sad he kid to see in 2011.As an African American woman this was very hurtful.Jokes make people laugh not cry.The kid that did this has to pay for his actions.To me this is simple he needs to be expelled and a civil lawsiut.Where was the staff at Alta?

Anonymous said...

The KKK wears white hoods just like the one the kid wore now that he can be in trouble it's a joke.His parents should be ashamed of their seleves the kid at Alta that did this needs to pay the price.Wow the principl really let alot slip through i want him fired, I'm speechless they have to wonder if this is racist just open up and history book about Hilter case closed.

Josh said...

What would have happened if a kid had come dressed up as Joseph Smith with a bunch of middle school aged girls as his "wives"? Would that be offensive enough to warrant attention?

Steponme said...

It'a all insanity!! I would like to know why african-americans are the only group who get to be racist. Everyone else "SIT DOWN and SHUT UP!" Or we'll call the NAACP and the Justice Department and my mom, and my dad, and the newspaper.

We should really stand up and say, "We are not going to take it any more!"

As Anonymous @ 7:41 said: "It is also wrong to tell minorities (white people) to suck it up and deal because that's just how things are (don't do ANYTHING ever, that could possible be construed as racist). Letting it go is the same as condoning the behavior."

My comments are in (). I agree to allow any race or culture to cry "racism" at the slightest offense without calling them on the carpet for it demeans REAL racism and condones the behavior.

It's a sad, sad day when I have to teach my kids about political correctness instead of teaching them about tolerance!

Anonymous said...

Speaking out against hate = over reacting?

Yes, and those adults who spoke out against rape in the catholic church were 'over reacting'. And those silly blacks who spoke out against similar hate in the 1960s were just 'over reacting'.

Its this kind of mentality that keeps most non-mormons thinking that most of you are basically rural racists with crazy beliefs who live in the desert and pray on the weak. I do not personally hold that opinion, but you are giving your religion a bad name, as those kids were with not only their hate speech, but their endorsement of it.

Anonymous said...

To those of you who really think there's been more reverse-discrimination in Utah, you clearly are ignorant. Name the few examples you can think of and I will gladly name more on the opposite end. People often discount the race card because of what they hear from Rush Limbaugh or Sean Hannedy. Have you ever thought that in many cases, it is a legitimate race issue? I feel for this kid Mackay, but given the history of this country and racism, his actions should not be taken lightly! The comments by non-whites on this blog defending the accused are unfortunate as it is a clear display that they have grown to accept this kind of bigotry! Shame on the faculty and administration at Alta for not taking the opportunity to make this a teaching moment!

Anonymous said...

"He should thicken up his skin and move on; he's fortunate enough to be in an upper middle class high school where he can get a good education. And his writing does show that he's received a good education."

WOW...just, WOW...
What an ignorant thing to say. Saying "he should thicken up his skin" is similar to the "get over it" meme that White folks like yourself tend to suggest anytime a person of color decides to speak up/out against their experiences. Why is that? I'm always curious to know how whites assume that whites are better judges of racism against blacks than blacks themselves.

For you to say that "he's fortunate enough to be in an upper middle class high school where he can get a good education" suggests he should just bow his head, be grateful and deal with it? Because what? He couldn't possibly get a good education elsewhere or otherwise?

Shame on you.

Anonymous said...

"For you to say that "he's fortunate enough to be in an upper middle class high school where he can get a good education" suggests he should just bow his head, be grateful and deal with it? Because what? He couldn't possibly get a good education elsewhere or otherwise? Shame on you. "


I was going to comment on this very thing, but Anonymous 1 said it for me...

Anonymous 2