Hundreds of students at an Oregon high school walked out of their classrooms last week after a classmate’s racist TikTok began to make the rounds. In the video, a female student sitting in bed methodically recites racial slurs for Black people, Muslims, Asians and Latinos. Another student behind the camera encourages her with questions.
The video sent shockwaves through Tigard High School, in a suburb outside Portland. And last Wednesday, students of color and allies walked off campus in protest.
“I didn’t believe it, I was like, ‘No way,’” said Sean Sorko-Ram, 17, a senior at Tigard who is Black. “You hear someone say the N-word, you hear things here and there, but all of them together in one video. … The best word I can use is flabbergasted.”
Sorko-Ram said she immediately recognized the girl in the video — they had passed each other in the school’s front office before. While hearing those words come out of her mouth was a shock to the system, she said it was hard to be surprised.
“I’m desensitized,” Sorko-Ram said. “I literally listened and I’m like, ‘There’s another one.’”
High school and district officials said they couldn’t comment on whether the student is still on campus, but noted that a range of punishments are explored in these situations. For hate speech, though, expulsion is usually not one of them.
Racism in the hallways of Tigard High isn’t uncommon, said Sorko-Ram, who has been called the N-word in class.
“I was a freshman and I was in English class,” she said. “There was this boy who sat next to me and thought it would be funny to call me an ‘ape n—–,’ hard ‘r’. In that moment you just kind of sit there and you’re like, ‘What?’”
Friends have been followed home and called slurs in passing, Sorko-Ram said, and many are too afraid to come forward.
Source: NBC News