Words have Meaning (but I’m Not a Racist…and neither is this 11 year old)

Mistaken identity could get you expelled

Do Chris Schauble and Obama "look alike"?

True Story.

When Grayson Thomas, age 11, attended school last Friday, the last thing he ever expected was to be labeled a racist and instantly (and permanently) banned from his school. What was his crime, you ask? No…he didn’t say any of the words you are thinking, what happened was much more innocent and surprising.

The boy saw local CBS affiliate KTLA NEWS Anchor Chris Schauble in the school cafeteria, dressed in a suit and tie, walking around and shaking hands with teachers and students. Mr. Schauble was visiting the school to have lunch with his daughter, who also attends the school. Upon first glance, the 11 year old believed the man might be Obama then quickly realized he was not. However, thinking the resemblance was worth sharing he told his friend that “Obama is attending our school.” Soon, his friend told another friend, who passed it along and eventually word got back to the daughter of Schauble who took it to be a “racist” comment. When the girl reported to her teacher that that Grayson was telling people her father looked like Obama, and that it made her feel uncomfortable, the teacher passed the news to the principal who told the school superintendent, Dr. Winger.

It was at this point, things took a strange turn. Grayson was attending the school on a waiver (due to a recent move) and the superintendent decided the appropriate action was to “recall the waiver” and send Grayson to another school. He called the parents of the boy and explained the severity of the situation and that Grayson would no longer be allowed to attend school starting on Monday. When questioned why he would not be allowed to attend school, they claimed it was because Grayson was making “racist” comments. When pressed for the details of the racist comments, Mr. Winger replied, “It was racist because Grayson was saying that all black men look alike.” But when questioned further by the parents if indeed Grayson had said that all all blacks look alike Winger’s response was, “No, he only said that the man in question looks like Obama.”

Since that time, Grayson has been being bullied via texts by friends of Schauble’s daughter who have taken the “racist” label placed on the boy by the school administration to an entirely new level, calling him a “f***ing racist liar” and a “stalker” among other things. Word of this has also spread to Grayson’s older sister’s school where she is also being taunted about her brother. The bullying texts have yet to be addressed by the school administration.

The father of Grayson, Darren Thomas, contends that his family is anything but racists. “To call my son, and our family, racist is the farthest thing from the truth. Nearly all of his friends are of different races, both at school and in our neighborhood. We’ve even had a black friend live with us, in our house for several months last year. I don’t understand how comparing two people who look similar is a racist remark worthy of this level of discipline. I just don’t get it.”

Frankly, neither do we.

Racism is a serious matter, and should be treated as such. To belittle or make fun of someone simply for the color of their skin has no place in our society. But to say that an 11 year old boy should be expelled from school simply because he believed two people looked alike is ridiculous. One wonders if the same logic could be applied to the long list of actors who are lining up to play the role of the President in a proposed feature film; actors like Will Smith, Harry Lennix and Denzel Washington. Would saying any of these men “look like Obama” enough to play him label you a racist as well. Or how about comparing Donald Trump to a monkey as David Letterman has done many times on his television show? Which of these is worse, I wonder? Has common sense completely left the building in America?

Words have meaning (or at least they used to). As an author, I need them to. I cherish words because finding the right word for the moment is how I make my living. I am a communicator of stories…a builder of worlds based on the words that compose our language. I need words to have meaning or else nobody will be able to enjoy my novels. I could never “whisk” them away to a far away place because “whisking” might be construed to mean “beating” them.

According to the dictionary, a “racist” is “a person who believes in racism, the doctrine that a certain human race is superior to any or all others.”

To use this word in any other way is to rob it of its meaning to suit your desires rather than the truth. Grayson is not a racist…and neither am I. Even though I do think these two men look a little bit alike…Don’t you?



To voice your frustration with this decision, please go directly to the source and contact Dr. Marc Winger, Superintendent of the Newhall School District: 661-291-4000 http://www.newhallschooldistrict.net/

Newhall School District


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38 comments on “Words have Meaning (but I’m Not a Racist…and neither is this 11 year old)
  1. linda combs says:

    Thank you! I am in complete agreement with you. Well done!!

  2. I am the friend that stayed with the Thomas family, mentioned in this article. I have known Tina Thomas my entire life. Back when she was Tina Combs, we grew up acrossed the street from one another in a fairly interegrated neighborhood back in Alabama. She and her sister were my babysitters and her younger brother was my partner in neighborhood mischief. Our families have remained close. After their marriage, in which I attended, I got to know Darren as well. These have always been two people who have judged on peoples hearts and minds, not the color of ones exterior. This is the manner in which they’ve raised their children.

    Last spring while staying with the Thomas family, I got to know all three of their children. At no time had the kids ever given me the inkling of a racists ideology. Especially seeing their friends parade in and out of the house. During this time, 11 year old Grayson, the victim in the farce, became my buddy and(uh’em) my favorite Thomas. He’s precocious and mischeivious as most any 11 year old boy, but anything far and away from being a racist. Or, making comments that could be misconstrued as racist. It’s just not who these people, or any of their children are!

    As a man of color and a close friend to this family, I am offened that such a grotesque accusation could be made against any of them, especially my “G-Man”. The so called adults in control of this situation have handled it horribly and the the Thomas’s have payed the price. I’m not sure what can be done at this point, but it’s gotten to a point where they need to intervene and clear this young man’s name. It’s absolutely the least that they could do. Still, I’m not sure they are wise enough to see how badly this whole thing has been mishandled. I won’t hold breathe. As we say in the
    south,”you can’t fix stupid”.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s fairly well-known in the field of psychology that individuals of a certain ethnicity are typically able to identify and distinguish members of their own “race” more effectively than they are members of another ethnic group (because their upbringing typically exposes them more to members of their own race than another race). I find it both hilarious and aggravating that bureaucrats and so-called civil rights defenders still fail to recognize this basic developmental concept and are still determined to pin it as racism.

  4. I went to school with both these parents and they were wonderful individuals in school and I know they have to be great parents as well. I would say I cannot believe this happened but you know in this day and time nothing surprises me anymore. Everyone wants to yell racism or discrimination every time something doesn’t go their way. The fact of the matter is that if people in charge would get a grip and stick to common sense then alot of things would be handled quickly and would not get out of hand. But no they have to worry about who is putting the most money in their pockets, or getting them the most recognition. Make rules be rules and make them apply to everyone the same no matter who their parents are or who they work for. Mr. Schauble and his daughter should make a public apology to the Thomas family. What is he teaching his daughter or should I say letting the school teach his daughter if he does not follow up with this and make thinmgs right. Concerned friend and parent and difinitely not a racist.

    • millerbros says:

      Thanks so much for helping to set the record straight. Rules should be followed. There was, indeed, no process followed in this case. Just a dictator at the top following his “politically correct” gut. Clearly the wrong guy for this job.

  5. Rick says:

    Sounds to me like these school personal need to be drug tested.

  6. Anna says:

    Perhaps Chris Schauble could help to clear things up on the air! That would make perfect sense to me. And he might also want to have a talk with his daughter and her friends about the very serious issue of “bullying”.

  7. Douglass says:

    Where is the facebook like link ?

  8. millerbros says:

    Anna – that would be the right thing to do. Let’s pray that this happens.

  9. millerbros says:

    Douglass – I’m not sure why my “like” link isn’t working right now. However, I do show you can “share” this article on Facebook and would appreciate you passing the word along in any way you can.

  10. millerbros says:

    Rick – I like your thinking.

  11. millerbros says:

    To voice your frustration with this decision, please go directly to the source and contact Dr. Marc Winger, Superintendent of the Newhall School District: 661-291-4000 http://www.newhallschooldistrict.net/

    Newhall School District


  12. Darren says:

    Update. SCTV.com will be running the story. It will also run on HomeTownStation.com. These are local news stations in Santa Clarita. We’ve also been picked up by one talk radio station. Thanks so much for everyones efforts.

  13. Beverly says:

    Exactly where is the facebook like button ?

  14. Tom Shaw says:

    Well I guess I must be a racist as well since I think they kind of look alike too.

  15. JIM says:

    Dear African-America: you can’t free your dead ancestors by tarring and feathering an 11 year old boy in 2011. You also gain only enemies by attacking those people who have already chosen to be your friends. Let’s all work on being more realistic and less reactionary.

    • Pamela says:

      Not sure why you are addressing African-America?

      • millerbros says:

        Agree with you Pamela. This has nothing to do with African-Americans. It has everything to do with the inappropriate actions of a Superintendent who did not correctly assess the actions of this situation. Part of this is due to the hyper-sensitive nature of the “race card” as it applies to African-Americans. My friend looks like Steven Segal (and he doesn’t like the comparison) but he would never complain about people who see that in him or point it out.

    • Joe says:

      What does African American and dead ancestors have to do with anything? African Americans did not make the decision to transfer the young student. My guess is, there is more to the story than is presented here. I don’t think the system would have made this type of decision based on the information that is presented here. I don’t think Chris’ daughter and friends would react to this in such a way, if there was not more to the story. Identify the true facts before being so critical.

      • millerbros says:

        Again. Being African American has nothing to do with this at all…except that if Grayson had said the man looked like Jim Carrey he wouldn’t be getting expelled. Unfortunately, I Have personally seen the text message trail between Chris’ daughter’s friends and Grayson and I was appalled. They claim to have had a party to celebrate his being expelled. No kid deserves to be treated like this. As you have said, more facts will be forthcoming…sadly it will only make matters worse if the school district does not act quickly to fix this horrible situation.

  16. Pamela says:

    People remember there is ALWAYS a back story! This kid has been involved in some pretty serious past incidences at the school. This incident just happen to be the one that got him kicked out of the school. It was time for him to learn consequences and I hope he takes this lesson to his new school.

    • Darren says:

      Pamela- What lesson would that be? The school was very adamant that this had nothing to do with any previous behavior- this is school policy. He did nothing wrong so the only lesson I could see him taking from this is, sometimes you just have to deal with incompetent people. BTW- the principal wanted Grayson to stay at Stevenson Ranch because of the relationship they had built. Had he been that big a problem they would have never extended the wavier in the first place.

  17. Sue says:

    I think this story is more about feminism than racism. A little girl “felt uncomfortable” about some words a little boy said thus girl gets to completely, utterly destory boy’s life while decent folks stand silently by and let it happen. She’ll be hiring Gloria Allred in about 15 years.

    • millerbros says:

      I would somewhat agree with you except that it is the “racism” title that Grayson is being pegged with. The real crime here is the bullying of the other kids against Grayson for saying something perfectly acceptable. Nobody is disputing what was said.

  18. Jennifer says:

    I live in an area of South Dakota that is situated nicely in the middle of three Native American Reservations. I am witness to what some would term “racism” on a daily basis. I have seen Native Americans be refused service for no apparent reason, but I have also seen a law suit brought against a school system because there was a locker search completed after a report of drugs being brought to school and the drug dog pointed at a Native Americans locker as well as at 3 lockers that belonged to white kids.
    To call this young man racist because he was making a statement that the other gentleman looked like President Obama is ridiculous. Some would say that Mr.Schauble should have received it as a compliment. I believe the underlying issue here is one of predjudice not racism. The Schauble family took this opportunity to lash out against a CHILD who made an innocent comment just because they could. Who really wants the attention here? I would be willing to bet that Grayson and his family just want this to be over.

    • millerbros says:

      They want this to be over, but they equally want the school administration held accountable for their actions. No child should be expelled from school without a reasonable cause. The cause here (as stated directly to the parents) is that Grayson said a racist comment that no teacher heard and that this “racist” comment was that Schauble “looked like Obama”.

  19. This is awful! I can’t believe the school allowed this to happen. If the superintendent can’t do his job right he needs to allow someone in the position that can. Terrible that the girl is allowed to harass Grayson. I’ve mistaken one person for another or thought one person looked similar to another numerous times. That has nothing to do with racism. What this girl and her friends are doing is even worse than what she accused him of. This really saddens me to see what people think is okay and what is not.

  20. LUCY says:


  21. Elise Wall says:

    I am outraged! I am from Alabama and live in Indiana. I get “comments” everywhere i travel about my accent, jokes about living in trailers and possibly being “inbred”…. I just laugh it off ! I have to wonder if that little girl OR even the superintendent had heard Larry The Cable Guy…Would they have compared him to the boy’s family member? Everyone would have probably laughed it off !!!

    This is INSANE and I am NOT AT ALL RACIST and I had to look at the picture for a minute to see why the boy was holding up 2 (TWO) pictures of Obama! And if the school cannot deal with 11 year old boys they need another job !!! This will be the very least of what 11 year old boys will do :),

    Also what is Chris Schauble doing about this? I will be watching HIM!!! He needs teach his daughter a lesson in this!!!A GOOD LESSON !! I’m afraid she is headed down a much rougher road than the 11 year old boy. His parents appear to have GOOD SENSE but her father ???? TIME will tell !!!!!!

  22. The actions this school and its leadership have taken are a case study in the end result and product of Political Correctness.

    The words that come to mind to describe this mind numbing decision can be found in the Thesaurus under the heading “Idiocy”.

    Utter stupidity, asininity, cretinism, derangement, fatuity, fatuousness, foolishness, imbecility, inanity, insanity, insipidity, lunacy, madness, and senselessness.

    I used to follow the adage, “common sense is not so common”. Now I simply believe its non -existent particularly among those who consider themselves liberal or progressive and “enlightened”.

    Political Correctness has obscured the long-applied standards of common sense. Proof resides within the Newhall School District and among the brain-dead administrators employed there. Guilty until proven innocent, the European model is actively in play here, where the accusations of a child are considered enough to warrant expulsion.

    On the bright side, I appreciate the left continuing to shine the light on the utter failure that is their ideology. Showing is so much easier than telling….thank you academia for the wonderful object lessons against liberalism and the progressive movement.

  23. Jesse says:

    Great story about some quite obtuse adults. Looks like they’ve been had by two horrid little school girls.

    (What’s that song? About the little girl, with the curl, right in the middle of her forehead? Ha, ha. Gee whiz, I’m old!)

    By the way, I just tried to send an email to that COMPLETE TOOL of a school super and…wait for it…their website has crashed…hoo-ray!

    Idiots! Check out that super’s résumé — it’s a scream. I don’t want to ruin it for you, so here’s your only clue: He went to college at UC “blank”. Geez, did he protest with Angela Davis, too? Just search his name; an old press release about him getting the super’s job, back in 1997 pops up.

  24. Sean says:

    Oh I think this is a definitely a teachable moment…for teachers, principals and school bureaucracies everywhere. This should have gone to the teacher and NO
    Frankly I’d like to put all 3 of them on their knees and re enact a scene from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
    “Where’s you’re brains!”
    ‘Why’d you hit me?’
    “Where’s you’re brains!”

  25. Sean says:

    Oh and by the way..did NONE of these supposedly intelligent lemmings think to talk to the girls FATHER about this before they acted? Somehow I seriously doubt it, because that would require actual free thinking intelligence..which they so OBVIOUSLY lack! *snort*

  26. Gina says:

    Did anyone with a brain stop to wonder if the kids might have a vision problem?
    Or the fact that Obama was in the region when he miss ID’d the man?
    I wish people would think before the react. In this case, they acted far to quickly without actually talking to the children or TEACHING the children anything about the ‘all blacks look alike’ meme.

5 Pings/Trackbacks for "Words have Meaning (but I’m Not a Racist…and neither is this 11 year old)"
  1. […] made against any of them, especially my ‘G-Man’,” Eubanks recently commented on a blog. “The so called adults in control of this situation have handled it horribly…they need […]

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  4. […] could be made against any of them, especially my ‘G-Man’,” Eubanks recently commented on a blog. “The so called adults in control of this situation have handled it horribly…they need to […]

  5. […] could be made against any of them, especially my ‘G-Man’,” Eubanks recently commented on a blog. “The so called adults in control of this situation have handled it horribly…they need to […]