by Doug Brown
Sometimes even teachers say inconceivably stupid things on social media. David Spondike, a music teacher at Akron's Firestone High School, was angry about an apparent trick-or-treat incident near his house and dropped multiple n-bombs in a Facebook rant aimed at a black teenager (complete with the classic "I'm not racist, but here's the most racist thing someone could say" disclaimer):
I don't mind if you come to my neighborhood from the ghetto to trick-or-treat. But when you whip out your teeny dicks and piss on the telephone pole in front of my yard and a bunch of preschoolers and toddlers, you can take your nigger-ass back where it came from. I don't have anything against anyone of any color, but niggers, stay out!
That post was taken down, but not before someone took a screenshot and sent it to local media outlets. Akron News Now posted the picture as well as subsequent posts from the teacher this morning (I couldn't find his Facebook page, it's possible he deactivated it at this point). He explained:
There is a screen shot of a post floating around that is being used claim I am a racist. My position on race and racism has been posted and discussed here on many occasions and is exemplified on a daily basis in my life. I have always been clear and have never minced words on this issue. I have always confronted it head on and never behind peoples' backs. Please do not expect me to be anything less than consistent today.
Then he posted this, with a sort-of-but-not-really apology:
1. The post contains the “n-word”.
2. I sincerely apologize to those who are sincerely offended by the post; it was promptly removed.
3. I am not going to say that “someone hacked my Facebook page”, like most people do.
4. “Racism” implies prejudging, which is clearly not what happened here.
5. Making any excuse for allowing one race to use a word and condemning another race for using the same word is institutionalized racism in and of itself, regardless of the justification used.
6. The incident surrounds the criminal behavior described below, where a teenager exposed himself in front of young children, urinating on a telephone pole in broad daylight during trick-or-treating.
Spondike teaches music, fortunately not social studies or history, at the majority-black Firestone High School. Records show Spondike lives in a (very white) neighborhood in Copley. Apparently a black male teenager urinated on a telephone pole during the time people trick-or-treat were there in the middle of the day. Then he turned to Facebook. Let's analyze his comments.
*Statement (from second post): "I have always been clear and have never minced words on this issue. I have always confronted it head on and never behind peoples' backs." Analysis: ranting on Facebook is almost never "confronting it head on," especially when the target of anger not a Facebook friend and would never read it.
*Statement (from first post): "'I don't have anything against anyone of color, but niggers stay out!" Analysis: I remember in my early high school days when my English teacher was giving a lesson on the definition of irony and wrote examples on the chalkboard. If he weren't serious, this would be a pretty good example.
*Statement (from third post): "Making any excuse for allowing one race to use a word and condemning another race for using the same word is institutionalized racism in and of itself, regardless of the justification used." Analysis: the general use of the slur by different races is a complex issue. Angrily writing about what one black person did and then using the plural version of the slur to tell them all to "stay out" is pretty much cut-and-dry racism.
From the website for Firestone High School's visual and performing arts program, here's information on the teacher:
Akron Public Schools Visual and Performing Arts program at Firestone since 1998. Dr. Spondike holds a Doctorate in Music Theory and Composition from Kent State University (2001), a Masters in Music Education from the University of Akron (1994), a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Ohio State University in Photography and Cinema (1988), and graduated Suma Cum Laude from Mentor High School in 1980. Dr. Spondike supervises the sound crew for Firestone theatrical productions and conducts the annual spring musical. As a bassist, Dr. Spondike is an active performer in the Akron/Cleveland area, and is a member of the Delta Chi chapter of the Pi Kappa Lamba National Music Honor Society, the Ohio Music Educators Association, and the Music Educators National Conference. Dr. Spondike is an avid sailor and holds an Extra Class amateur radio license (N8SAX).
Yes, it's awful for someone to piss in public, but using that incident to rant about black people on Facebook only makes you look like the bigger idiot. Educators, especially those with three degrees, should know better.