Planet Princeton

Princeton High student posts racial slur to Snapchat about fellow students on bus

A student at Princeton High School posted a Snapchat of herself  with the caption “I’m on the bus with a bunch of n—— help.”

Students and parents identified the person who posted the Snap as a sophomore.

The Snap circulated on social media Tuesday afternoon and evening, causing an outcry from many students and parents. Princeton High School senior Jamaica Ponder also wrote a blog post about the Snap called “Back of the Bus” for the website Multi Magazine.

Ponder is the same student who wrote last year about students at Princeton High School playing a drinking game called Jew Nazi beer pong. She wrote Tuesday that the social media post was hurtful to black students even though they are accustomed to bigotry, and that it was astonishing to see a peer “shaken by the presence of black people that she had to send out an SOS to her friends.”

“Not only the fact that she’s calling us n——, that’s old news — and not that she felt comfortable posting it on social media — also old news — but the fact that she genuinely felt displeasure in the utter presence of black kids. That’s terrifying to me,” Ponder wrote. “To see that there are people, my peers who can’t stand me, or people who look like me, purely because we’re black, scares the living daylights out of me.”

In October, eight high school students from Steinert High, one student from Lawrence High and one student from the Pennington School were disciplined after a video was posted on social media that showed several of the students chanting a joke with a racial slur. The students in the video were repeating a Vine meme from two years earlier that used the n word.

Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT planetprinceton.com. Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Robert Dana

    So, it’s possible that, hitherto, the SnapChatter accepted Ms. Ponder as one of her followers. If so, that’s an interesting fact.

    To reiterate, it’s important to look into the facts before we rush to judgement. Sadly, with blogs and social media it’s fire, then ready aim – Ms. Ponder’s near instantaneous blog post included.

  • J Green

    A 15 year old did something stupid? Stop the presses!

  • Monique K. Gaffney

    And THAT right there is the problem. As people mentioned above, she is entitled to freedom of speech. However, social media can ruin peoples lives. You post something and a minute later it is EVERYWHERE. We can’t live our lives thinking there aren’t any consequences to our actions.

  • Liz Winslow

    Jamaica Ponder of Nazi beer pong last year is the same person who outed this snapchatter. Maybe this time people will think twice before vilifying her. But probably not. Too bad, because I’d much rather have my kids emulate her than be captain of the soccer team.

  • Dan Smith

    Unfortunately, this is indicative of PHS. Last year, the young women who wrote the article about Nazi beer pong was vilified and the boys in the picture went on to captain the prestigious soccer team. Too much of the school community turns a blind eye to horrific behavior. There will be no consequence for the girl who wrote the snapchat, she’ll be just as popular as ever. This too shall pass and when it does, it will be like it never happened – what a shame.

  • WTH

    Exactly. This could be any school, and they could have come from any town.

  • Wolf Krochmal

    It isn’t surprising to me in any school with more than six students in it. They don’t get caught.

  • Wolf Krochmal

    He explained that we cannot be mind readers and see into the the heart of a child. The expression was vile. Its context – from what little we know of it – does not seem to mitigate it, and at *best* the girl, of whom we know almost nothing, used very poor judgment.

    Now we need to look inside ourselves at our own attitudes about race and society and institutions. She’s not the only racist.

  • Shea100

    How can we possibly know her intent? By her words. She said, “I’m on the bus with a bunch of n–s, help.”

  • Shea100

    People aren’t upset simply because she used the word. She isn’t a black kid who was addressing another black kid. And she wasn’t singing a rap song. She was denigrating the black kids who were on the bus with her.

  • Shea100

    What she did was disgusting. And no one defamed her except herself.

  • Shea100

    The “poor kid” was the one who put her own disturbing photo on the Internet. Now she’s learning the hard way — once you put it out there, it’s out there.

  • Raina

    I’m a minority student at phs, and I completely agree with you.

  • N J

    Please explain how you understand….I’m curious…

  • Robert Dana

    Yes & yes. I do understand. Nice use of question marks though. Wow!

  • N J

    Are you serious??? You bring a comedian into this??? Sadly you will never understand or simply refuse to…

  • Kelly

    Actually, this isn’t surprising in this school. She just got caught.

  • Kelly

    Like I said above, if you haven’t been in the high school lately, you have no idea what damage this will do. There’s a lot of black kids who thought she was their friend, now have to walk past her in the hall and see her in class and know what she probably really thinks of them.

  • Liz Winslow

    Maybe this time she won’t be vilified for outing the behavior, as she was with Nazi Beer Pong. She’s the true peer leader in that school.

  • Timmy

    Is that a HS issue? I am not from the area, so don’t know cranbury, but is that the issue? You are right, I don’t know what goes on at princeton high school, but I do know how I raise my kids and firmly believe ALL kids deserve guidance and coaching regardless of the poor judgement.

  • Kelly

    You clearly don’t know what’s going on at the high school, Timmy.

  • Timmy

    I respectfully disagree with you Milt, and you are entitled to your opinions. However, as an adult, I just can’t respect calling a kid “disgusting”. To that end, I am done conversing with you.

  • Robert Dana

    How can you and Milt (below) possibly know her intent? Do you know her? Her family? Her friends? Have you interviewed her? Do you know the context in which the Snapchat was made? Who her Snapchat followers are? Their racial composition?

    And why do we choose to forgive give some minors for indiscretions and not others? Does race play a part? Cranbury? Wealth?

    Incredible. The assumptions and rush to judgement today.

  • Milt

    The audience is her snapchat group, which usually numbers well over 100. She had a target audience, she gave them something she thought they would like, and her audience was most likely other PHS kids. There is nothing about this that is all right. When I say I’m not going to take the high road, I mean I’m not going to make any excuses for her “bad choice”, and I’m not going to be sorry for any consequences she gets. Think about all the black kids that have to see this. She’s disgusting.

  • Robert Dana

    Did you read my comment? Have you been living under a rock? It’s also been used in a benign way, as in the lyrics of many, many hip hop songs. In that sense it’s been watered down. That’s undeniable and unfortunate.

    But don’t take my word for it. Dave Chapelle has a wonderful (& incredibly funny & inventive) skit about a black KKK guy. He’s blind and doesn’t know he’s black. At a traffic light, his driver pulls next to two white kids in a convertible, the radio of which, blasting hip hop music. The KKK guy hurls the N word at the boys, who are just delighted to be called that.

    Perhaps the N word was re-appropriate for just the occasion now under debate. Use it with impunity. But, when uttered by a white person, righteous indignation and instant victimhood.

    The meanings of words should be independent of the race or background of the person using them. (Otherwise the OED would have to be many times its current length.)

    I vote that the N word be returned to its unequivocal vile meaning.

  • Tracy

    The article doesn’t mention an ‘audience’ for this message. While I am sure she has friends, I am equally sure most of them did not seek out or support the language or sentiment expressed. Her ‘joke’ was tasteless, racist, and not funny, but she does have a constitutional right to freedom of speech. On some level, it is better to know which people think like this, so one may avoid them.

  • Timmy

    Actually, I am black (half), but I am not sure that is relevant to my point. I can 100% see why ANYONE (doesn’t matter what race) would be offended by the comment and under no circumstance do I condone using that word. I am the type of person who looks at everything when making a judgement, not just the color of my skin. In fact, I was raised Jewish as well, and heard it all growing up. I don’t disagree that she is old enough to be held accountable and there should be a consequence, but the way she is being held accountable I do not agree with. Perhaps the school should have been notified privately, since she was on a school bus, or maybe her parents, but its not up to the “internet” or “newspapers” to determine how this is handled. She is a kid. ALL kids make mistakes and some much worse than this. Could it be bad parenting? Could it be horrible judgement? Could someone on the bus jokingly taken her phone and done this (unlikely but just saying its possible)? You choose to live your life ” being tired of taking the high road” and I choose to live mine “hoping our youth will learn from their mistakes”.

  • Milt

    Defamation? Really? I guess you’re not black. This person had a audience for this, which is the sickest part. I don’t feel sorry for her in any way. She’s not the victim; she’s the problem. I’m tired of taking the high road on things like this. She is old enough to be held accountable. What kind of foul “person” does this kind of thing anyway?

  • Timmy

    This is disheartening on so many different levels. Obviously it was a very poor choice for the young sophmore to ever use the “N” word (regardless of joking or not). However, I am wondering if it does anybody any good to “shame” the poor kid with putting her picture on the internet, like the Scarlett Letter. I actually wonder if there is a defamation case here (and I only say that because the kid made a mistake). The PHS student who wrote the article has every reason to be mad, angry, or pissed, but to personalize it the way she did, I am not sure anybody is right in this situation. There is more than one lesson to learn here, for both kids, and its a shame this was not handled on a personal level, rather than in the public view.

  • N J

    Watered down?? Are you serious?? It’s one of the most vile words in history and has been used to demean and dehumanize a whole race of people!

  • N J

    So called??? That is a weak argument to compare the word and its intent in rap songs to what she posted….you cannot tell me that she did not use it to demean black people….smh

  • Kelly

    This student is from Cranbury, and attends Princeton High School. This makes my skin crawl. Most people do NOT use the “n” word at all; that’s a ludicrous excuse for someone’s nasty behavior. The fact that she felt she had an accepting audience for this comment makes you wonder about what is really going on with these kids.

  • Ike Ballard

    In many cases certainly not all the mental disorder of racism is incubated in the home. By the time kids reach adulthood the disorder is so ingrained in their being, they will go through life mentally and socially crippled by it. They will then pass the disease on to their children and so and so on. Maybe someday there will be an anti-hate inoculation which can be given to affected children at an early age.

  • sam Smith

    Jamaica Ponder is a leader to point out the rude behavior of the student.

  • Robert Dana

    While I agree with Tracey, I’m willing to engage – for purposes of argument – in the politie fiction that the use of the N word is sometimes acceptable. (It’s really not no matter who the speaker. Growing up in the 60s and 70s, it meant one thing and when used it was vile and shocking).

    The perpetrator here is a minor. Her culture bombards her and her peers with this word. How do we know she was using it with bad intent? You all think she was, but we really don’t know. Let’s wait for all the facts to come out. (The problem with the so-called re-appropriation of this word is that its meaning has been watered down.)

    And when the facts do come out, we probably won’t learn of them anyway. As noted, the girl is a minor — which makes me really wonder why PP published this in the first place.

  • PrettySmart1

    Seriously?! There is a difference between the use of this term by persons who are minorities, and its use as a racist epithet by a white person in relation to black persons. And there is zero reason to imagine this particular post did not use the word as a racist epithet.

  • Tracey

    The so-called “N/word” is in EVERY rap/trap/hip hop song today. My Black HS students (albeit I don’t live in my Hometown, Princeton but in Atlanta now) call themselves and their friends nigger all the time! To me it’s such hypocracy for people to be upset. The flip side is growing up in Princeton and attending art school for undergrad and graduate school, I’m accustomed to being the “only one.” For some whites it’s very uncomfortable. Perhaps that is the issue we should address.

  • Dennis

    Stupid snapchat post by an ignorant child. There are no broader, racist conclusions to make about the Princeton High School student body.

  • sam Smith

    The identity fo the student who used the racial slur is known by the college admission officer. No college will accept the high school student to their college diverse student body.

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