After the tragic shooting at Santa Fe High School on 18th May, the city has rallied around its students and teachers, showing “Santa Fe Strong” solidarity and support as they return to the school just before summer break. 10 people lost their lives and 13 were injured in the horrific incident, and it has deeply affected the entire city.

Sadly some people, instead of showing solidarity and asking what can be done to make American schools safer, chose to bring race issues into the equation. A cropped picture emerged of Nicole, a student of Santa Fe High who happens to be black, not holding hands with her white classmates before singing the national anthem at a basketball game. Naturally, somebody just had to play the race card. “But why is nobody holding the black girl’s hand?”

And so it began. Without anybody bothering to question the context and background to the story, the accusations began to flow. “Who the white girls?? Yeah they did have one job and refused to hold the black chicks hand…their racisms showing BIG TIME,” was just one example of a righteous indignation that quickly got out of control.

That is, until mom stepped in. Nicole’s mother explained that the picture was in fact cropped, and there were other girls standing beside Nicole who were also not holding hands. Nicole herself was very upset by the ‘racism’ storm the picture had kicked up, the reason she chose not to hold hands was because she was understandably feeling very emotional after the events at her school. “My daughter didn’t want to cry before she had to sing and holding hands would have caused her to start crying,” her mom said. “That’s the story, it’s nothing about race.”

You would think that was the end of the story, right? Wrong. Nicole’s mom, who happens to be white, faced all kinds of questioning about whether she really is Nicole’s mom, as well as a smattering of abuse from people whose righteous narrative had been suddenly cut short.


The entire episode showed much of what is wrong with American society, from yet another community in mourning after a school shooting, to a stream of manufactured racism outrage based on nothing more than a cropped picture. However at the same time Nicole’s mom’s exasperated yet reasoned response showed that there is hope. While some people see only division and negativity, her defense of her daughter while bringing the focus back onto the real issues, such as the healing of the community as a whole, was admirable. Sure, there are major issues with race that run deep in society. But while some people are fighting for equality and justice, those who point fingers and look for racism when it isn’t there are doing more harm than good.

Scroll down to check out the story for yourself below, and let us know what you think in the comments.

The NBA shared this tweet recently, showing solidarity with Sante Fe after the tragic school shooting on May 18th

Other people jumped in on the accusations as well


Then the girl’s mom responded to clear things up

But that wasn’t enough


Someone even doubted that it was her mother


Even that wasn’t enough for some people

The girl herself responded in a video

Click to unmute

Her cousin also responded to the tweets

In the end, a lot of people supported the girl and her mom


Image credits: rmwire

Here’s a final message from the mom

The whole situation sparked a discussion