It would be hard to imagine a click-bait story that features more unfortunate stereotypes about race and religion than the USA Today report about the young Florida student who was forbidden to enroll in a small Christian school because of his dreadlocks.
Turn up the social-media heat under this headline: "Florida school receiving death threats after turning away 6-year-old with dreadlocks."
Actually, the Washington Post piece on the same topic went one step further by putting everyone's favorite religion F-word in the headline: "A little boy with dreadlocks enrolled at a fundamentalist Christian school. It didn’t go well."
Let's stick with the USA Today piece, which is more compact and less sensationalistic. Here is the overture:
A private Christian school in Florida is facing backlash after a 6-year-old black child was turned away on his first day of class because of his dreadlocks.
Clinton Stanley Jr. was all set for his first day at A Book’s Christian Academy, but when he arrived, he was denied entry because of his hair. His dad, Clinton Stanley Sr., expressed his frustration in a now-viral video on Facebook Monday.
“My son just got told he cannot attend this school with his hair,” he said in the video. “If that’s not bias, I don’t know what is.”
The question hovering in the air is simple: Is this a case of racial bias at a predominately white Christian school? Hold that thought, because there is a crucial fact here that probably belongs in the lede -- especially with the Post using "fundamentalist" in its headline.
But first, consider this factual question: Was the dreadlocks card played as a racial ace in this case?
As it turns out, the school's policy is clear. USA Today notes: