Update: Some old people have discovered the internet. Fox 8 followed up on this weekend's hilarity with a new story: "Controversial 'You Mad Bro' Sign Decoded?" Included was this gem: "Controversy over a sign held up after a high school football game could be a sign of the times. Young people using web-centric lingo IRL (in real life) to people who don't speak the language."
So, yes, after everyone cried racism over a harmless and misinterpreted use of "web-centric" lingo someone thought to look up just what the hell it actually meant. Good thing they got angry and called the media before doing that, otherwise we wouldn't all have this story as an example of their competence as human beings and educators.
Barrett and Painesville Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Hanlon agreed this is a language lesson for all.
"I think the impact on a person or a group of people based on a statement can have an unintended consequence," Hanlon said.
Coffee said he now knows the phrase is an internet term, but he's not convinced that's the whole story.
"I am still of the opinion that there was racial undertones, overtones, to the comment based upon the culture of our community we live in," Coffee said.
And sidetones, and diagonaltones, and dialuptones, and tophattones, and whatsagoogletones, and ifyoulistentoblacksabbathbackwardtheytellyoutokillyourselftones.
"You mad bro?"
The internet phrase with its own lush, extensive meme history and pictography is apparently not one with which Painesville City Schools superintendent Michael Hanlon is familiar. In his defense, he's still trying to understand how you can play Snake on a TI-85.
Fox 8 reports that after the Kirtland vs. Painesville Friday-night affair, someone held up a "You Mad Bro" sign. Cue: the tizzy. Roderick Coffee, president of the Lake County chapter of the NAACP, told Fox 8: "At the conclusion of the game, some of their students and parents put up a sign that we believe was racial intimidation, ethnic intimidation." Coffee evidently has not received his free 187,000 hours of AOL CD in the mail yet. Hopefully it will arrive soon.
Hanlon agreed: "I think the reference to 'bro' in the sign definitely has a racial connection to it."
Of course, this is all started because we're talking about a predominantly white school vs. a predominantly black school. Hanlon would have probably been just as upset at other innocuous signs, too. "Crayons," for instance. Or, "Asparagus."