NBC News presents the 6-part series, “Southlake,” a podcast about race, identity, education, belonging, and backlash in an American suburb. In 2018, students at Southlake High School in Texas were in trouble when a video surfaced online. The video showed students chanting the N-word after a homecoming game, and many watched as it went viral.
Black residents of Southlake, a town 30 minutes outside of Dallas, spoke up to bring awareness to their experiences and seek change. The residents shared stories of racism, harassment, and bullying they faced. The school board vowed to make changes, and the proposed plan faced criticism and backlash. This series unpacks the school’s response to the students’ behavior and the new regulations put in place for the district’s curriculum.
The Cultural Competence Action Plan was developed and introduced to Texan schools in 2020 to promote diversity and inclusion. This program is a political strategy that has impacted the nation at large. There is growing focus in America against teaching Critical Race Theory in schools. The backlash from Southlake’s district decision is tremendous, and fights over race and history have been going on for years.
Southlake Texas is a wealthy suburb with a huge white population. In the first episode, listeners hear about Frank and Robin Cornish, a Black couple who was drawn to the town’s charm in the 1990s. Frank, who plays for the Dallas Cowboys, convinced other team members to also move there. Robin speaks in the first episode about how she got involved in the school district’s controversy. She saw the video online and recognized one of the students as her son’s former friend.
In “Southlake,” we hear about school board meetings that sound like political rallies, parents turning on each other, kids trying to make a difference, and students who are still victims of racism in schools. By the second episode, listeners will learn about Black high school senior, Raven Rolle, who recorded her meeting with the principal and a white student who believed anyone can use the N-word. This episode also shares how students planned a Black Lives Matter rally, and how the town responded.
Hosted by NBC reporter Mike Hixenbaugh and NBC News correspondent Antonia Hylton, “Southlake” speaks with parents and students about what’s happening. Tune in to learn more in this weekly series.