A police officer at the University of Nevada, Reno, came under fire this week for a
costume some described as racist.
The officer dressed as
Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback ― and UNR grad ― who helped to ignite the NFL’s “take a knee” protests during the national anthem.
Adam Garcia, assistant vice president and director of police services at the school, offered “
sincere apologies” for the officer’s costume.
“Members of our profession are held to a higher standard and denigrating another ― on- or off-duty ― is insensitive for its lack of respect and lack of understanding on how others may negatively view their actions and may be impacted,” Garcia said in a statement.
“At a time when officers should be heightened in their attentiveness to perception by our community, this act seems extremely out of touch with those sentiments and reflects poorly on all of us,” Garcia continued.
Despite the apology, the officer will not face discipline.
“As insensitive and inappropriate as this is,
we have no policy that would dictate disciplinary action,” university spokeswoman Kerri Garcia told the Reno Gazette-Journal.
Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem last year
to protest racism, a move that led to President Donald Trump calling him and other demonstrators a “ son of a bitch.”
Why Do People Hate Colin Kaepernick So Much? Colin Kaepernick And The Inevitable Rewriting Of History I Am A Veteran And Here's Why I Changed My Mind On Colin Kaepernick Story continues Also on HuffPost Bullying Even kids who share the same identity -- be it racial or gender -- can be guilty of bullying and discrimination against each other. Ontario's Ministry of Education defines bullying as "a form of repeated, persistent, and aggressive behaviour directed at an individual or individuals that is intended to cause (or should be known to cause) fear and distress and/or harm to another person's body, feelings, self-esteem, or reputation." Cyberbullying Social media can be a platform for bullying to continue even after school is out. Cyberbullying occurs when young people take malicious actions online. through chat rooms, email, social sites and instant messaging. Stock Answer To 'What Are You?' "You don't need to go into full confessional mode, but have fun with it, if that helps. Or be perfectly honest," author Jonathan R. Miller said. Miller writes e-books with multi-ethnic characters and themes. You don't have to talk about all the nuances of your family tree every time you're asked about your background, he said. That can be exhausting. Find something that works for you personally. Real Answer To 'What Are You?' "I like the word 'mixed' because it's a messy word, and in my experience growing up mixed is exactly that," Miller said. He suggests that it's important to allow yourself to truly wrestle with questions of identity in environments you consider safe. A Friend To Confide In If you are struggling with your identity, you don't have to tell the whole world, but confide in a friend that you trust. Having someone to confide in is important. "If you can, find someone who you can talk to about your most honest, ever-evolving, often-messy answer to the question, 'What am I?'" Miller said. If You Can't Speak, Write "Maybe you don't have anyone trustworthy to talk to honestly about your experiences. Write about them. It helped me, sometimes, to get those out," Miller said. It may not make a lot of sense initially and it might feel uncomfortably personal, but write. Keep a journal, write short stories and rename the characters, try your hand at poetry -- whatever feels best. Let Your Identity Be An Open Question "You are likely being told at different times, more or less, to hurry up and get off the fence, pick a side and get on with it," Miller said. It's not necessarily a bad thing to be unsure of who you are, even if your peers seem to have their acts together, he said. Teenage years are discovery years. Miller also quoted author Rainer Maria Rilke: "'Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. ... Live in the question.' That's good advice. Difficult to follow, but good." Embrace The Chameleon When it comes to mixed heritage, "you don't have to be 'both' or 'other' or 'all of the above' all of the time. Sometimes the only way to figure out what you are is to choose one thing and be it for a while," Miller said. Explore how it feels to fully embrace a single aspect of your identity, for short period of time. See "what stick and what slides off." It's simply learning, Miller said. Don't Be Afraid To Abandon The Labels Altogether "I can't tell you how many multi-racial people I've met who have chosen a single race or ignored race entirely and been perfectly content with the decision. A biracial friend of mine used to tell me, 'I'm black and white, yes, but I'm black. Period,'" Miller said. He said he knows many people have chosen to identify with only one aspect of their multi-background, while others have embraced the blend. Get Involved In Life Find creative ways to occupy your time, Miller said. Join a group or do an activity (with others) where you are empowered to be who you are, instead of having to act how others think you need to be in order to fit in. Be Proud Of Who You Are Take pride in your ethnic (culture, color or religion) heritage. You have no control over your heritage, and you can't change that fact that this is who you are. So embrace it and learn as much as you can. "You may feel like it would be an insult to your heritage to embrace one aspect of yourself above the others, but trust me, it wouldn't be. This is important: it is not your job to uphold, with perfect equity and grace, all of the elements that went into your making," Miller said. Have A Ready Defense Against The Identity Police "Often they're the 'gatekeepers' that decide whether you're 'in' or 'out.' But what you can do is have a ready answer for the 'charges' they level against you. Whether you use humour, earnestness, or self-righteous anger, it helps to have your defense lined up and ready," Miller said. Sometimes people think all the "members" of their cultural or ethnic community must behave, dress and think a certain way. But as an individual, you can do whatever you want and find your own identity. Love HuffPost? Become a founding member of HuffPost Plus today. This article originally appeared on HuffPost.