In my predominantly black and Hispanic high school, white students are treated like Gods. These golden children can often be heard making fun of the Black Lives Matter movement, reciting the n-word, and mocking their darker-skinned black friends.
One Friday afternoon, as I was hanging up an informational poster regarding ignorant black stereotypes, one white kid walked by, stared at a portrait of our First Lady and commented, “Wow, she looks like a man”. Another white sophomore even lamented that he felt discriminated against in our minority school and felt the necessity of a white club. The only thing worse about these ignorant ideologies are the teachers who help to foster them.
Covert discrimination from these teachers often manifests itself in our classrooms. When a black child calls out in class, teachers are quick to threaten security. However, when the antics of white children are often met with approving giggles from staff members. The feelings of white children are often coddled, so they feel comfortable perpetuating harmful ideologies. These ideologies could manifest themselves in extreme hate crimes in the case of Dylan Roof.
Recently, black students in school systems across the country have taken the initiative to combat racism through protests, student-led clubs, public forums and written pieces.
However, our voices are often stifled by principals, teachers, and superintendents who feel like our actions are too “distracting”. They threaten to take “disciplinary actions “ against any students found to participate in these activities, more specifically county-wide walkouts. These authority figures are concerned that these walkouts would disrupt our education, yet fail to realize that students of color are constantly distracted by the threats of a presidential platform rooted in racist and hate-filled ideologies.
These educators denounced our protests, yet failed to provide a solution for the emotional anguish we feel as disenfranchised students in a white man’s education system. They ignore the fact that their ignorance regarding the way people of color are treated and illustrated in our school systems is what allowed Donald Trump to be our next commander in chief.
These past few months, many minority students across this country have been the victims of white students calling them racial slurs and telling them to “go back to their country”, “pick cotton”, and “ let it go, you can’t change the election results”. As a result, many students have given up.
Our school system is supposed to teach us to stand up for our views. All this school year has taught me is that our school system only wants us to stand up for our rights if it does not affect their jobs. The purpose of a revolution is to take a bold stand in spite of unjust rules in order to change them. People in power do not want to lose their power so they create an illusion of democracy, which complies with their terms.
We will not receive justice by complying with their rules. We, as people of color, need to unapologetically take bold, yet peaceful action in order to force them to become as uncomfortable with the racism in America as we are.
Our collective voice is too powerful to be drowned out by their passive sentiments. Don’t allow them to force you into numbness. Be loud. Be proud. Be unapologetic. Your voice matters.