Racism

How do you define racism?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary states that racism is:

“A belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”

While Dictionary.com says:

“A belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human racial groups determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to dominate others or that a particular racial group is inferior to the others.”

Or simply,

“Hatred or intolerance of another race or other races.”

Racism has always been a hot topic, but it is just as important today than in past years. With the recent activities in politics, minorities have experienced heavy waves of racism. There’s a wide range of examples of this starting with the ban on immigrants coming into the country, building a wall on the Mexico and U.S border, and the standoff that happened between Minorities/People of Color and Neo-Nazis. Everyone can confirm that racism has risen due to the presidency of Donald Trump.

When racism occurs, there will always be people who want to state their opinions, but we want you to ask yourself this: When does your opinion on a topic become racism? When can one say something racist without getting the heat of the flame? This isn’t only applicable to our community, but also our school. We personally want to talk about our students and racism.

At Highland Park Senior High, we have experienced racism. We have overheard comments based on our race and have wondered if others have experienced the same. With this being our Senior year, we wanted to check in on our Seniors. We wanted to see if they felt safe throughout their high school careers. We wrote out a poll that asked them the following questions:

  • What race are you?
  • Have you experienced racism at school?
  • Do you feel safe at school?
  • Do you feel you were treated differently because of your race? Explain your answer.
  • Do you feel you were treated lesser by your peers because of your skin color?
  • Has anyone expressed racist ideologies in school? If yes, what was said?
  • Has anyone made you feel uncomfortable when it came to the topic of racial issues? What was said?

Survey says…

With the results, this is what we can conclude. According to the surveys, we interviewed 14 Asians, 12 Hispanics/Mexicans/Latinos, 26 Caucasians/White and 34 African Americans for a total of 86 students.

We are going to focus on the results of the most important questions asked. So let’s start with the big question, “Have you experienced racism at school.” A total of 34 students said they have experienced racism. Many of these answers were from our minority students. When asked if their race plays a part of them being treated differently, 36 students answered yes.

There was one Caucasian student who addressed their white privilege which was surprising to us. Not a lot of Caucasians are open to addressing that they have white privilege.

When we asked the students what racist ideologies were being said, we got a variety of answers. “Police brutality victims deserve it,” “immigrants should not be let into the country,” and “the end of DACA would be great,” are just a few things that were said.

Our most important question is do these students feel safe. 13 students said they felt unsafe at school. Even though it’s not a big number, it still means something.

What can be said?

With all of these results, we didn’t know what type of conclusion we wanted. We made this article to determine what four years at Highland looked like, racism-wise. We did this for us to personally get a feel about the school and racism.

From many of the surveys, when there was a problem, it mentioned the same person/problem. That leads us to wonder “Why is it that the same thing is causing others to feel unsafe and discriminated no matter their race.”

Another thing that we were able to determine was that everyone believes they will be safer by avoiding the situation. No one wants to state what’s specifically on their mind. We personally can’t blame them.

It’s as if there is an elephant in the room that if addressed will remove the feeling of “comfort” in school. This is an elephant that lived in our class for four years. For our senior year, it’s hard to determine if the elephant will be camping in the said room until we graduate, or if it will go packing.

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