The thin line between ignorance and racism
March 21, 2011
Going to a school where the majority of students are a different race is not a easy feat to overcome. There are every day trials and tribulations that press the students to their limits both with tolerance and patience. “Being black there are assumptions made based on the color of my skin, where I live, what I do in my spare time, mainly stereotypes,” said junior Khadijah Shumpert.
Not only students are to blame for creating these stereotypes. “Most teachers try and put on blinders so they don’t have to address it, because they feel like if they didn’t see it or hear it they don’t have to deal with it,” said Shumpert.
Students often throw out racists ‘jokes’ when in reality these comments are hurting the kids at the receiving end. “A lot of the time it’s just ignorance. They don’t understand that what they’re saying is offensive, so I just try and brush it off and try and make it seem like it’s not as big a deal as it is,” said Shumpert.
The old saying “ignorance is bliss” has gotten out of hand, and is creating a divide between ethnicities. “It’s a very thin line between ignorance and racism, like the stereotypes about chicken and watermelon and ebonics,” said Shumpert.
Increasing diversity and breaking down barriers is no easy task. “I would like to see more integrated groups and less stereotypes but that’s really hard to change because it’s human nature. And that’s my part too, I have to give more people a chance,” said sophomore Chris Bell.
Coming from Northeast middle school, with a very diverse population, the change to BSM was a shocking one to say the least. “My first year here, it really tested my ability to check my emotions, because every time I heard something I didn’t like, I would want to speak out,” said Bell.
A common argument for a typical white students at BSM is that the black kids self impose this segregation, which can be seen in things like the ‘black table’ at lunch. “If you just stand in the middle of the lunch table you can pick out all the groups: you can say there’s the soccer team, there’s the theater kids, there’s the hockey team. And the fact that we’re just the black table goes to show that they don’t really know us,” said Bell, “They never extend a hand, they never ask us about us, we’re always expected to.”