The all-school discussion last spring was an attempt to engage students, but students may not have been ready or willing to listen. “Some students took it more seriously than others. The school didn’t say specifically what to do, so some students forgot about it, and some, mostly those who the issue is important to, didn’t,” senior Evan Weatherly said.
BSM has been vigilant in responding to tension among students when it comes to the issue of race. However, most students agree that reacting to racism after the fact isn’t sufficient. “The school needs to work on actually solving the issue of racism instead of just addressing it,” sophomore Nick Jonsrud said.
And while the school has reached out and provided chances for students to learn more about the issue, some students believe there are opportunities for improvement. “Awareness is easy and can be done every day, but nothing can be solved until there is discussion,” Weatherly said.
“You need to attack the situation head on, that’s the only way to stop it,” Jonsrud said. He believes the way to do that is by creating a comprehensive class about the history and effects of racism.
A large element of the Immigrant Literature class is talking about people’s experiences immigrating to this country and how they have felt as a minority in America. It addresses how important listening to the opinions and experiences of others is, which helps to create a better environment for listening at BSM. “It has taught me a lot more about how to be a more insightful person and how to be respectful. Nothing is sugar-coated like it is when other classes address issues like immigration. It’s really forced our class to have true discussions,” junior Elizabeth Kupchella said.
However, the class doesn’t fix all the problems. “There isn’t a true right answer. This class is a great start, but I’m not sure where it will go from here or how to bring it to other classes,” junior Mark Racchini said.
Encouraging diversity and fighting against racism is a constant effort. Becoming a more welcoming environment for all students requires frequent conversation surrounding the issue. No matter how difficult it is to fix the issues within our community, it is imperative that we hold each other accountable and give the cause the energy it deserves. “It needs to be a continual effort. The more we talk about it the further we will get,” Kaffey said.