A mural depicted several students as caricatures in the Schluntz Gymnasium, offensively portraying students of color in the image; a science presentation last year displayed the n-word on one of the slides; six hockey players on the high school team were suspended from playing for the rest of their season because of texts in a group chat that included racist remarks; a Kahoot game displayed sexist and racist nicknames including “I hate blacks.”
Each of these individually is shocking, but put together, these events are absolutely frightening. Incidents such as these as well as an overall climate of hostility have led students of color to speak out against racism at the high school.
The administration does have a responsibility to respond to incidents such as these, and it is true that few students know what they have definitively done to combat racism in the school. Although it is not their duty to publicly scorn a student, it is reasonable to expect the administration to be more transparent in showing us what they are doing to fight racism.
We can argue back and forth with the administration about whether or not they are handling issues of race appropriately; students have said they need to do more and the administration says that they are following protocol. However, we should be much more concerned with the fact that our own students are the ones who are committing these vile acts of racism.
We, as the high school’s student body, cannot ignore that there are students who do think it is okay to write the n-word for an entire class to see, or who think it is funny to laugh at racist Kahoot nicknames. How many times will we “begin” a conversation on race with students? We cannot keep starting from square one. Now is the time to take definitive action.
Rather than solely condemning the administration, blame yourself. Blame the students of Brookline. Your job is to make sure people know that this behavior is unacceptable. It is your job to help create an environment where people know why they shouldn’t discriminate against their fellow students, condone racial microaggressions and perpetuate White privilege.
Because although you may be sitting somewhere in the high school right now thinking, “Well I didn’t do it,” or, “Well they should know better,” apparently they don’t, so it is your duty to tell them.
It is clear the high school is no exception to racial discrimination in this country. When you hear or see something racially insensitive, act. Tell the person that what they said was unacceptable. Tell an adult. Talk to and listen to the person who was targeted. Whatever you do, do something.