The Talon

We Need To Talk About Racism

Demree McGhee, Staff Writer

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Del Norte has a racism problem. In my experience it hasn’t been the type of racism where someone is yelling the “N” word at me from across campus. Del Norte’s racism is a quiet kind that often goes undetected by those who aren’t a victim of it, which I believe to be far more dangerous.

Most of our school’s racism comes from people saying or doing things that they don’t realize is racist. It also comes from those same people refusing to recognize their racism could have actually offended someone. These same people also fail to try and realize why they were offensive.

Our school’s brand of racism is typically offensive comments aimed at people of color.

disguised as jokes. Our school being predominantly white among students and staff is also a huge reason that this issue has continued to occur.

Students who are a victim of racism at our school are hesitant to speak against it because then they are the outcast. There’s very little option for an adult who would be able to empathize with the student in that situation, let alone call it out.

It’s not just students either. At the professional growth meeting that took place on September 29 the staff had a specific panel that focused on diversity. During that panel four students shared their different experiences with stereotypes within Del Norte.

Mrs. Smith says “The general opinion amongst the staff that was there was that it wasn’t a huge problem, but when students brought up their personal experiences they were surprised.”

It would make sense that our staff would be surprised about racism occurring within our school. Del Norte has branded itself as a school that is extremely inclusive. However, I believe that our school falls short when it comes to recognizing racism.

The ignorance among our school is also due to the fact that the area we live in is predominantly white. The majority at our school is surrounded by people who look and think like them, have the same wealth as them, the same opportunity to not be faced with racism like them. Conflict over racism would not arise in a group of only white people.

People of color don’t have the freedom to not be educated on racism like white people do. It’s an out of sight out of mind way of thinking. White kids at our school have the opportunity to never experience racism. Therefore they never have to inform themselves about that topic.

This leads to the offensive jokes and gestures. People don’t like to be corrected and no one likes the idea that they’ve unintentionally hurt someone. However, instead of trying to figure out what they did wrong, people get angry. They claim that the person of color who accuses them of racism, the person who would know better, is delusional.

Something that every white person should understand when it comes to racism is that no matter how against racism you are, you benefit from it. Economically, socially, and mentally. White people benefit from the detriment of people of color and always have been.

Understanding this is the first step for white people to have productive conversations about racism. Understand how you, though it may be unintentional, take place is systematic racism. Understand that as a white person, the person who is accusing you of being racist knows way more about that situation that you do.

We can’t afford to not listen when it comes to conversations about racism. Talking is the only way problems like that get better. But we also need to make sure the conversations being had are productive.

Del Norte prides itself on being a place where everyone can feel safe and respected. Diversity is something that we all accept and rally for. However, our school cannot confidently claim that we are a vision of acceptance when we continue to implement casual acts of hate.

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The Student News Site of Del Norte High School
We Need To Talk About Racism