How does it feel to be a minority student walking the halls of a white majority school? How does it affect students?
Bringing attention to the exclusion and effects of minority students is not to make anyone feel attacked or to point fingers at anyone. It is to shed light on a situation that is underlying but important. It is hard enough to fit into the social structures of school and environments, but even more so when you are in a position where you can’t easily find people who you can relate to and who share your heritage.
When people get the chance to talk about effects on minority students, it is immediately thought there are accusations of racism or hate being placed and, although there are many situations where this might be true, it is not the case all the time. Many times, it is just the reality of people being left out or pushed to the side. Being noticed and accepted, but never fully understood. Or only being known for what you look like and the different places you come from.
“I can get along fairly well with everyone, but sometimes people can ask the right question without realizing it and I get lost in my thoughts. I ask, ‘is that all you see in me?’”
Says an anonymous student after being asked if there is ever a moment where they feel out of place.
Differences between people are what make the world spin. The unique cultures, languages, customs, beliefs, and colors create meaning for the world. Although there is a large population count where people are accepting of others, there never is a real understanding.
Everyone knows of Hispanics, Asians, Africans, Latinos, Islanders, but do we really know about them? Taking time to learn their history and culture will help us develop an appreciation of each other. Some accept who we are, but never really understand it.
One wrong step and people can get hurt, but we never discuss why. There is the immediate jump of thinking that people are too sensitive and take things too personally without realizing maybe there is a deeper meaning to it.
“If you don’t see my color, you don’t see me. My color isn’t just a skin tone, it’s a story, culture, and life of its own. It’s what has helped me find who I am.”
Says an anonymous student after being asked how they feel about the following comment:
“Just ignore it. I don’t get why everything has to be about race. I don’t see color I just see people.”
I can’t deny that I could make things so much easier by ignoring certain situations and problems. Yet to ignore what someone was born with, who they grew up as, and what is a part of them is to ignore their contribution to this world. Most of these issues are not simple yes or no, black and white types of situations. There are complexities and versatility that need to be recognized and appreciated.
Being a minority myself, I know what it feels like firsthand. I don’t fit in. I have my own difficulties as an individual and with my personality, but being a Latinx student in a white majority school, I can’t adapt. I grew up in a different environment and culture. I don’t understand where others come from and why they know what they do and the same goes for others about me. I can’t ever join simple conversations about what their families had for dinner last night. I feel out of place.
Resources can be more easily accessible for a group of people that have a higher majority rate. There never has to be a worry if you’ll qualify for a work field or scholarship. You never have to worry if you will be turned away based on the way you look, sound, or come from.
“Nowadays it’s never a fair scale. It’s either one or the other. If you’re not receiving microaggressions, it’s a life of affection action. To put it simply, you can get bullied or killed.”
Exclaims an anonymous student after being asked how they see minorities are being treated.
People are valid in having their own opinions, but to completely push aside the arrogance and hate that is directed to some people is surpassing moral limits.
“If I can go one day without being called out for where my background is from, instead of by my name at least five times a day, it’s a miracle.”
Anonymous continues to explain what they experience as a minority student.
“Its small comments that are political or even personal that just completely dismiss human values.”
Hate, racism, segregation, and so forth happens around us every single day. Whether you see it on the news, hear it out on the sidewalk, see it in the produce section of a grocery store, it’s there. Some experience it and others are the cause. There is a lot of hate and it’s a topic that needs to be handled. While it may be an uncomfortable conversation, it is a necessary one to have as you grow up. Being open-minded to differences and conversation is the only way to start change for the better.