Students discuss discrimination, bias, in Burlington High

Eric Pabon, Sports Editor

   It’s easy to see an act of injustice scrolling through Instagram, but can you look deeper into the picture and understand systematic racism?

    There are prejudices that are embedded into society and it is a part of the way people think, whether they know it or not. They have resulted in years of emotional grief from generational discrimination.

   This year, once again, movements have been sweeping across the country to bring attention to racial injustice. Due to social media, it is easier than ever to tap into the current events around America.

   This has caused reflection from the students with mixed heritage in their blood line. Is this school racist?

   There are only a small number of mixed kids in this school. So there are different feelings and opinions that are very distinct from the majority of the school because of personal experience.

   The general political and cultural view changes, based on geography and demographics of an area.

  Current Events teacher, Chris Varvel says, “When I was getting my masters, they would tell me to make groups, ‘heterogeneous’ (Interracial). I told them here, that means boys and girls or short and tall.”

    He suggests that there is a lack of diversity here. This absence of cultural difference can unintentionally lead to ignorance.

    English teacher Sandy Loucks says, “I had a student that would always say ‘Beaner’ to another student of Hispanic decent, and I had to take him out to the hallway and explain to him that it’s not okay to say that.”

    Racism, when taken lightly, could be considered humorous. Jokes that put down another race are often juggled in the air and thrown around, but as long as someone laughs, it is okay?

    Junior Dreyton Brown claims, “People in Arizona were just generally more accepting. I like to joke around a lot but I’ve heard some race jokes that were just unfunny since I moved back here.”

    This Hispanic news reporter fells that “yeah, my friends occasionally would say like a racist joke, I mean, I laugh most of the time because we’re just joking around, like I know my friends don’t really see me as anything less than them. But, over time, it creates a social boarder between us. It’s in my head that I’m different.”

     Another student in the school describes a similar scenario. African American sophomore Kylie Price says, “Last year, I was in a class with a couple of students who were sitting in the back of the class. One repeatedly yelled the n word and thought it was hilarious. His friend even told him to stop, but he said it a few more times. It wasn’t until I told him to stop, that he finally quit. The teacher simply told him to cut it out. I’m not trying to drown in self-pity but I think racism does exist in our school.”

    Another issue for racially mixed kids is the inability to connect with their culture. Hispanic freshman Johanna Carrasco claims, “Growing up as a minority has affected me by making it hard for me to express my opinion on things. Going to school here suppresses my culture in a way because there isn’t much diversity.”

   African American senior Gavin Price says, “I’ve learned nothing about my culture. Growing up without diversity makes the people I’m around ignorant.” When asked if he feels like he has been treated differently, he says, “I don’t think I’ve ever been treated differently but I have felt like I didn’t fit because of my race.”

   Some students do not feel like they have ever been mistreated. African American senior Shalonn Wright says he’s lived here a long time, and nobody’s ever made him feel any different since he moved here.

    In fact, African American freshman Karson Bangs even says that it has been better for him. “When I moved here I made friends instantly,” he said.

  Racism today is not the same as it was 50 years ago; it is subtle.

   It is in the way that someone is noticed, and it is the assumptions about his/her lifestyle that are made, based on a small piece of information received.