Students of color shouldn’t have to fight racism in the classroom – The Daily Aztec
Navigating the world is difficult for students of color.
School should be the last place students should have to worry about tackling racism, but sadly, in the current political climate, that’s one thing.
It has been a thing for too long.
Racism is present in the classroom, from preschool to higher education, and it stems from the education system as a whole. From the origins of the programs and the way teachers are trained to teach in elementary school to how admissions counselors assess college applications, there is a clear standard rooted in white supremacy that these systems reflect. .
This translates into students of color at all levels and the discomfort they feel when teachers are forced to explain the belief that all men are created equal, but the truth is: to enslave and oppress a group in order to providing the independence and well-being of another.
The task is difficult because the students are still developing while they are there to learn and deepen their education. The information taught to them may appear prejudiced or racist, and if it comes from a prejudiced or racist teacher, it taints their entire perspective and may fuel triggering feelings in students or spark unhappy interactions in which they may be. involved.
For example, slavery is a topic that makes many of us uncomfortable. Slavery and its social, psychological and economic legacies, however, forever changed race relations between black and white in the United States. Due to the generational trauma, this requires discussion. It requires questions and answers. It requires constructive generational healing.
Many students of color may be first or second generation students, children of immigrants, or have other identities that may overlap and will inevitably create pressures that will intensify over time.
It can be exhausting for students of color to keep explaining their culture and identity so that people understand what is acceptable and what is not. They shouldn’t be the ones who have to face racism. They are students and their purpose is to learn – not to be questioned, attacked, despised, put on the spot and lead discussions when their community is being brought up in class, for whatever reason.
Discussing racial issues can make students and teachers uncomfortable, but for students of color feeling uncomfortable is a constant that never goes away. When conversations about race take place in school, they tend to focus on oppression rather than triumph. It is essential that educators teach the full spectrum of a community of color not only during Hispanic Heritage Month, Asian-American and Pacific Island Heritage Month, or Black History Month, but throughout. year round.
Assigning various books is not enough. In elementary school, “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee is required text for most students across the country. It’s a race-focused book but it was written by a white author so it can’t say more about the black experience. I remember reading it in my first year of high school in my Honors English class. That same year, among other texts, I also remember vividly reading “Fences” by August Wilson, a black playwright, and “House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros, an American-Mexican author.
I admit that, in that context, I was one of the lucky ones who were able to get a somewhat comprehensive education in terms of a diverse playlist that year. This is just one example of how teachers can expand their curriculum for the benefit of their students. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was gaining a wealth of knowledge about the breed just by reading fictional stories about people of color that were more real than I could understand at the time, but I now fully understand it and I ‘I’m grateful.
I am grateful because I understand that few students receive this type of education or worse, they do not receive this type of education and experience blatant racism in the classroom. They may be the only student in the class who looks like them, which is problematic because it is easier for others to micro-aggress and make racist remarks. People don’t know what to do with it, and trust me, neither does this student.
I believe the State of San Diego can improve its response to racism when it is reported and brought to their attention. On campus, constant conversations should be encouraged in order to raise awareness and hear the voices of those who are oppressed. With this, the positive aspects of race and diversity should be mentioned just as much, if not more, than the negative aspects. These discussions should take place in a space where students feel safe rather than suffocated and embarrassed – although all of these emotions are valid and natural.
They shouldn’t just be a thing when the protests are strong, someone tragically becomes a hashtag, or to be more specific to the SDSU community, Zoom meeting of cultural student organization interrupted by racist ‘zoom bombers’, a campus cultural resource center is vandalized or professor makes racist-insensitive remarks in online conference all within two years.
The SDSU should consider creating compulsory courses for students to learn about diversity and its importance in all aspects of life. They believe that a science, art and math course is necessary for all majors, but shouldn’t diversity be valued as well? Diversity, like science, the arts and math, extends beyond the classroom, but it should also be honored, celebrated and recognized there.
Trinity Bland is a junior studying television, film, media and Spanish. Follow her on Twitter @trinityaliciaa.