Monday, November 30, 2015

Social Justice Event #1: Struggles With Racism in Schools

Social Justice Event
Struggles with Racism in Schools

Throughout the course of the semester, one of our required assignments was to attend 2 Social Justice events outside of class.  While inititally I planned to just attend one of the film seminars in the library, I had the opportunity to go and participate in an event hosted by my brother's school called "Racism: Bring About Change".  One of the things they focused on during their studies was what it's like for children and young adults in schools to have to suffer from racism.  African American students in Southern schools, for example, like the video I included in my blog post #12 are often subject to ignorance and bigoted views from people who refuse to acknowledge these people as equals.  The woman in that video is a principal at a school, a figure that students are told to listen to and look up to, and yet she is spewing racist comments openly.  I referenced that video simply because I think it ties into some of the things I learned at this event.

There were a few guest speakers, and honestly I can't remember their names, but there was one girl who is of Muslim descent who talked about transferring to a new high school and being treated like an outcast.  She said people acted like they were afraid of her and treated her like a thing instead of a person, and she talked about the difficulties she had just trying to get herself to go to school.  Something like that is such a disheartening thing to hear because no one deserves to be subjected to that just because of their backgrounds or beliefs.  

Another guy talked about what it was like for him growing up as an African American student in Alabama, and said he was often subject to racism being one of only a couple of African American students in his class (like Junior Class).  He said he was often bullied and made to feel less significant.  Of course, even though these stories were moving and definitely hard to hear, it was amazing to see these people open up and spread their message in an attempt to inspire confidence in others.  The girl who talked is now in college and about to graduate with a degree in accounting, and already has a couple of jobs lined up.  At the same time, the man said that he works with a lot of youth groups and helps to get people actively involved in the community and helps them to make better decisions and gain confidence.  To see what they went through only to be able to pull themselves back up and really get their lives on track despite hardships was inspiring, and something I think others can learn from.

Connections to text: I chose to reference this event now because it actually goes hand-in-hand with the texts we read from Blanchard and Ayvazian.  Writing these two posts similar to one another allowed me to really reflect on the text and it's interesting because of the fact that these people who talked at the presentation have the same goal of inspiring confidence and being "allies", as was talked about in both texts.  More than anything else, I think the presentation they put on is something really cool for younger children to see, at it gives them an idea into what racism is and what it's like for people at a younger age--the sooner they get the knowledge to make the best decisions they can and be good, moral people rather than be forced to think in a certain way because of ignorant parents or authority figures, the better off they will be.

This was a really informative event and one I enjoyed quite a bit.  Being able to sit there and just listen to these brave people share their stories was inspiring and it made me want to make more of an effort to help bring about that same change.

Video: If you can, I'd watch this video.  It's a little long, but I think the message was a good one and it really speaks to what some of these people have to experience.

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