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Is Prejudice at BHS a Problem?

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Is Prejudice at BHS a Problem?

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

Photo via Wikimedia Commons under Creative Commons license

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In recent years, racism, sexism, and homophobia have become all too common in our country. It’s become nearly impossible to scroll through the news without coming across stories of intolerance, but is prejudice an issue in Blacksburg High School?   

Many forms of prejudice have become a social norm at Blacksburg High School.  Racial slurs are not uncommon, and ignorant and hateful remarks regarding religion, culture, and race are said every day.  It does not come as a shock to hear the n-word while walking through the hallways, and the word “gay” is regularly used with a negative connotation.

“[Prejudice in our school] is a problem, but it’s all hidden aspects of it, nothing blatant; disguised forms of intolerance….  All these things seem normal to us, but they shouldn’t be,” said Julietta Crowder-Parea, sophomore.

According to Crowder-Parea, who identifies as Latina, her worst experiences include instances where she has been told that “your mom cleans toilets,” and that she should “go back to your country.”  

“Since we go to a predominantly white school,” said Crowder-Parea, “many of the students have never experienced racism….  [They] don’t know what it’s like to be discriminated against, so they don’t understand why these comments are hurtful.”

While these forms of intolerance sometimes seem miniscule, they still impact those they’re directed towards.  These malicious comments may be easy for most people to shrug off, but to others they infringe on their feeling of safety.

“I feel like the school hasn’t been able to do anything to discipline the students…. I don’t truly feel safe anymore,”  an anonymous source.

According to this source, who is openly gay, students in our school have had to switch out of classes as a result of hate speech.  Students are singled out because of their sexual orientation to the point that some of them consider pretending to be someone else.  

“I’ve contemplated whether I should live my life being gay, but risk putting myself in danger, or fake being straight in order to stay safe,” said the source.

Since nothing overtly screams prejudice, said the source, the school is often unable do anything to deal with these issues.  This is why we, the student body, need to report instances of racism, sexism, and homophobia to the school. Otherwise, this issue will continue to be neglected.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Is Prejudice at BHS a Problem?”

  1. Melody Zobel on October 6th, 2018 10:07 am

    I recently learned that our international students, those very few recent refugee children granted asylum by our nation, have been harassed, bullied, mocked, threatened and belittled by BHS students. These personal attacks have forced other students of international heritage, now full American citizens, who have been here longer and found their place to choose to advocate on behalf of those being tormented or to keep silent and walk on by for fear of retribution. For our children in Blacksburg who have never fled war, leaving dead friends, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, villages, places of worship and community thousands of miles behind them in the wake wrought by war, or for those who have never been forced to live, sometimes for many, many years, in a camp, in a tent among many, many desperate people without access to clean water, food, shelter, clothing, electricity, running water, plumbing, health care, dentists, mental health care, green parks, or education, it should be no burden to extend compassion, support, kindness and hospitality. It grieves me to think of those sitting in classrooms next to our children who find no friendly face to turn to, and who are relegated to the position of the rejected other. Just imagine having to live like that. Always outside. Always rejected. The only thing I can think is that those being so cruel must themselves fear being relegated to a life of rejection or find the only power they have to be the power to belittle those at the bottom of their social pecking order. Blacksburg High School students have so much. Why can they not extend hospitality to those who have lost everything?

  2. Spencer on October 8th, 2018 10:14 am

    Ms. Zobel,
    Thank you so much for responding, and letting us on the Bruin News staff know of this. We plan to continue to address the issues of prejudice and racism in our paper to bring better awareness to the school body.

    Felicia Spencer
    The Bruin News Advisor

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Is Prejudice at BHS a Problem?