All Eyez on Me

By: Rayne Ware

If it was up to me, I would be at CT or Eaglecrest.

As a black student at Grandview, I am one of the many that just want to get the school year over with and I feel that young, educated, minority men and women shouldn’t have to endure certain minor indirectly racist comments, glares, and sly whispers that makes us want to leave.

Many students of color believe that they are not comfortable at all at Grandview.

“I feel that black students are not noticed enough at this school. This school just looks at the white kids and that is what Grandview is known for,” said Amari’ah Ambram.

“I hang out with black kids because I feel a sense of belonging and being appreciated,” said
Jonah Herndon.

Grandview has been a wild ride for me as a freshman and this is part of the reason why.

One experience I had was during English class when we finished To Kill A Mockingbird. Our class had a post-read discussion, when a white student made an oral assumption that I had family in the prison system. The question I happened to ask was “When was acting black a characteristic in our school?”

The white majority looked offended. Then this white football player said that he could sag his pants and say the N-word if he wanted to, just because he had white privilege and I didn’t.

Grandview is not as comfortable of a school for minority students as it is for the white majority of students, which is why many students of color want to switch to CT or Eaglecrest.

“Grandview as a school is mostly white and there aren’t many hispanic and black people in this school. I feel the need to relate to black friends because we can talk about different issues racially and have a way to relate,” said Herndon.

Herndon feels that he wants to go to CT because there are more black people and because he feels comfortable around other people that look like him.

Even teachers of color struggle with helping students while trying to balance their perception of the world.

“As a black male teacher at Grandview, my perspective is unique. My perspective at Grandview is valued in the classroom. Race is a social construct that divides us as humans,”said Jasper Armstrong.

Armstrong feels that education is a way to teach a balance of racial power through how our society works.

The indirectly racist experiences that you don’t see on the news are the most hurtful to the soul and the heart knowing that they are meant to tear the other person down.

“As a student at Grandview, this school is seen as a white school. But now, it a has gotten a lot more diverse over the years,” said Howra Aljewad. “Though every once in a while, I will get mean glares or whispers whenever I’m just being normal and walking down the hallway.”

Sometimes I feel as if I’m standing outside of a white-majority box with my blackness. I feel that my blackness is a threat.

It wasn’t my fault that I was born black.
It’s my fault that I am ashamed of it.
Is there hope for Grandview?
It is time to change the way Grandview welcomes minority students, before they say goodbye.

11 comments

  1. urmum 23 January, 2019 at 21:51 Reply

    okay but ct and eagle crest have pretty much the same demographics. diverse compared to places in northern Colorado and Douglas county but still about 50% white.

  2. Hyper 25 January, 2019 at 20:01 Reply

    This is absolute nonsense. First of all, wanting to hang out with people of the same race is normal for every race. Their culture is the same and they feel as if they can relate with one another. That is not a bad thing. To say that Grandview is known for being a “white school” is garbage. People who are recognizing Grandview based off its racial majority are the same ones claiming that their own misfortunes and outcomes are a result of “white-privilege”. Why is there a NEED for minorities to be put on a pedestal? Each person’s opinion matters the same despite race, gender, etc. I highly doubt that people are making “mean glares or whispers” for simply making your way down the hallways. That person is probably looking for a reason to be offended. How does that person know that those whispers are mean if they’re whispers, what if those glances are normal faces for the other person? It makes sense for minorities to want to be with people of their same race and culture – which isn’t a bad thing. It’s funny how Grandview is painted as not kind or understanding of minorities because it has too many white people, but CT isn’t portrayed in a bad way because in reality the narrative is “white people are bad” and “white privilege is the reason I haven’t done anything with my life”. How about they take responsibility for their actions and recognized that they’re creating division by looking through literally everything, including walking through the halls, through a racial lens.

    • MG 11 February, 2019 at 16:30 Reply

      If you are NOT a minority please do not comment on something you will NEVER understand. You sound ignorant, matter of fact you ARE ignorant. Grandview has issues that are finally being addressed. Being a minority at this school is an everyday struggle because of people like you. There is a need for minorities to be put on a “pedestle” because OUR kids are being shot dead in the streets for absolutely no reason and many other things that white children would NEVER know anything about. Minorities don’t “look” for a reason to be offended. That’s not a thing. I’m baffled that you actually tried to turn the issue back to pity white people and incriminate other races with your statement and I quote , “ because in reality the narrative is white People are bad.” Again , the world does not revolve around white people and their opinions on which they frankly, shouldn’t have an a opinion on this topic at all unless they are going to educate the others as to how they can educate themselves about races other than theirs. White privilege is a VERY real thing and often does set minorities back from getting the same things and treatment that they deserve. CT is a very different and welcoming atmosphere, unlike Grandview. Minorities ARE NOT creating a division in this school, people like you and opinions like yours are. If you do not know or have experienced this issue as a minority, do not tell these kids how they should think and how they should feel about this issue. Thanks.
      Sincerely,
      A minority GHS student.

  3. CHUNGUS 29 January, 2019 at 10:23 Reply

    The article says that only people who are not white get talked bad about. Did you ever think maybe it’s because of my personality, or maybe they are saying that kid is cool or funny? No, you instantly say it is all bad things people are saying about you. I am not saying there is no racism, but you are blowing things out of proportions.

  4. LOLSORANDOM 29 January, 2019 at 12:54 Reply

    There is plenty of black people and hispanic people here. I get where you’re coming from, but still. Also, I haven’t seen a black kid get glared at.

  5. moxy 30 January, 2019 at 11:28 Reply

    I understand wanting to be able to walk around a school and not feel segregated because of your race and background but you can’t say Grandview is a non accepting school because “there is not enough minorities”. And I fully understand wanting to be around your race, that works for every race though. And I know where you are coming from, I grew in southern Texas where there is a lot of racial issues, but just because you are a minority in a more white dominated school doesn’t mean that they don’t have the same experiences. If you are reading this try to branch out from your normal group, as we are all humans in the end.

  6. ME 1 February, 2019 at 11:52 Reply

    As teenagers in high school, we are all naturally self-conscious and think that the world is out to get them; however, in reality, nobody actually cares about every little action you do. They are more likely concentrated on themselves and not others. This is simply part of growing up and it’s natural to feel like you are being judged, but it isn’t okay to scapegoat it on the idea of racism. At this point, you are trying to find a reason to be upset and blaming masochism on other ideas. This simply doesn’t make sense, as there is no real bullying unless someone is intentionally trying to get power out of you. I would consider Grandview a safe place for me, as I have previously been BULLIED for being Jewish before I came to this high school. If there is truly a problem, talk to the counselor. They would definitely help more than my talk here. Remember, you are just being self conscious and it’s okay if you think people are staring at you.

  7. anonymous 1 February, 2019 at 14:38 Reply

    A majority doesn’t inherently mean that the minority will be discriminated against, and unfortunately that is heavily implied in this article. I won’t sit here and make false statements like “There is absolutely NO racism in Grandview!”, but using that there are more white people in Grandview as an argument is circular reasoning. I agree that there is some racism, but saying “Grandview is racist” is a bit of an extreme black-or-white statement, no?

    “Is there hope for Grandview?” implies that Grandview is inherently racist just because there are racists in Grandview, which is a pretty extreme way to look at it. I think it’s important to talk about racism, but to talk about racism as though it is an inherent, inevitable fact within a majority is simply incorrect. There are far too many black-and-white or blanket statements for this article to hold much ground. “The white majority looked offended”, “I will get mean glares or whispers whenever I’m just being normal and walking down the hallway”, and “minority men and women shouldn’t have to endure certain minor indirectly racist comments, glares, and sly whispers that makes us want to leave.” are all pretty blanket statements that assume racism is a result of these actions while supplying no proof, which is where the article falls apart.

    Wouldn’t it have been more interesting (and reliable) to have run a poll on whether or not people feel uncomfortable around minorities or if they would become friends with a minority student? No statistics are given, and I’m sorry to say that interviewing three people is not a statistic, especially since two of those three are high school students, who often think that whispers are about them just because someone in the conversation may glance at them or just because that high school students are pretty insecure about themselves. I even admit I’m guilty of hearing someone whispering and think it’s about me, only to realise they’re talking about something totally unrelated, like video games or a TV show.

    Unfortunately, high school students do like to rationalise why someone is talking about them and sometimes that conclusion is that they must be some form of a bigot, but you’d be surprised how many people do not actually care about what your skin colour is. So, anyway, I think we should talk about racism, but not in a way that it shows no proof and gives blanket statements and black-and-white reasoning because, surprise, that will make people angry and defensive, many people probably reacting with “I’m a white person and I’m not racist, so why is this article implying I am?” I think racism does exist within Grandview, I just don’t think this article presents racism realistically.

  8. I am a savage change my mind 6 February, 2019 at 13:11 Reply

    OK, for everyone saying that this article is bad, it is not period. I am a white person, but I have seen with my own eyes the racism that people give to other races. I understand that a minority would feel self aware about their race. Now I understand that there is more minorities then when this school started BUT it is still mostly white. You people need to understand what the meaning of this article is supposed to be all you guys blew it out of proportions

  9. Anonymous Gal 12 February, 2019 at 15:35 Reply

    Let’s start with an anecdote. It’s simple, but it’s profound:

    “Pick up a pair of scissors, grasp a door handle, and sit at a student’s desk. They are all designed for right-handed people. Yet right-handed people do not tend to recognize how the world favors right-handedness …[Similarly], I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege.” (McIntosh)
    This quote struck me, because I happened to come across it on a day where I happened to be involved in a project that required a lot of cutting. My partner in this particular project was a lefty, and I kept cracking up while watching her struggle with the school’s scissors and Guillotine-style Paper Cutter. And let me tell you: Her struggle was real. Her struggle was clumsy and awkward. Her struggle was something I—a right-handed person—had never thought about or noticed before.

    Besides being right-handed, I am also White. And as a White person, there have been many times where I have not thought about or noticed the struggles of friends and acquaintances who are NOT white.

    For example, throughout the years, I can recall at least a dozen friends and acquaintances of color (Black and Hispanic, mostly), who have told me about their experiences being followed around and questioned by retail store workers while shopping. Throughout the years, I have had at least a dozen different responses, some that I said aloud, some that I kept in my head. Here are a few:

    “That didn’t happen. You were imagining it.”
    “You were probably being really loud and obnoxious in the store. That’s why they were following you.”
    “The people in the store were just doing their job.”
    “Why does it always have to be a race with you?”
    “Well, were you stealing stuff?”

    In the way that I have had the easy privilege of never had to think twice about something as simple as cutting a piece of paper, I had never had to think twice about shopping at the mall. In my hundreds of trips to Target, The Gap, Forever 21, etc., I had never been followed, looked at strangely, questioned, or asked to leave. Since this was my truth and my experience, I easily believed that this was THE truth and experience, and therefore concluded that this other experience was not real. It was imagined. It was a story. It was an attempt to racialize things and create problems that were not there.

    It was as though it was easier for me to believe that there was this big conspiracy, this underground agreement people of color must have made to spread this falsehood to White people to make them feel guilty, rather than taking a few minutes with the one response I had never considered: That their story was true. That they had, in fact, been followed around in retail stores because of their race.

    Recently, I’ve tried on this possibility, and it’s been both uncomfortable and enlightening. Try it out.

    For a few minutes, explore what it would be like to followed around, to be distrusted, because of the way you look. For a few minutes, consider that it really IS difficult to be the only student of color in an otherwise all-white class. For a few minutes, consider that hearing the “n-word” over and over again in a book in English class or even in the hallway by your peers really does make you feel isolated, hurt, and angry, and the “it’s just history” or “you’re just being sensitive” argument really doesn’t make it feel any better.

    As a White person, it is so much easier to feel attacked and on the defensive when matters of race come up, and to dismiss people as imagining it or of being “too sensitive.” I know this, because I did it for years. But is it helpful? Is it honest? It is intelligent or rationale to believe that the only true experience is your own, and therefore, that other experiences are false, inflated, or imagined?

    Let’s end with a Countee Cullen poem. It’s simple, but it’s profound:

    Once riding in old Baltimore,
    Heart-filled, head-filled with glee,
    I saw a Baltimorean
    Keep looking straight at me.

    Now I was eight and very small,
    And he was no whit bigger,
    And so I smiled, but he poked out
    His tongue, and called me, “Nigger.”

    I saw the whole of Baltimore
    From May until December;
    Of all the things that happened there
    That’s all that I remember.

    —Countee Cullen, “Incident” (1925)

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