November 24, 2017

Racism is not a mistake

By Carolyn Hale '18, Arts Editor

You don’t have to search for very long to find picture of protesters facing off against police on the streets of many American cities in response to police shootings of black men and women across the country. This summer, Wellesley became yet another battlefield over racism in the United States. However, instead of bodies in the streets, the conflict stemmed from a slew of racist messages sent by rising juniors at the high school that were then posted to Facebook by another member of the groupchat.

The incident at the Wellesley High School is not the only example of blatant racism among high school students. This comes after the Boston Latin School was federally investigated over claims that the school was mishandling incidents of racial bullying, a direct violation of the Civil Rights Act.

Like Wellesley, many of the Boston Latin bullying incidents took place over the web, such as “a series of racially charged tweets by students in November 2014, after the riots in Ferguson, Mo. Students filled a binder with the tweets and brought them to administrators but were ignored,” said Milton Valencia of The New York Times.

The fact that events like those that occurred at Boston Latin School occurred in Wellesley speaks to the fact that racism, even among teenagers in a seemingly progressive part of the country, persists. The words we type are as powerful and as harmful as the tear gas used on Black Lives Matter protesters. Too many teenagers are under the impression that what they say online, even as a joke gone out of control or as a mistake in judgment, does not matter. It does matter.

Yes, we are teenagers, and teenagers make mistakes, but thinking that it is acceptable to degrade and bully a group of people based on the color of their skin is not a mistake, it is a blatant disregard for the humanity of others.

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