When I first heard of the incident that occurred over the summer, I was at camp with no access to technology. One of my good friends wrote me a letter about how some boys in the school had made racist remarks in a Facebook message. She didn’t, however, go into much depth about what happened, so I didn’t recognize the grimness of the event. While I felt horrified that anything like this would happen, when I returned home and saw the true severity of the incident, I was shocked.
I think the fact that I was shocked says something positive about the community I thought I was in. I didn’t believe anyone was capable of saying the horrible things said, especially people I knew in my grade.
For a lot of students, myself included, the events over the summer changed their perspective on the Wellesley community, especially the community within the high school. For me personally, I’ve become much more aware and sensitive to the jokes people make involving race. I’ve realized everything said, even as a joke, contributes to the problem of racism within the community, because there should be no such thing as a ‘racist joke.’
While we cannot change the past, we can work together as a community to prevent things like this from happening in the future. We can change the culture in our community, and hopefully go back to a place where we can be surprised that something like this would occur, because of the respect we hold for our fellow classmates.
We also cannot force people to change. The change must occur within ourselves. We must think about what we say, and stop anything offensive we hear, including ‘jokes.’ If we all work together to change, our culture can improve for the better.