FCHS must protect Black students

Ichigo Wilson and

Racism has never disappeared. We have seen the detrimental effects, like fear and constant self hate and even hate for others, that it has on minorities and communities of color.

It took hundreds of years of protesting, riots and death for the world to even begin to see that racism was even an issue that needed to be addressed after a while it’s still happening. Cop brutality happens so often because it’s allowed, it is normal for people of color to fear someone who is supposed to “save” us. Blackface is overlooked as many still do it and seem to see nothing wrong in it. Store owners and staff members of Walmarts, Targets and many other stores mistreating colored people and not allowing them to leave stores for nothing.  

Then when we speak up about racism, we are not heard, or we are told we are being over dramatic. Society has become so numb to the harm and destruction that racism has on our communities. We see it and do nothing about it.

Being born Black has never been easy. Growing up, I was raised in fear. Thoughts of being hurt and treated unfairly because of the color of my skin definitely changed the way my childhood ran. I was raised to never trust anyone, and my dad taught me to “keep my friends close, and my enemies closer,” which is what I have lived by for so long. I kept my mind set on those words for all these years because I felt like I was protecting myself; I knew I was protecting myself. 

School was a hassle. I went to Tavelli Elementary school from 3rd to 5th grade, and they were some of the worst years of my life. I was the only Black kid in the classroom and one of maybe ten Black students in the entire school. However, the racism I faced was not even from the other kids. It was the teachers.

Once my dad rewarded my hard work by buying me a bracelet I really wanted. When I got it, I was so excited. I brought it to school to show it off to my friends, and one of them asked to hold it. I respectfully said no because I was not exactly the ‘‘sharing’’ type. She then took it from me and when I asked for it back, she would not budge. I told the teacher, and she sided with my friend, who claimed it was hers. I was sent to the principal’s office for lying and trying to steal. My dad had to drive to the school to prove he bought it and it was in fact mine. 

The person who was supposed to protect me in the situation was the one putting me down. In school you aren’t supposed to feel afraid of getting in trouble for nothing, or being constantly mistreated and accused when something goes missing or is misplaced.

Even in my high school experience, racism occurs. My fellow Black peers stay close to each other because we understand at the end of the day we will always be stronger together. There are so many Black kids in the Poudre School District who are struggling with racism, and there is constant bullying and harassment that is not dealt with or spoken up against. 

We have to realize that racism is an issue in our schools and address it instead of seeing it and doing nothing. 

“Students of color are experiencing racism in our schools,” said Teacher on Special Assignment Jason Powell, who works in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at RMHS. “I also think the district is working to become more proactive to bring different perspectives to the student body. We as the P.S.D. communities are always learning, but if we work together maybe more students will feel more comfortable in their own skin.” 

Even as the district begins to take action, just walking through the halls of FCHS as a student of color can still feel like a chore. 

For example, the n word is a huge problem that never seems to be solved, and in our halls the n word is said by many students that in fact are not Black. The word has been a highly offensive slur toward the Black community no one should be saying it. For all of the Black people who have had to suffer because of the color of their skin, the use of the n word is hurtful and it takes human beings who have worth and turns them into nothing. It is dehumanizing, and traumatic to hear in the hallways when I am just trying to get to class.

Black students are used to going to the principal’s office and their teachers, complaining  about  racism and being told “There’s nothing we can do ” and “We’ll keep an eye out,” when they can do something about it. The number of times I have reached out for help and have been pushed to the side is crazy. It is “normal,” to go unnoticed and to feel like your words don’t matter, or to be told you are too angry, and too loud when you want to stick up for yourself. It is so easy to be racist and get away with it because it is normal. 

Instead, racism needs to be called out and fought against so we can learn to love and accept what is different about everyone around us. Rather than pointing out differences as bad or scary, we could choose to look at one another and be open minded to the beauty we see within ourselves and everyone around us. The school system should point out these issues and bring evil to light, instead of covering it up or just not caring. 

In addition, schools need to teach students the great accomplishments of Black people, and how hard we have worked for our freedom and justice that has yet to be served. Learning about only the negative things like slavery creates negative self worth. It sucks being Black growing up knowing that colored people were nothing more than dogs to everyone else. Self hate would not be as present in the colored community if we learned about our culture and the beautiful queens that ruled and the awesome people who slayed the day with their poems and speeches. It would not seem all that bad to be who you are when there is light shining down on you.

To my fellow to Black people: We are enough. We are strong. Our skin is beautiful. We are not threats. We are not thieves. We are powerful. We have voices. I encourage you to say it and believe it because it is  true.