Power over Education
During my high school days, I attended an all-girls catholic school where the majority of the kids came from backgrounds of privilege. The whole facade of the school, much like the missions of other schools, prohibited any act of racism or discrimination against other students on the basis of race. This being clearly stated because is is almost a daily norm to see Micro-aggressions happening for the BIPOC community.
I hate to admit this but I was gravely unaware of the undercurrents of racism and the extremely exclusive environment the school held. It was only after my attendance did I realize the lack of responsibility the school took make the BIPOC minority of the school feel welcomed. The image portrayed by the school was a school that was focused on faith which in itself would ideally imply the extra measure it would take for all members to feel welcomed but that was not the case.
There was Instagram account created called Sacred SF speak out (https://www.instagram.com/sacredsfspeaksout/) that was created anonymously by a group of students to allow a space for other students to submit their stories on racial discrimination within the educational environment of the school. The account has accumulated around 50 stories since its creation a month ago. It directly calls out the Board of Trustees and heads of the school to take action yet the response was only on the account tarnishing and inaccurately portraying the image of the school.
The president of my school responded to the account sending out an email to the entire community of schools by calling it “unjust targeting and bullying” in turn victimizing themselves to undermine and gaslight those who did speak out on the attitude towards the BIPOC community within school. More than 25+ faculty member’s were also lectured and chastised because of the support they had given the account.
It was known that in Sophomore year both the history and english class was a combined course known as Hislish that focused purely on the topic of “Oppression” both within history and literature. The topics touched talked about the timeline of Slavery endured by Indigenous people and Africans throughout the world, then focused on just the United States and the different eras that African Americans, Latinx people, and indigenous people endured racism and oppression.
Regardless of this highly praised class, in a post a student wrote about an incident where a group of non-black student were using the n-word within the context of class an after class as well. When a student brought the situation up to the teacher of the class, the response from the teacher was one of calling the other students naive, and ultimately defending the students with the “they didn’t know it was bad” card.
From this, and many other of the posts there seems to be an underlying battle between authority and their implementation of power. Even when students seem to step out of line, there is not an attempt from the teachers or other authoritative figures to correct or implement discipline.
I think it’s quite unfortunate that an institution I once was so proud to be a part of has been tarnished with its lack of support to all its students. Getting an education is such a privilege, so for it to not support the safety of its minorities it gravely out of line and contradicts the idea of institutions being a place on inspiration.