PHS Include Editorial

Hannah Harvey, Editor-In-Chief

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This week, the leadership class released a video about racism at Paschal. The
video features many students of different ethnicities speaking about times that they
have experienced discrimination right here on campus. The intent behind this video
is to spread awareness about discrimination, and start a conversation about how
inequality and racial relations affect students.

On April 22, the video was shown during second period, and teachers were
given a list of discussion points to aid a class conversation about the video. Some
students and teachers support the video, and advocate for more discussion on the
discrimination and awareness that the video describes, while some students and
teachers argue that the video targets white students/teachers and the AP classes.
In my opinion, I believe that the video was an important first step in starting
a conversation about the things that minorities face everyday at Paschal. Of course
some people are going to be uncomfortable and feel “called out”, but when there is a
big problem, there is inherently going to be pushback and awkwardness in the
process of bringing change. An argument that I have heard from people that did not
agree with the video is that it placed blame on certain people that was not
warranted. While I cannot speak for every individual at Paschal, and I have never
personally been the victim of discrimination based on my race, I can say that I have
seen a problem in the way that a lot of people are treated. In most cases, I doubt that
this discrimination is intentional or mean spirited, but that doesn’t mean that
students don’t feel the isolation and hurt that it causes.

I think there is a misconception among some parts of Paschal about what
discrimination looks like. The video showed us that there are times when students
are targeted and called racial slurs, which is disgusting- but there is also a lot of
discrimination that is not as obvious, that goes under most peoples’ radar. When
you’ve never had to think about it because it’s never affected you, it is easy to fall
into the belief that it does not happen here.

I am one of the students that went to Tanglewood, was placed in upper level
math at McLean, and now I take honors and AP classes at Paschal. I have never had a
teacher tell me that I “wasn’t meant to be” in a class, and I have always been
encouraged to take higher level classes. When teachers call on the class to answer a
question, I never feel like I am excluded or not expected to answer. I have always
known that I will go to college, and been expected to maintain a high GPA, because
that is the path that I have been born into.

For a large part of Paschal, this is not their reality. A lot of students do not
feel that they are expected to succeed, and a lot of the students that do push
themselves to be in honors and AP classes have voiced that they don’t feel included
in the majority of their classes. It is not for students like me to say that this is not
true, because I have no insight into their perspective. My responsibility is to listen,
and to look at my environment through the lens of their lives.
When a group of people come forward and say that they have experienced
discrimination, it is not someone else’s place to say that isn’t true. I understand that
some people may not have seen discrimination in their classes, but I have been
disappointed in the way that a lot of people at Paschal have responded to this video.
Just because you don’t think you personally have acted in a racist or discriminatory
manner does not mean that you can deny that racism or discrimination exists at Paschal, and in doing so, you are trying to silence the voices of the people that are
being hurt the most.
There is no overnight or easy solution- if there was then our country would
hopefully be in a much better place than it is. Change is a long, and a lot of times an
uncomfortable, process, but it is the responsibility of teachers and students to
respect the fact that it needs to happen. I think the leadership class and the students
that came forward and spoke in the video are brave, and deserve Paschal’s respect-
not Paschal’s ridicule.