Community notes rise of racist comments

Teachers and students must work to reduce prejudice on-campus


Gazette/ iIllustration/ ELLIOTT HYMAN

According to some students at Granite Bay High, there has been a rise in the number of students using inappropriate racial slurs.

  Racism is prevalent enough in American society that it is now affecting students in what should be an accepting high school environment.  

  According to some students at Granite Bay High, there has been a noticeable amount of students using inappropriate racial slurs.

  “For me, racism is when you act on a preconceived idea that all people are this way because of  race,” said Brandon Dell’Orto, who teaches Advanced Placement United States history. “It’s not just racism, there’s all kinds of prejudice.”

  For others, like junior Katelyn Fernandez, racism is embedded in the culture of our society.

  “(It’s) the systematic oppression of people, particularly minorities, especially where we live in America,” Fernandez said.

  Fernandez said she believes people who turn to prejudice against others are often unaware about cultures other than their own.

  “They are intimidated by (culture), and they resort to being racist just because they don’t know how else to be,” Fernandez said.

  Honors, AP and IB chemistry teacher Suchi Krishnaraj said she thinks the student body of GBHS is generally tolerant.

  “Overall as a student body, we are better than our neighbors,” Krishnaraj said. “We are not the best, but most of our incidents come out of ignorance rather than malicious racism”

  However, a junior who asked to remain anonymous takes a completely opposite stance.

  “I feel like most of the students aren’t culturally aware, especially because of the lack of diversity at this school,” he said.

  People often turn to prejudice and racism as an outlet, a way to express their anger. Especially because it is almost simpler than being aware and educated about diversity.

  “It’s easier, there’s something about the simplicity of (racism),” the student said. “It’s easier to treat someone different and seclude them.”

    Specifically for GBHS, students are complaining about racist remarks made toward them or around them.

  “Especially on this campus, a lot of students will make racist jokes, which aren’t actual jokes,” Fernandez said. “They’re really offensive. Or they’ll use racial slurs thinking they have the right to use that word when they do not.”

  For some, racial slurs have been used casually in front of them despite obvious discomfort.

 “I was working with a student and he said the ‘N’ word multiple times during the process,” the anonymous junior boy said.

  While there has been a possible increase in the amount of prejudice, Dell’Orto said he believes certain policies would help reduce the problem.

  “I would hope that we really have zero tolerance for it,” Dell’Orto said. “And I don’t mean kicking kids out of school.”

I would hope that we really have zero tolerance for it,

— Brandon Dell'Orto

  For Dell’Orto, the way to address the problem might be as simple as faculty and students alike working to address the problem.

 “I would hope zero tolerance in the sense that from the teacher, to the other students, to the administration, (we make it clear) this is not who we are,” Dell’Orto said.

  Instead of ignoring the possible rise of racism at GBHS, Dell’Orto and others suggest the faculty and administration help address the situation and educate students in an  effort to decrease tensions.

  “I think we should stop sweeping things under the rug, this should be brought out in the open and addressed,” Krishnaraj said. “Kids and staff should be educated (about racism) a little more.”

  Some students said they think direct confrontation is necessary if anyone ever witnesses the use of a racial slur.

  “First of all, I would ask them why they feel the need to use (a racial slur),” Fernandez said. “Most of the time when they are confronted with why are they using it, they say, ‘why not?’”

  The students who make the microaggressions or small racial slurs often seem unaware they did anything wrong. This highlights the necessity of educating students on the issue of race.

 There is no simple way to curb the issue of racism and prejudice on campus, but there are things that students and faculty alike can do to help GBHS become more tolerant.

  “It takes time,” Dell’Orto said. “And we’ve got to talk about it.”