Silent racism

Frida Montalvo, Lead-Editor

     Sometimes when a picture has too much going on in the frame, it is hard to see the tiny details. The tiny, tiny imperfections that the viewers admiring it ignore.

     This is how silent racial discrimination happens. It’s easy to imagine racism isn’t a problem in Teton Valley. However, racism presents itself in every corner of our community.

     Our school district is an enormous part of our community. Everyday that students of color walk through the front door, they hear racist comments and see racist behaviour. When it happens it hurts them. It might be a small comment such as “Speak English!” or hearing racial slurs such as the n-word in the hallway.

     Some academic and extracurricular activities favor the dominant race. A recent graduate who has prefered to remain anonymous said there was racial favoritism in sports. Back in middle school, she was a very skilled basketball player who dreamed of playing the sport for a living. Then, when she entered high school, she was lowered to the C-team with other teammates who were Hispanic while her white classmates who tried out advanced to both the Junior Varsity and Varsity team right away. 

     Even as part of the C-team, she wasn’t given any playing time during the game while her white teammates were there for most of it. She tried again her sophomore year. However, she was brought back to the C-team with her same teammates and the white players that were in her same grade made up the Varsity team. After seeing the same pattern as an upperclassman, she realized that the coaches were favoring race rather than skill. She quit. She said, “It completely ruined basketball for me.” She hasn’t played since.

     Students who are different racially have experienced racism throughout their lives, but so have their parents out in the community. While shopping either locally or outside the valley, people speaking their native language receive stares from white people around them. When they are stared at, they are suddenly aware of what those stares mean. “Speak English. You’re in America.” Some of these people are not fluent in English and are more comfortable speaking their native tongue, yet they receive stares that judge them and make them feel uncomfortable when they have a right to speak any language they want.

     Maybe the people who stare don’t mean to be racist, but they still were taken that way by the people. It is understandable that some people are not educated on what might be racist. That’s why it is important to educate everyone in the community about the subject. 

     Racism affects everyone. It is important to be kind to one another and accept everyone’s differences. This is the only way we can become a healthy community.