In Their Own Voices: Black and Hispanic Students – Thrown Against A Sharp White Background

Written on 12 February 2015, 08:29pm under Homegrown

I do not always feel colored. Even now I often achieve the unconscious Zora of Eatonville before the Hegira. I feel most colored when I am thrown against a sharp white background.
— How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston

Bethesda Chevy Chase High School is in Montgomery County, Maryland – a suburb of Washington, D.C. In this video, Black and Hispanic students share the painful struggles of being a student of color in schools where they are thrown against a sharp white background. Where they must dodge the daily indignities of racial microaggressions – a fancy word for insults, rudeness and insensitivity that demeans a person’s racial identity or heritage.

That children’s saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” Lies. All lies. These students show in heartbreaking and vivid detail how deeply words can cut. And what are left behind are the memories and scars that form from racially-charged words and incidents.

These young people are brave to speak their truth to “…give voice to those who suffer from ill perceptions” and “expose the harm of racial stereotypes in high school as well as bring awareness to the achievement gap.” Be brave enough to listen and care. And courageous enough to act on what you hear.


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