Scholar: Cultural Insensitivity Calls For More Representation At ASK

September 24, 2018

Opinion

The opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and columnists in this section do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, and viewpoints of The Catalyst.

 

By Zanier Griego

When I started at ASK in the seventh grade, I was excited. I was ready to make new friends and be around people who wanted to learn, and that’s what I got. I have many friends and have learned a lot in the past three years I have been here, but if there was one thing that I could change it would be the lack of cultural representation across the board.

Not once have I looked around our school and seen something that celebrates the different ethnicities of ASK. It surprised me when Black History Month came along and no one was talking about it in our classes or around campus. I know at other schools, there are bulletins boards, after-school clubs, and special events dedicated to celebrating the various cultures that encompass the student body. I know that we go to a STEM school, and our main focuses are the Bio-Medical and Engineering pathways, but it would be nice to look around my school and see diverse cultures being acknowledged.   

As a black female at The ASK Academy, this is important to me because there are some people who don’t go through the same experiences as me. When people reach out and touch my hair without my permission I get upset, not only because they didn’t ask, but because they aren’t respecting my personal space. I also see it as a little culturally insensitive, because most of them are only touching it because it’s different. In eighth grade, I refused to wear my hair in anything other than a ponytail because of this. When I would tell people why this was not okay a lot of them would laugh it off and tell me I’m being ridiculous. I feel if there was more representation of different cultures, this wouldn’t happen as often as it does.

Representation is important in schools because it shows people that they matter. Not only does it make people feel appreciated, but it also exposes people to different cultures around the world, making them more open-minded. If someone is educated about something then they are less likely to say or do things that can be seen as insensitive. Not only will it make the people around you feel more understood, it will also help you in your life. We’re not going to be attending ASK all our lives. We’re going to grow up and some of us are going to move to new places filled with much more diversity, and if you don’t learn something about the people that you are going to be around, there might be a cultural barrier which may cause some unintentional racial bias.

It will make your life much easier if you are aware of the diversity around you.

We as a student body and staff could incorporate these elements into our everyday school life by introducing more writers from different countries and ethnicities into our English classes, talking about historical impacts that minorities have had in history, starting clubs that celebrate the different cultures, or having after school activity’s and celebrations dedicated to Black, Latin, Native American, or Asian culture.

I know that if I saw more of this at ASK, I would feel more welcomed. I’m not saying that this is going to fix it all, but it’s a good place to start.         

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