When was the last time someone discriminated you in area where you supposed to feel safe and comfortable? Being a 19-year-old student who just last year graduated high school, I have experienced discrimination and stereotypes within many years of my education. Coming from a Mexican background, there have been many standards for me and my siblings and they have taken a huge toll on me particularly. Discrimination and stereotypes targeting students can affect a student’s education greatly and it must be reduced and or stopped immediately. Whether it be discrimination based on race, gender, cultural or sexual orientation, it is never okay for students to harass others. The quote, “Moral development is an important part of the socialization process,” is the perfect idea that everyone in this world does not take into consideration which leads to people acting out of the norms and common sense. Moral development starts within a young age but when it does not fix within the youth, it can cause problems such as discrimination and the creation and continuation of stereotypes.
To begin, Mexican American students just like others are less human when joining a school as a minority. Three years ago, I transferred schools from Cesar Chavez Learning Academies to Lancaster High School. A school that was predominately Africans Americans and White. The first day of school was the worst, I was stared and pointed at by many of the students both in and out of class. I felt unsafe in this community and I had no other options but to adapt to this new community of students. I couldn’t wait to go home and feel safe for the last hours of the day. The eight hours at this school were the worst hours of the day and I just dread the moment the last bell would sound to head home at last. This discrimination I was receiving was such a horrible feeling. The harassment students gave me had such a big impact on me and my grades. Students in class would quietly talk within groups and stare or make faces. I couldn’t focus in class so listening to the teacher and writing notes as the class went by was very difficult. When test days would come by, I had very little notes to study the past days, so my grades dropped from As and Bs to Cs almost failing. The discrimination some students had towards me affected me school wise and mentally. I even noticed students that were being suspended were also students being discriminated. That was just in that school specifically but when it comes to, “Black students are arrested more and are referred to law enforcement more. The disparities in punishment even reach to black students with disabilities, who are more likely to receive out-of-school suspensions or to be subjected to mechanical restraint than their white peers, “I knew I had to make change within myself so that the school wouldn’t lead into the same direction. I realized one I received my first F in a class, it was the time to help myself and others. I had created a club within the school with the main goal of attracting other students that also felt discriminated and those who were just allies and wished to help. We had days where we would study, decided on what book to read for the week or two then come back and discuss and even just have good time after school to cheer one another up. I ultimately changed the lives not only of myself but the lives of other students as well. I noticed my grades starting to raise and students within the club also started raising their grades
Another example I encountered within the same community is the various stereotypes received throughout the day. Stereotypes to me specifically doesn’t affect me as much as discrimination but there’s some possibility other students have the opposite belief. Before I transferred, I had given the school my past transcript which lead them to continue my advanced placement in math. The day I stepped foot into the class and the teacher started going through roll call, I realized I was the only Sophomore in the class. An article regarding racial inequality, “A quarter of the schools with the highest percentage of black and Latino students did not offer Algebra II,” shows how even schools are treating students with less expectations. Discriminating them by not allowing classes that help further their education why the neighboring school does offer these classes. I quickly started received the same comments almost regularly, but the discrimination affected me more. The stereotype that Mexican American students are as talented in school and not as talented in mathematics specifically was something I wasn’t aware if. That school year I learned a lot about myself and the community I was surrounded by. This incident was difficult to overcome. As the class went on for the year, I didn’t ask for help from other students because I knew they had zero interest in helping me. The last day of the year, I received my grades and while students in the class asked about my final grade, they realized what they were saying wasn’t true. Stereotypes are something I’ve learned to overcome silently. As I transferred back to Chavez, I took an opportunity to become a teacher assistant and help the only advanced placed calculus class filled with Mexican American students. I knew that the only way to overcome stereotypes was by providing them wrong. Introduction to Sociology, “Social interaction provides the means via which we gradually become able to see ourselves through the eyes of others, and how we learn who we are and how we fit into the world around us,” helped me realized how helping others around me really change the communities small or big.
The non-profit organization, The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), devotes it time in helping many communities receiving racism or discrimination internationally. Having partners around the world such as in North America, Latin America, Asia and Europe plays such an important role in helping as many people as possible. The goals for this organization is to advocate for people who are specifically being discriminated within the work force, minorities not being fully given their human rights and, a huge problem in the community today, racial discrimination within the administration of justice. One way the organization can improve is opening to more than discrimination of mainly work force. Adding in schools or some form for the youth specifically that aren’t in the work force just yet can ultimately lead to helping thousands more. Offering programs such as sending speakers to various schools and have them talk about these topics can be a huge help to not only inform students on these problems but start to change the mindset of how students treat one another. Just graduating high school, I’ve had school gathering where speakers would talk to the whole class and it did have an impact on us all. Probably the greatest impact of them all. Students really take into consideration and think about what they are being told by many non-profit organizations. This lead to students wanting to continue their study in social issues and can then lead to there being more leaders within these communities.
Discrimination students receive during school and the stereotypes that go around within some schools really do affect students in various ways. These topics alongside with others in schools need to be taken care of coming from a student who went through a year of both. Not only will counselors help to a certain extent but organizations talking to schools impacts the hearts and minds of many more students at once. Students shouldn’t have to go through incidents like I did alone nor, should they treat others any differently. Discrimination and stereotypes play a huge rule on graduation rates and college enrollments which not only happens with students as a minority a community but others as well. I made a change within that community specifically, but I want to see others also take a step within the same route and help more students than the amount I was able to.
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