Tower

Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

Phoenix Jackson, Contributing Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Throughout my four years at Masters I have allowed my white friends to grab my hair and call it “a fluffer,” and I have sat, silent, as white students use the N-word with a casualness reserved for words like “hey.” As a freshman, I grappled with my own identity, trying to fit at a predominantly white school. I straightened my hair, wore Vineyard Vines, and subconsciously added “like’ in between every word I uttered. As I became increasingly uncomfortable with de-racializing myself by conforming to the white norm, I began to not only learn to love my blackness but also learn about it. Since my history class would only teach me about slavery but not discuss the profound racial implications of a white student grabbing my hair, similar to slave masters grabbing their slaves hair for good luck, I would have to make the conscious effort to “get woke,” on my own.

 

After going on this journey to understand issues the black community face, I quickly learned that these problems exist far beyond this institution. However, what makes Masters unique is that it advertises and sells itself to prospective families on Harkness – a philosophy of challenging ideas and thoughts through dialogue. In reality, though, we are taught to speak and debate only within the socially accepted norms of white comfort. But any opinion that does not fit within the realms of this comfort is almost always seen as radical, aggressive or simply, not true. Why bother teaching students to use their voice if often times both the students and the administration in this institution are quick to dismiss our experiences as falsehoods?

 

In a school that teaches students to think and learn through discussion, it is ironic that a dialogue that could lead to an uncomfortable conversation is immediately shut down. A video, created by students, intended to shed light as to the unfortunate and sometimes oppressive experiences of black students was seen by both black and white administration as “angry, aggressive, misinformed and attacking.”  According to the day’s organizer Mr. Cornigans, MLK day at Masters is meant to “celebrate diversity and injustices”. As I sat in the theater to hear students voice their opinions on injustices in and outside of Masters, I was left with nothing more than a profound feeling of indifference.  On a day that is supposed to be about blackness, the response to the video by the administration truly diluted the voices of black students. I couldn’t help but feel as though this day has come to be about everything except Martin Luther King, Jr. January 11th and 12th, were excellent “diversity days” in my eyes. To call them anything more is a disrespect, dismissal, and erasure of Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

With the theme of “See Something, Say Something,” imagine my shock when the school that taught me how to speak up on injustice basically told me to speak a little quieter. I have come to the unfortunate realization that Masters loves to encourage dialogue and challenge normative values. Once the dialogue threatens the brand that Masters profits off of, students are silenced.

 

Is it so wrong and outlandish to be angry, though? And why are we centering those feelings of “attack” as if they are the only feelings that matter? What about those deeply expressed in the video? I came to Masters on the premise that I could speak my truth, feel valued and make a lasting impact. After holding a leadership position in Executive Committee, passing Indigenous People’s Day, being in Gold Key, and sitting on the Community Council, I can confidently say that I was misled. The appealing progressive liberal persona Masters proclaims casts a huge shadow on the truth. In reality, I am writing an article for Tower as my last chance to be heard in this community that has spent four years encouraging my activism while simultaneously silencing me. You will not silence me as I go forth and be a “power for good in the world.”

 

Want to read about other viewpoints on the day and see some photo footage?  Check out our fourth print issue here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

    Features

    HQ app sweeps Masters

  • Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

    Close-up on CAM

    Outspoken hosts an open mic, plans for future with non-members

  • Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

    Blogs

    Why is ability ignored?

  • Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

    Blogs

    ONYX celebrates Black History Month

  • Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

    Showcase

    Eagles, Patriots, set to clash in Minneapolis

  • Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

    Arts & Entertainment

    I, Tonya Movie Review

  • Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

    Features

    Social media linked to multiple adverse psychological effects

  • Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

    Blogs

    Touring Talent spreads joy to Andrus on Hudson

  • Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

    Blogs

    Thought diversity at Masters

  • Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly

    Blogs

    MLK Day celebration creates platform for students

The student-run news site of The Masters School
Letter to the Editor: If you see something, say something– loudly