The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

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Structural racism may be prevalent in MTHS, community

By Gavin Norley, Hawkeye Staff

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MTHS is full of different groups and people. But one question comes to mind when observing these groups:

Do the students hang out with the people in their groups because of their race?

Think about your race. Now, think about the race of all your friends. Is it diverse or are all of you the same?

According to New York University professor Carl E. James, “society is structured in a way that excludes substantial numbers of people from minority backgrounds from taking part in social institutions.”

Structural racism is a term which refers to racist attitudes within a society.

School is a society and the racism within it is not intentional at all.

Think about the school events you have attended. They seem so normal. However, if most students spend time with students who look similar to themselves, how are relationships formed with anyone who might be different in terms of race? We can’t expect racism to just stop in society if we don’t learn how to coexist with other races.

Racism is embedded in culture but there are some things teachers can do to help prevent it from spreading.

Psychology teacher Kimberly Nelson said that while caucasian is the predominant race at MTHS, there are still 30 different races and the school shows to be very diverse.

She also said that white students have a better ability to hang out with other races because there are so many of them at MTHS.
“If you’re an obscure race, you will probably hang out with someone that’s just like you. Although race isn’t really the biggest factor, it can be a factor in who people choose to hang out with,” she said.

Nelson also brought up that white students being friends with white people isn’t racist and that the concept of structural racism does exist in society but the school is trying to fight it.

In 2012, MTHS received a big grant to get non-traditional students in AP programs, as for a long time the only races that would get into those programs were white and Asian.

She ended by saying that “the best thing to do is talk about it. When we as people acknowledge these kinds of things, people think it’s racist.”

She said something that should resonate with a lot of people and was a very meaningful statement to close her argument.

“Asking about different cultures and trying to understand society is not racist, it is an opportunity to learn,” Nelson said.

If you hang out with people of the same race it does not make you racist but you should be conscious of the decisions you make in life and wonder if race is a factor in any of those decisions.

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The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.
Structural racism may be prevalent in MTHS, community