Opinion: We must work together to end cycle of racism


Brooklyn Northcross ’20

Brooklyn Northcross '20, Supervising Page Editor

“You’re a f—ing n—-r.”

To my ears, these words are filled with agony, devastation and misery. But to some, they can be used so impetuously, without a single thought of pain.

As a person of color in a predominantly white community, I have encountered and witnessed many instances involving racism. The recent video of two white girls using the N-word is simply more evidence of the racism occurring behind closed doors within our community.

Though I have not directly encountered racial slurs to my face in Grosse Pointe, I have witnessed discrimination, microagressions and pure racism at school and in the community. Consequently, when I initially viewed the video, I was not at all surprised.

There have been several similar issues over the past few years, but the problem in my mind is that only a miniscule fraction of racism in Grosse Pointe is noticed and punished. 

The lack of surprise when I viewed the video sprouts from my knowledge and awareness that people spit this derogatory term very often– usually in the comfort of their own homes. Regardless of where racism is committed; it holds the same weight.

There are people of color in Grosse Pointe who experience racism, but nobody notices unless it is published on social media, receiving hundreds of views. It can be difficult to publicly denounce a racist perpetrator in a predominantly white community, but racism is often dismissed and swept under the rug. Creating an environment where minorities feel unsafe, attacked and afraid to speak up. 

This cycle must stop.

Adding this to the list of racial scandals at South, and students continue to make these mistakes. If proper actions were taken after past occurrences, it would not continue to happen. Something needs to change.

Students practice unacceptable behavior, unaware of or unconcerned with how it makes minorities feel, as if being a minority in this community isn’t difficult enough. 

Whether the racism originates from familial beliefs or ignorance, more must be done to protect our students of color. 

It is easy to lose hope in our community. Racism is a deep-rooted issue here– it’s to the point where it is seemingly impossible to weed out this toxic ideology. Yet, losing hope can only set us further back.

I have become accustomed to attending school with people who genuinely believe their race is superior to mine, but that does not mean I do not want that to change.

To end the cycle we must work together to punish people to an effective extent, raise awareness, clearly demonstrate a zero tolerance policy and educate students, staff, families and community members. 

With this method, there may be a future where everyone feels safe, proud and happy to attend Grosse Pointe South.

Read more about the recent video here:

District investigates students using racial slurs in video