Acting on the past

The Tower Editorial Board

Acknowledging the past is the key to understanding the present and shaping the future. The traditions we practice, the institutions with we associate and the languages we speak derive from a time in history where many injustices were committed. As time passes and the culture around us changes, it is our duty to explore our history and ask questions to avoid repeating our mistakes.

We at The Tower believe that students have the power to influence change in Grosse Pointe to break the boundaries of the infamous “bubble” by addressing the unjust actions of our past.

Though we cannot change the foundation upon which Grosse Pointe was created, it is important we look at the events that occured in the past that contributed to changing the community, such as housing discrimination, or redlining.

For example, the Point system was utilized by private detectors to determine which families were worthy of living in Grosse Pointe based on their accent, grammar, race, religion and overall appearance. The religious and racial tensions in Grosse Pointe today can be partly attributed to this system which deliberately removed minorities from the community. For 15 years, this system was used to maintain the typical Grosse Pointe demographic of upper class white families.

But looking around the halls of our school, not everyone fits that traditional mold of the ideal Grosse Pointer. It is essential that we uplift our peers who may hold different beliefs and cultural practices us and encourage them to embrace their authentic selves.

It is not uncommon to hear students detach themselves from the community’s issues. It’s easy to complain when one witnesses injustice but by not actively working to change the inequality we see, it only makes us part of the problem.

Grosse Pointe is often nicknamed a “bubble.” One reason for this name is our collective tendency to feel separate and disconnected from everything else. Dissociating ourselves from our own history blinds us into believing injustices are no longer dominant in our community.

Just over 50 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr delivered his speech “The Other America” in the same walls of our school we stand in today. His words were met with hollers of hatred in our own gym. As an important piece of our school’s history, we should look at this event to understand the strong hostility between blacks and whites in Grosse Pointe

While it is common to have a mindset that encourages forgetting the past and focusing on the future, this ideology only fosters the same ignorance King rejected.

As the history of Grosse Pointe becomes more critically discussed in classroom spaces and extracurricular activities, more students are able to recognize the injustices our community was once built on.

History allows us to understand change. As we compare the differences between the past and present, we can learn what is necessary to create even more changes. We at The Tower believe it is up to us to add to history by choosing acceptance and tolerance, not just in the classrooms but at home, in our neighborhood and among our friends.