Student voices: We have a race problem.


Alexis Reaves, Staff Writer

recently read an article in the New Yorker about the hotbeds that are Mizzou and Yale. If you happened to miss those screaming headlines, they tell the story of college campuses consumed by debates about political correctness. The author of the New Yorker article proposed that these conversations were but distractions, carefully skirting around the more pertinent, but more dangerous topic: race.

     The same can be said of Blake. As you may have noticed, there’s been a rash of speeches about political correctness, its encroachment, and its perils. I won’t talk about that, because the speeches are not created for their own sake, constructed inside a vacuum. Rather, they’re a direct manifestation of our school’s poor handling of issues surrounding people of color.

     Blake has a race problem. This is blunt statement, but one I find true nonetheless. Like all institutions, this school functions as a microcosm of society, or rather, a specific cross-section of it. Given that we attend a Midwestern prep school, it shouldn’t come as a shock that Blake is mostly composed of white students. So, it also isn’t far-fetched to assume that the general student body might struggle with concepts that affect racial minorities.

     I don’t mean to imply that Blake is a bastion of bigoted elitists. Far from it: my peers seem to be a relatively tolerant group of people who would never purposely do harm. However, that doesn’t mean they’re infallible.

     By nature, bubbles are transparent, and you’d assume that anyone living inside of one would be able to perceive their surroundings. My time here has taught me otherwise. Some of my classmates are so divorced from the reality that students of color face, so divorced from empathizing with us, that they act in ways they don’t realize are hurtful.

     The speeches on political correctness are a part of this. You might find it ironic that someone is writing about how offensive these are, but again, my complaint doesn’t lie in their existence. If you’re willing to argue in good faith, then by all means, do it.

     However, so many of my peers are forgetting that this topic isn’t just in the realm of ideology for some of us. We don’t have the luxury of debating about it, then going home and shedding it like a removable layer. Appeals to detached reasoning cannot erase the pain that comes with our experience. Our skin stays with us, and for us, the abstract ideas of these topics are reality.

     So, to my classmates who worry about political correctness, who gripe that our school is too liberal, who live in a society that isn’t actively hostile toward their skin, please remember this. You may fear being called a racist, but I can assure you that fearing actually being subjected to racism is much worse.