On Wednesday my school played a suburban school in one of the final rounds of the girl's state basketball tournament. It was an intense game, and (as is typical in highschool basketball) the fans from both sides began yelling insults back and forth.
Guess what the other school was chanting?
"We Speak English!"
(An anti-immigrant motivated cheer) and "Where's your daddy?"
(directed at the African American kids in the crowd, implying that they all have absent fathers).
I was disgusted. It was wasn't just a few "bad apples" that were saying it. Their entire fan section was yelling it in unison. I wonder how the few (very few) kids of color in the other crowd felt as they heard their classmates being so blatantly racist.
There is a lot of hostility between suburban and inner city schools. A few months ago a reporter from our school paper switched places with a reporter from a school about 15 minutes South of us for a day. They observed the similarities and differences and then they each wrote articles about their experience.
Guess what the suburban school had to say about us?
First of all, they plastered a big picture of our "S*@#* High Bans Guns on these Premises" sign on the front page. The reporter proceeded to write pages full of lies and exagerations. She wrote that the man at our front desk can barely speak English. He actually speaks English very well, but has an accent since he's from Ethiopia. Her observation seemed to have an anti-immigrant undertone. Don't people realize that we are a country of immigrants?? I wonder when her family immigrated here, and whether or not her grandparents (or great grandparents) had anyone making fun of their accents.
The reporter also wrote that our school was "dangerous" and that we had 12 fights a day. That was a complete exageration. We have petty little girl fights once in awhile (no where near 12 times a day), but they are never serious, and I have always felt safe at school.
I'm not even going to write about what the rest of the article said. Just think of every sterotype there is about inner-city schools and you'll have a pretty good idea of what she wrote.
All I can say is that I'm so grateful to have grown up in an environment where I could build relationships with people from a broad range of economic, racial, and cultural backgrounds. I'm glad I'm prepared for a world outside of middle class America. I feel sorry for those kids whose ignorance is keeping them from seeing so much of the beauty in this world.