Acts of hatred continue at Jackson-Reed

Chris Velasquez, Contributor

It’s sad to see that there is a clear double-standard in the way that we as a community face hate speech at our school. Unfortunately, the recent confrontation between a student and teacher both using slurs seems to be the event that will bring light to an issue that has been going on for entirely too long. 

As someone who’s been called the f-slur in the halls, watching a video in which the word was used within a classroom at this school is hurtful, but not surprising. Yes, the teacher was in the wrong for using the n-word and actions need to be taken in response, but we shouldn’t overlook the hateful actions of the student. 

“The teacher should understand the weight of the n-slur” is something I’ve been hearing a lot, but for me it begs the question, does the student, or do we as a community, understand the weight of the f-slur?

We are turning this into a very Black or white issue when it is actually quite complex. The most upsetting part of this situation is that this is a clear representation of our school and still we have yet to do anything meaningful to change or even address it. 

Looking at this issue as something more than a student-teacher confrontation, I can’t help but feel like as a community we have created an environment that tolerates hateful behavior. Using slurs and derogatory terms, drawing swastikas in the bathrooms, and illustrating hate speech have all become commonplace at Jackson-Reed, and we have seen little to no progress made towards changing that. 

When it comes to these issues, if we truly want to create the safe space that we try so hard to achieve, we should face them head on with the same energy and motivation as we do for any other problems present at Jackson-Reed. We claim to have no tolerance for hate, yet there are no consequences for the casual bigotry that we encounter on a daily basis. 

At the end of the day, both the teacher and the student were in the wrong and I hope that as a community we can move forward while holding ourselves accountable for these incidents and the role that we all play in allowing them to happen. 

As summer break approaches, I hope that we can reflect on our school’s normalized use of slurs and return next school year with a better understanding of the severity of hate speech. Realistically, our school can only do so much (and will most likely do quite little), so we’ll have to take this into our own hands and hold each other accountable for our actions. We’ve got a long way to go to reach a real place with no hate, so let’s continue moving forward in every way we can. •