Today, I want to talk about our big journalism project. This year, our topic is on race. We all chose different angles to write articles on and I wanted mine to be about how kids are influenced to be able to form opinions on race and racial issues. I learned that kids can be influenced through their parents, social media platforms, and how diverse their school environment is.
I wanted to get into this topic after an incident that happened at my homeschool. There was an English teacher who wanted to give her class an assignment regarding white privilege (white privilege is defined as “The societal privilege that benefits white people over non-white people, particularly if they are otherwise under the same social, political, or economic circumstances”) and how we as white people may not see it. As a predominantly white school with almost no diversity or experience with people of color, you can probably guess what happened. Kids freaked out and sent photos to their parents and the parents blew it up on social media, saying that this was “oppressing white kids,” “racist,” and, “indoctrinating our kids.”
Our school ended up having a board meeting over whether the assignment was okay, and two of my fellow writers and I attended the meeting where parents could air their concerns. We thought it was going to go better than we thought until about twenty people showed up with no masks and signs, saying, “Education not Indoctrination” and “We stand with [insert kid’s name who literally had no part of the assignment, he just wanted to get his entire family to support his whiteness I guess?]” Even as a white person, I was incredibly uncomfortable in this situation, so I cannot imagine how my fellow writer and friend, who is a black man, felt.
The board meeting went how I originally thought it was going to go. A bunch of white people complaining about having to own up to their privilege. The next day at school, kids were still talking about it, even though almost all of them weren’t there. I mostly listened, because that is what a good journalist would do, and oh, my god. These people were not only incredibly racist with what they were saying, but it was outrageous stuff as well. (One person said that “black privilege exists because black people have different DNA that makes them better at sports, so they dominate sports more.”) I’ll leave this here for you to ponder. For the person that said that, however, and you know who you are, here is an article stating why that is simply untrue.
This entire event got me thinking, “Where do these kids get their ideas from?” and “Why do they think these weird racial conspiracies?” I decided to make that my journalism angle and figure out what influences these kids to form their opinions on aspects like white privilege.
For my journalism article, I have done more research on this topic than I have ever done in my entire life. This topic is so important to me as someone who just wants to be a good ally to People of Color. This is now especially important after the incident at my school and the Black Lives Matter movement being more prevalent than ever. It’s important for kids to know how they are influenced to make decisions so they can recognize that some of their influences can come from the wrong areas. So, if you are in school and you’re reading this, please let your experiences define who you are, not your parents, and not social media. Above all, don’t get your news from Facebook.
Date: March 23, 2021
Hello! My name is Grace and I will be replacing Erin, the last blogger now that she’s gone off to college. I currently attend Mancelona High School as a senior as well as Front Street Writers in the Career-Tech Center in Traverse City.
I’m excited to be able to share my experiences in the classroom and all the opportunities Front Street Writers can offer. But first and foremost, I’d like to give a little background:
I’m going to be completely honest with you so hopefully you future writers out there know. I had absolutely no idea that I wanted to be a writer. I always felt like you had to know that you wanted to be a writer since you were young, like beautiful words should just flow from your brain out onto a paper.
This was most definitely not the case for me.
I am a person that didn’t know they wanted to be a writer until about a quarter of the way through Front Street Writers. I mean, I joined the class because I do enjoy writing, but I didn’t know if I loved it enough to make it a career, and it didn’t help that I thought I would be the worst writer in the class because I couldn’t produce Shakespearean-level writing or any sort of beautiful words in a first draft.
It took me about a week in the class before I realized that not a single person in the class can produce beautiful words on command. Don’t get me wrong, we have incredible writers, but each and every one of us has different strengths and different weaknesses. None of us can produce random metaphors to describe the world in the ways people think we can.
The absolutely incredible flow and structures of words you see in books— went through countless drafts. Every. Single. Book. There is no writer that can push out a book with only one draft because they are just that good of a writer. I recently finished revisions on a poem that I wrote that I now adore. My first draft looked like a third-grader did it in ten minutes, with no knowledge of the assignment because he didn’t pay attention when the teacher was talking.
Then, after getting feedback in one of the peer workshops we do in class, I started to revise. It has taken me months to get this poem up to my satisfaction, and honestly, I’ll probably change it again. It has taken months for me to find the beautiful words that writers you read are meant to produce. Ask any writer. Not a single one of us knows how to produce amazing work in a timely manner and, since we are already here, not one of us knows what we’re doing at any point in time. All we know is that we will figure it out along the way.
So, if you were intimidated to apply for Front Street Writers because you think you aren’t a good enough writer, or that you won’t be as good as others in the class, stop right there. Your writing is good enough to be in the class. This is a learning environment; you aren’t trying to sell something on Shark Tank.
If you’re still here after all this rambling, I really encourage you to think about joining the class, or if you’re a parent, letting your child come to Front Street Writers. If you’re still hesitant, I’ll be here telling you everything you need to know about what we do here.