Privilege Promotes Problematic Behavior

Jessica Rosiak, News Editor

Sadly, this is yet another La Puma issue that includes an article covering an incident of intolerance on our campus.

This is my 3rd year on the La Puma staff, and I have written numerous articles about disruptive and intolerant acts perpetrated by members of our community.

While unfortunate incidents like these may not be indicative of the broader culture of our school, it is the responsibility of the school’s student news organization to investigate and report them.

Following last year’s instances of vandalism, which included a student defecating on campus restroom floors, I thought I had seen the peak of scandal in my high school experience.

Then, this t-shirt debacle happened.  While there are those that believe the intent was innocent and others who perceive nothing offensive in the design, I’m not one of them.

Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird states it perfectly: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”

Whether the creators of the shirts had malicious intent or not, the fact is, there are those who found the shirts offensive. I applaud the administration for acting quickly in confiscating the shirts, but there is a larger issue that cannot simply be “confiscated” or suspended.

1 tell-tale sign of privilege is when people act without consideration of how their actions impact others.

I’m mortified by the frequency with which some students on our campus use the n-word. Like the design of the shirts, these acts of insensitivity are a troubling symptom of privilege. It is privilege that allows these students to degrade other people with little consequence for themselves.

I believe that we must have training and candid conversations about privilege in environments that are open to teachers, students, coaches, parents, and administrators – not just those who volunteer or wish to learn.

Though I would be happy if La Puma never had to write about an instance of discrimination or injustice again, I know that this will very likely not be the case. All I can do is hope that our articles shed light and change people 1 story at a time.