By: Cindy Chen
A bubble exists when people are surrounded by beliefs they generally agree with while being sheltered from opposing perspectives. These types of “bubbles” can distort people’s understanding of the world and hamper their ability to empathize with those who are different. Although invisible, the bubble has a dominant presence in JCHS.
It is no secret that JCHS is not a diverse school in terms of race. The majority of the student body is white and while that is not inherently bad, it does pose some problems for cultural understanding. It becomes less intimidating for a student to poke fun at another person’s culture when they are in the minority. Consider this: if a person of an ethnic minority took offense to a comment made about their culture, would they not look like they are being overdramatic if everyone around them considered it a joke? A lack of diversity breeds ignorance and fosters an environment where racist or racially insensitive comments can be made.
There is no denying that society has progressed tremendously, but while all races are equal in theory, that is not the case in real life. Under Trump’s adminstration, racism has blossomed with comments made about Mexican rapists and Muslim terrorists crossing U.S. borders. While his racist tweets have offended many, the President remains unconcerned about his political stance because “many people agree” (Trump).
Perhaps it’s due to my own naivety, but I did not expect a JCHS student to blatantly express that they are one of the many people who agree with Trump. When I heard this student announce that they were a “Republican” and saw them side eye a Hispanic girl that was sitting next to them, my mind immediately wanted to assume the worst, however I just told myself that surely someone would know better than to make a comment like that. Unfortunately, I was wrong and the situation took a turn for the worse. This student proceeded to boldly claim that Hispanic people “needed to learn how to speak English” and that they should “go back to their own country”. To add on to my horror, someone else agreed. When called out for the apparent racism, the student was
quick to deny it, citing her Spanish roots as justification for the comments that were made. At first, it was absurd to me that this student did not understand the gravity of her comments, but the more I thought about it, I realized that it was probably the first time that someone had blatantly labeled them as a “racist,” and the sad truth is that they probably weren’t expecting anyone to stand up. People make racist remarks when they’ve become so used to the fact that people won’t find it offensive, which is usually the case in a white dominated society. It would have been easy to be the bystander, and maybe someone else would have thought of speaking up as not worth the trouble, since they would not have taken personal offense to what was being said.
When people do not encounter challenges to their viewpoints, their views become normalized and that is exactly the kind of domain the “bubble” helps to create. It is the environment that exists in JCHS, as well as countless other schools in the nation. Although the racial diversity of schools cannot be changed overnight, it is important for people to rid themselves of fear of talking about racism. Do not be afraid to call someone out even if it is a loved one or a friend. By doing so, you are no longer someone that is trapped inside the bubble.