Nature vs.Nurture: Racism?

Growing up I was very fortunate that I was able to live in such an accepting household and that I attended the most diverse school in Moose Jaw. My elementary school took great pride in all of the students and often boasted about how diverse we were. My school had children from around the world attend and it is by far the best experience I’ve had. I was exposed to almost every culture from all around the world and learned about their beliefs, ate new foods and tried their dances. My classmates shared their background and I was able to share mine. I felt accepted, loved and educated.

As a university student studying to become a teacher, it is upsetting to me that I was introduced to racism at school. School was the place I was, and my classmates were racialized. When I was in elementary school I didn’t understand why my school had such a bad reputation. I absolutely loved school, I learned a lot and everyone was friendly. So why did every other school hate us? Why were we called “The Poor Kid School” or “The Ghetto School” and even “The Black Kid School”? I remember feeling so angry about these words and I felt extremely offended by them. I didn’t realize until I got older that these children were taught these racist sayings.

High school was even worse than my elementary school experience with racism. All of my friends attended a different high school that is known for multiculturalism whereas I attended a school that was known for the shop classes. I went from a diverse school to a new school that was predominantly white. I never would’ve thought that in today’s day and age racism would still be a thing, let alone something that was humorous to others. By now I’ve heard absolutely every insult a native women could hear and every stereotype on the face of the planet. My classmates would comment racist phrases on my social media platforms and people I called my friends would say offensive jokes directly to my face. I never thought that my skin colour would affect my relationship with other people, and never in a million years would I have thought it would affect the way people would treat my best friend.

I realized that I was racialized the moment I was separated from my elementary school friends. I learned very quickly that racism is something I had to get used to although I know I shouldn’t have to. I realized that not everyone has such an open mind and many people haven’t had the opportunity I had as a child. I think children learn discrimination from the society we live in. I strongly believe that children are taught to be racist because I don’t think anyone is born racist. I also believe that these values are instilled in people because of the society we live in.

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