We must strive to be anti-racist

During+a+tumultuous+summer%2C+hundreds+gathered+at+Breezewald+Park+to+honor+the+memory+of+George+Floyd+and+show+support+for+the+Black+Lives+Matter+movement.+Rallies+like+this+one%2C+honoring+the+movement+and+educating+people+on+the+importance+of+the+movement%2C+are+only+the+first+step+towards+greater+equality.

Photo by Adam Monnette

During a tumultuous summer, hundreds gathered at Breezewald Park to honor the memory of George Floyd and show support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Rallies like this one, honoring the movement and educating people on the importance of the movement, are only the first step towards greater equality.

Max Feldman, Magazine Editor-in-Chief

With an enormous social movement for Black lives gaining traction across the country, many communities, including LZ, have been forced to look further into the issue of racism. Though the social movement that arose in the summer continues to stay relevant, the Bear Facts Student Media staff believes that more lasting change must come from these protests. Instagram stories, one or two peaceful gatherings in support, and signage for the Black Lives Matter movement are all helpful ways of showing support, but our community must do more. Rather than simply glazing over a movement that has shaken the core of the country, our community must pop its bubble and reflect on ways to make progress against discrimination.

Our staff believes that change starts with a conversation. To truly begin to understand the challenges minorities in our community face, people must have discussions with others who come from different cultural backgrounds. Our community has to get comfortable being uncomfortable, we have to be willing to have conversations about these microaggressions and listen to those who have experienced racism in Lake Zurich. We need to do better to make Lake Zurich a safe and nourishing environment for all skin colors. 

Our staff has experienced racist comments and hurtful actions both in school and the community, and while these may have been unintentional, the staff believes that action to prevent these microaggressions from happening is crucial. Many students of different races on our staff and in the community have experienced too many hateful, ignorant comments. The staff believes this is not a result of hatred from the community, but a lack of education and discussion. The Lake Zurich community remains within a bubble maintained by safety, wealth, and resources. Most students in Lake Zurich are granted immunity from issues of systemic racism, which makes it nearly impossible to gain a true understanding of the racial disparities in the country. This natural protection has led to ignorance: students say hurtful slurs, not thinking of their historical significance. Students grow up believing that the Civil Rights Movement and Martin Luther King Jr. caused racism and discrimination to disappear. While our education system may emphasize the injustices of the past, the continuing mistreatment of Black Americans today is excluded from the curriculum. History classes often tell a story of civil rights movements fighting for equality and succeeding. But many community members, especially in our generation, do not understand that our society still has a long way to go to reach true equality. To better our society for all races, we must reach a greater understanding of the prejudices that plague our country today.

This lasting issue of prejudice must be included in a student’s education, and the school needs to make this change by updating the curriculum. Literature, history, and social science classes are dominated by European based documents and learning, causing many students to remain ignorant of the culture and background of minorities. With pages of history left untold, the struggles and triumphs of great civilizations around the world remain in the darkness. With pain and suffering in the inner cities persisting today, the relevant repercussions of policies like redlining, a discriminatory policy that puts resources out of reach for residents of certain areas because of their race, and over-policing remain undiscussed. With so much culture and so many social issues unexplored, the staff believes there is a lot of potential for people in our community to reach a deeper understanding of minorities. LZHS must re-evaluate its viewpoints in the context of the entire world, and offer more classes that focus on other races. The staff believes the community must revise the white-washed lens that it has always worn.

While the staff understands that social and racial justice may be somewhat controversial topics, we still believe the school must implement curricular changes so that students have a greater knowledge of other races and cultures. The school needs to shed light on the Black Lives Matter movement in our community and advocate for equality of all races. Learning about racial issues from teachers holds real weight, and while it is important to learn from peers, learning about these social problems in school helps prevent students from making insensitive comments.  Students must be well aware of what is happening around the world, and Instagram posts or online activism are great ways to stay aware of societal issues, but this effort is not as widespread and effective as it needs to be. This era calls for real action and real structural change, and our community must accept its role in making that change.