Exposure Therapy: Zharia

Exposure Therapy: Zharia

Zharia Hobbs, Sophomore

     Eden Prairie High School has a high reputation that they like to uphold. We’re a respectable, kind, diverse, welcoming school. But that’s not always the case for most minority students here. Minority students are treated differently than white students.

     People tend to migrate to where they’re comfortable. Such as we have “walls” like the white wall, black wall, Somali wall, etc. Personally I have seen a lot of discrimination and inequality here not just with me but other students as well. Don’t get me wrong, this is a wonderful school for academics but everything else isn’t necessarily in order.

     Since birth I’ve identified as African American and from a young age, I realized what that meant in America and the history behind my people. I’ve always felt “different” or “out of place” around people who don’t look like me, especially white people, but I’ve never been physically attacked for my race or anything like that. However, I have been called derogatory terms such as “nigger,” “nigga”, “Mulatto”, etc. by students in the past, and even now. I have also heard slavery and segregation jokes made by my peers.

     I usually try to not let these insults affect my well being on the outside, but on the inside, it hurts because I know it’s something I cannot change about myself. I understand that it’s something my peers will never understand because they are not, and never will be, black in America.

     During my freshman year, there was an incident of ironic racism I experienced. One of my groups of friends which were mainly black got into an altercation with a white guy. The white guy yelled the N-word and other things at us and my friend got very upset about it and threatened to fight him. The white guy got scared and of course, reported what happened to our school. At first, they conducted an “investigation”, and ended up expelling my friend for “threatening students” and the white guy got no punishment for the derogatory and offensive things he said to us. 

     A lot of my friend group was highly upset that the white guy got no punishment at all. A  lot of them thought it was because he was white, had rich parents or was the star of the varsity soccer team. Some of my friends and I even went to the Student Center South and wanted to have a meeting with Mr. Virgin about this because we didn’t think it was fair for the other student to not get any punishments and for my friend to get expelled over words. As I said earlier, it was ironic that a white guy can call us the N-word and all these things, but when our friend said he was going to fight him they put all the punishment on the black kid. Both were just words exchanged, but the black kid got all the punishment and the white kid was left with none.

     However, that’s just one incident of many that I have encountered. There have been all sorts of unfair situations around Eden Prairie relating to race. But that’s just the culture around Eden Prairie. We have some minority staff but there mainly white people. Considering that the vast majority of the staff here are white, considering that the vast majority of the staff is white, how can we expect issues around race to be handed and treated fairly?