An honest conversation about Race, Division, and Hope for the future by Piedmont Middle School Leadership Students
In preparation for the the student council's Black History Month event, Piedmont IB's 8th grade Leadership Class gathered last December to discuss their identity, history, goals, frustrations, and optimism for our future.
The silence, laughter and nods of understanding at today's live screening of this video speak volumes about the way the student's message connected with the entire Piedmont community.
Thanks to their teacher, Mr. Reddig, as well as Ms. Beckham and Mr. Chandler, but most thanks of all for the Leadership team for sharing with all of and getting an important conversation started.
Their words are so important for all of us I typed out a full transcript:
It showed me that no matter who you are, you can do anything.
I now understand that nobody's perfect and nobody will ever be anything close to perfect so I shouldn't view other people and judge them by the way they act because we're all different in some ways.
I've had to change my view on the world because I feel like I've been discriminated a lot of times and I just had to stop feeling sorry for myself and start trying to educate people.
We can't have unity and we can't have peace until we get rid of selfishness and greed. The world is not just about us, it's making a difference and trying to impact others.
When I grow up I want to have my own dance studio, for patients -like children that are going through treatment or having a hard time. And it should be like a very... a comforting environment where they can like just relax and , yeah, I just want to help kids in the hospital.
I would open a shelter where the homeless can come and have a healthy environment to grow and get job experience. I would want to give back to the elderly because the older people will ultimately the people who have helped us and taught us the skills we needed to achieve that level.
My grandad, he's like really important in my family in general because my mom's mom died when she was like 14 years old and he was like in world war two, he didn't have that much education growing up because, yeah, he's black. And, um, he raised my mom and, like, 8 other kids by hmself.
African Americans have fought so much to feel equal in America and they still don't feel equal to others just because of what's been going around on the internet and social media and what's on the news these days.
I read comments on news articles and YouTube videos and stuff, and, uh, especially when it's like political related there's some just horrible things that people can say and, like, people are saying it behind a shield of anonymity, but I know like they're people like me, except like 10 years older, 20 years older and it just shocks me because I know, like, they wouldn't say that to some of these people in person and I just feel disappointed that there are people like that. Like, not even just white people, just people in general.
Because I am so dark, some people say....I used to get bullied for my skin color a lot I used to hate and wish I was some other color but now I've learned that I like my skin color."
I have a little brother, his name is Judah, he's light skinned and he, like, loves gloating that in my face even though he's only 7. So every time I see him, every time I do something wrong to him he's always like "You dumb dark skin" and, like,.um, The fact that he thinks that and he's only 7 years old that he's that racially segregated to think that. Im his blood brother and he still thinks that I'm lesser than him because he's a lighter skin tone than me, that's, that makes me sad to know that.
I'm American, Jamaican and European, African and Asian but like I say "mixed" because, like, the main part of me is white and black and like that's what people see in me they don't see no Jamaican or European or anything like that, they just see white and black.
What does that mean to you, being mixed?
I mean I like it, I guess, because, like, there's a lot of different types of people in my family and like there's different types of things that go on in my family and it's not just like the same thing.
What don't you like about it?
Uh, people, sometimes people don't believe me when I say what I am am and I'm just like, "Why don't you believe me, I'm not going to lie about my race"
My mom's white and my dad's black and that's just kind of what it is. Like when I first came to Piedmont I used to say I was biracial and then people said "why do you say that, you're mixed"and I didn't really get them but...
So why did you fall for it and now you just say it?To avoid controversy?
How do you feel about being mixed?
I don't like it.
Well, I feel like it's kind of like, you know, um, being white people think that you have privileges, which you do have, it's just that like over time so many people judge you for having them or not using them to the best of their ability. And I don't like, Like I feel like people have certain expectations for me like I have to pick one side or something and I don't think that's very fair.
There's some people who, like are so ignorant that they're trying to like just wall everyone off from like meeting new people and I don't understand why you just trying to, why you're trying to separate yourself from all these new types of people that you could meet and learn from.
The only thing that can stop a human being from being a human being is thinking others are less than them.
We should celebrate Black History Month because we should just honor those who, those African Americans that have done positive in the world.
Misty Copeland inspires me. She was one of the first African American ballerinas to join a predominantly white ballet company and just to know that she want through all these obstacles and life altering events, it makes me want to work harder to become... not become exactly who she is but become a inspiration to others.
My sister graduated from UNC Greensboro and that was a very proud time in my life and for our family because she was...Sadly to say, she was the first person in our family to graduate from college and so that was a very proud moment for me, knowing that I now have that role model in my life.
My mother. Because she's very inspirational and hard-working. Even at her hardest times, she would still make sure we had food on the table, clothes, and everything that we want.
My mom. because she's helped me throughout my life and she's taught me a lot that I know like manners and stuff.
I love my grandma.
I'm Somalian-I'm a mixed person- I'm African American-I'm African-American I'm African American-I am a human Belng from the Phillipines, African American, Caucasian, African American, I'm white, I'm black, I'm African-American, Native American, Somali, I'm African-American, I'm mixed, I'm a human being, I'm Malasian.
I'm optimistic about the future of not only African-Americans but all other races in America because I feel like anyone can change, and despite what's going on with all this hate and intolerance and prejudice and stereotypes, etc, there is still hope because the world hasn't ended yet and there's still a chance for everyone to change and to be more accepting of everyone.
I'm optimistic about the future of all races actually because I know that there are more people like us out there that just want to help people and that are just waiting to say their part and just be kind and loving to everyone else around the world and I feel like there're a lot of people like that that are just waiting to have somebody to talk to so I'm optimistic that those people will come out and just be great leaders.
We should celebrate our heritage regardless of when people say we should, we should celebrate it all year round.
Celebrating Piedmont : a blog of Happy Happenings
"Celebrating Piedmont" logs only a small fraction of the learning magic the teachers of CMS' Piedmont Middle School, an IB World School. create daily. In that sense, it is authored by all the staff and students of Piedmont. It is curated by Ms. Gurthie who can be reached at the icons above. She'll be happy to brag about Piedmont's teachers and students any chance she gets! Please note this blog has only just begun and we have so much to show off! Come back again soon!