Stand Up, Speak Up & Raise Your Flag!
After hosting a poorly attended Black History Month Assembly this year at Washington Campus, Dr. Charmaine Harris wondered how interested the student body and staff were concerning Black History Month and other cultural celebrations. By conducting a survey of nearly 400 students at both campuses, this reporter hopes to have answered her question.
Following are the results of our survey…
1. Do you feel your culture is being celebrated at WHS?
A. YES: 18% B. NO: 30% C. NOT ENOUGH: 24%
D. I DON’T CARE IF IT IS OR NOT: 28%
2. Which culture do you feel is celebrated the least at WHS?
A. White: 10% C. Black: 11% D. Hispanic: 19% E. Asian: 23%
F. Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander: 20% G. American Indian: 17%
3. Which culture do you feel is celebrated the most at WHS?
A. White: 23% C. Black: 30% D. Hispanic: 24% E. Asian: 20%
F. Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander: 2% G. American Indian: 1%
4. How do you feel these cultures should be celebrated at WHS? CIRCLE AS MANY AS YOU WANT!
A. Music Programs: 17% B. Parades: 30% C. Story Time: 8% D. Assemblies: 7% E. Food fair: 1%
F. Fashion shows: 17% G. Dances: 20%
As the results stand, the majority of students surveyed feel as though their cultures are not being celebrated. Whose job do you think it is to make sure Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islanders are being celebrated enough? Well, there seem to be two different opinions concerning this matter.
“We, as the adults, need to make sure all students feel valuable in this environment,” Dr. Harris says. Dr. Harris feels that if the adults (teachers and administrators) instill this information about all cultures into students’ minds, then they will more easily navigate the world on their own. Afterall, “Just because I’m not Black doesn’t mean I can’t benefit from Black History Month,” she said, expressing something someone might say who is of a different race. As the survey results above show, Black culture is nevertheless perceived to be celebrated the most of all cultures.
WHS Principal Riegler seems to feel slightly differently about cultural celebrations. He feels that it is the job of the students. “If there are any groups that want to celebrate, they should come forward,” were his exact words. With strong feelings he later said, “I have not had anyone come to me directly, and say we really want to celebrate a specific culture. However, I encourage them to do so.” So if there is something that you would like to see done or celebrated, Principal Riegler invites you to speak up.
Although these two administrators seem to have two different approaches, they agree on what seems to be the most important part. They both agree that participation in any cultural celebration that is going on should be voluntary, not mandatory, for all students. They also agree that if students feel as though their culture is not being celebrated, then those students have the right to get involved and make a celebration happen. Asians, who have been voted as the least celebrated at WHS, have their own club. Confirming what Dr. Harris said earlier, not all the students who are in the Asian Club are Asian, still all benefit from it.
Since 54% of the students surveyed feel that their culture is not being celebrated enough or at all, perhaps they can step forward to help plan dances or parades celebrating their culture. The opportunity seems to be available for students to stand up, speak up, and raise their flags!