My Exposure to Race and Social Media

As a high school student, I have been exposed to several instances of racism in and out of school. With this time and era, there are so many different views that individuals have as well as several means of communicating these views. With the changes in laws in our society and advances in technology, my outlook on race has changed drastically.

When I first came to Joliet West High School, one of the first cases of stereotypes I was faced with was based on the middle school we previously came from. As a student’s coming from Troy Middle School, it was assumed that we were snobby, better off, individuals. This was solely based on the fact that our middle school was located in Plainfield which is a city people see as a wealthy area. Additionally there were other students coming from Gompers, and Hufford that were treated as though they were underprivileged simply because people classify the Joliet area as “ghetto” compared to other cities. Not only did the particular school we attended affect how we were viewed, but how we dressed, spoke, and acted. Immediately based upon these things, even before knowing each other completely, we were classified into groups. Seeing my peers being placed into categories just because of the school they attended was very eye opening for me. A specific occurrence of racism at school was a normal day when I was walking to my Algebra 2 class 7th period. As I was walking, I heard a group of students talking and joking around in the hall near my class. While walking into class I hear one of the guys refer to another student as “such a Mexican”. I don’t know the full context of the story but just that simple phrase made me realize that we are truly programmed to group certain races together- just because of stereotypes we have embedded into our minds from labels our society has created.

With technology taking over our lives, it becomes more and more common to see vulgar comments and arguments via twitter and other sites. I myself have several social media accounts, and with this comes exposure to multiple instances of racism. Many accounts on Twitter are created merely to share jokes towards specific races. Not only do these accounts poke fun at races, but at anything they can find a “flaw” with. Numerous times I have witnessed arguments via twitter about issues on race or someone simply tweeting a racist remark that spirals into a huge dispute because people tend to use media as a means of voicing their opinion. Whether they do so in a rude manner is not something most are concerned with anymore, which is indeed a sad fact.

With the progresses in technology throughout the years, and the voices of opinions in our society growing stronger, I have been exposed to a new view on the issue of race. I find now, especially due to my exposure to racism in high school, that I have come to not only respect, but not be so quick to judge individuals simply because of the color of their skin.

[Photo, Handshake by AK Rockefeller, licensed under CC BY 2.0]

[Photo, Instagram and other Social Media Apps by Jason Howle, licensed under CC BY 2.0]