This week I had three interviews, answered some of my questions that I posted last week, and learned a lot.
On Monday, I met with Mrs. Nonez. She’s been at DA for nine years, and she told me that now it’s a lot more racially diverse and that politics is much more of a divisive issue. However, she said something that hasn’t really changed is the fact that we don’t have a true middle class. Specifically, she noted that we have always had both ends of the economic spectrum at our school, but just not really an in between. Something else that she mentioned is that a lot of minority groups have mentioned to her that they feel “alone” when they are in all-white classroom settings. They feel like people do not want to work with them or be partners for group projects. Keep note of this for later in this post!
On Wednesday, I met with Mr. Engebretsen. He’s been working at the school since 1981, so he’s witnessed a lot of DA’s progression. I talked to him specifically about athletics at DA, and he said that during the time he’s been here he’s always felt that there was equal emphasis on boys and girls teams. Although he did say that when he started working as Athletic Director, there weren’t as many women ADs as there are today. Additionally, he said that in his early years during some baseball and basketball games that people at other schools would make racially-charged remarks towards some DA players.
Throughout the course of the week, I met with the leaders of the black affinity group, Jewish affinity group, and one of the leaders of the Asian affinity group. They all said that at school the biggest form of prejudice they see is “jokes” being made from student to student. They also said that sometimes a teacher may not do anything to stop the joke or correct the students. A point of continuity between this interview and my interview with Mrs. Nonez was that the black and Asian affinity group leaders all said that they sometimes feel as though people don’t want to work with them and think they’re not smart or good enough. An example they provided is when picking group partners, people have said “Let’s not have them in my group they won’t do the work.” They all said that they loved their affinity group and thought their affinity groups provided a great safe space, but they also said that affinity groups are unfortunately stigmatized and sometimes not many people show up to meetings.
Here are some new points of interests:
- Why are affinity groups stigmatized?
- Why do people think that certain people can’t do the work or aren’t smart enough?
- I mentioned this last week, but I’d like to learn more about socioeconomic diversity and how that’s handled.
Next week, I plan on conducting more interviews with teachers, affinity group leaders, and DA families.
Thanks for reading!