By Londy Hernandez
Animo Pat Brown’s student population consists of 99% Hispanic/Latino and 1% Black. Everyday, students are surrounded by the same faces. While our shared Latino culture creates a close knit community and may not be a problem (as argued by many, including Physical Education teacher Mr. Cieply), the truth is that our close knit community comes with future consequences.
Primarily, the lack of diversity at our school highlights the importance of diversity in public places — an acceptance and appreciation for other cultures. While junior David Barreras believes that the lack of diversity at APB is not an issue because no one is truly racist, the truth is this racism may not be apparent at first. The reason for why it may be hard to find is because it is impossible (or nearly impossible) for those to act on prejudice when everyone belongs to the same cultural group.
Furthermore, some students (like senior Geovanni Barquera) have expressed that our similarities are comforting and that when some are surrounded by different people they’re “uncomfortable because [they’re] afraid [others] might judge [them].” While I understand (and sometimes enjoy) the comfort in being with people that all lived similar childhoods and speak the same home language, being uncomfortable is a quality necessary for growth.
Being uncomfortable is what allows people to improve. The discomfort some students may face when meeting people of different cultural backgrounds (and in meeting new people in general) is beneficial to some extent. Research has shown that diversity in people and in ideas leads to “more innovative solutions to complex problems, more productive collaborations, and richer learning experiences.” Also, a study by Teachers College Columbia states that students who are exposed to different cultural groups experience “improved cognitive skills, including critical thinking and problem solving.”
In conclusion, some believe that exposing ourselves to different cultures in school might disrupt the illusion of our school’s tight-knit community. However, the lack of diversity here can negatively affect how we as students will one day contribute to the world around us, and so disrupting our 99% Latino and 1% Black bubble is necessary.