By MK Bryant
The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbury sparked global inspiration this year that has gained momentum not seen since the Civil Rights Movement. This is a time for change. Although, the Black Lives Matter Movement has been alive for almost a decade (beginning with the murder of Trayvon Martin), the movement is finally being accepted as a human rights issue.
It has been beautiful to see my classmates educate themselves and those around them. Watching people speak up about the movement and show their support has been amazing and comforting. After years of advocating and speaking out about Black Lives Matter and other social issues myself, I don’t feel so alone anymore. Specifically at Durham Academy, I’ve noticed people taking the initiative to educate themselves and realize that America, and DA, aren’t always what it strives to be. Everyone within the DA community is privileged in some way because we are able to attend DA. Going to an advanced college-preparatory school like DA, we have been given opportunities and chances that most people don’t get or simply can’t afford. We need to have more activities during the school year that address our unique position and privileges.
I have not attended DA for very long, and I don’t believe that anyone at DA is purposefully or maliciously racist. However, a lot of people in the DA community have biased mindsets due to a lack of knowledge and a lack of exposure to other cultures and different types of people. Especially at DA, a predominately white school, we live in a bubble that makes it difficult to understand what other communities outside of our own go through. I look back to a year ago when some of my friends tried to defend “white oppression” to me. I was shocked and I felt disrespected. However, I didn’t get upset because I knew that the people who said this meant no harm. This is what they believed and I knew that it just showed their ignorance. Students don’t fully understand the implications of their white privilege.
But when going to a school like DA, a lack of knowledge shouldn’t be tolerated or used as an excuse. What I would like to see DA do is add more curricula that target current issues facing minorities in America. Not just teaching US history but a more specific class that connects US history to America today. Slavery and segregation have had lasting effects on our society that I feel have been left out of classroom discussions and curriculum. I would also like to see the Black History Month assembly and International Day come back! Since I have been at DA, I feel like some minorities have been silenced in expressing their opinions and issues. These activities give minorities a voice in our community and can be enjoyed by all. This allows for DA to understand and have productive conversations about microaggressions, inequity, and inequalities in America and in the Durham community. I am grateful for the faculty that supports and encourages minority students. I appreciate Durham Academy’s mission and what they are trying to accomplish.