It's quite difficult to explain to someone what it feels like to be so unimaginably confused with figuring out what you're a part of, what you're supposed to identify with, and who you are. It's just one of those things that you can't quite phrase right. So, I figured, why not put it in art? The following is a sonnet that I wrote called "To World, From a Biracial Teen", which is from the perspective of a Filipina-American in 2017.
To World, From a Biracial Teen
So, once upon a time, there was just her
Not brown, not white, she was just in between
She built this wall, in hopes it'd be a blur
And yet, for years her pain just went unseen
That girl is me, in a world full of dreams
But I'm the one that just can't fall asleep
Why don't you see you've torn me from the seams
I promise you, those words cut very deep
So this goes out to the world, please hear me
Because it seems as though you never have
I feel like I will never be set free
But I know this can all be in the past
'Cause FYI, this skin comes with a voice
And world, you'll hear us, you don't have a choice.
VP of Campaigns and Events
Co-VP of Journalism and Publication
The Brown versus Board of Education case is one of the major milestones in the ending of racial segregation, often taught in history classes or discussed when talking about modern issues on race or transgender rights. In 1951, the NAACP asked certain African American families, such as Leola and Oliver Brown in Topeka, Kansas, to attempt to enroll their child into an exclusively white school. In the neighborhood that the Browns were living in, the African-American dominated school was an extremely far walk for Linda, in sometimes freezing weather, whereas the white school was a simple three blocks away. Now, when they initially went to the school, the Browns were rejected and the school put the blame on the district board, saying it was out of their hands and that there was nothing they could do.
So, the Browns decided to sue the school and, for the first time in history, they won the case and therefore the right to send Linda Brown, a black child, to a primarily white school. However, when reexamining this case, it is important to look at background of the Brown family. Leola Brown, the mother of Linda, had actually attended the black school in Topeka and stated in interviews that “the teachers were fantastic” and that the education was wonderful there. The main reason for the switch in schools was because Leola and Oliver believed they should have the right to send their children to whichever school they choose, especially if it is one that is more convenient to attend. When the decision to allow the Browns to send Linda to the white school was made, however, the court voiced it as if they were allowing her to go because she was disadvantaged.
In the decision, the court stated that it was mentally handicapping to send kids to black schools, a very different reason than stated by Leola Brown for ending educational segregation. Although many in history might see this milestone in the civil rights movement as an advancement, African Americans were still the ones who suffered for this decision. Not long after more schools began to mix races, there was a mass firing of all black teachers across Southern states, such as Virginia and Kansas. As Malcolm Gladwell points out in his podcast Revisionist History, there should have been more teachers integrated into schools as well.
As a child, having a teacher of your ethnicity does, in fact, matter. If a black child who is equally as gifted as a white child is paired up with a black teacher, they are found to be fifty percent more likely to be placed into a gifted program. However, this is not special treatment. It is simply because their abilities are more likely to go unrecognized by a white teacher. However, this isn’t to say that all white teachers are racist. It’s due to subconscious racism that has been prevalent since 1954, when this court decision was made, and it continues to happen today, leading to more disadvantages and obstacles that must be overcome by African American children.
In my opinion, teacher unions and school boards must make more of a conscious decision to integrate black teachers into the educational system, elementary schools in particular, and start teaching school teachers that their biases may lead to the misidentification of gifted black children. The way that teachers impact students is important and somehow, even when segregation was ending, black educators were still the ones who sacrificed to stop racism and division, a fact that should be recognized more often. To learn more details on this issue, I highly recommend checking out Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast Revisionist History.
VP of Operations and Engagement
Ever since I first came up with the idea for Heart2Art, I contemplated the reason for why we wanted to focus on impacting our generation. Why not adults? Why not all people?
Well, of course, we do wish to reach out to people of all ages and identities, but there is a real reason for why we decided to focus our project on our world's youth. Partially, it was because I am a part of this generation. I know what they prefer, what impacts them, and what they value. The other, and arguably the more significant, part of the reason for why we wanted to reach out to teens was because we wanted our generation to start stepping up and taking responsibility. Our world isn't going to change on its own, and our role in the advancement of society is more important then one may think. Our generation is struggling to find its voice. We call ourselves heroes for tweeting about a protest in Los Angeles, but we never see the need for us to get up and really do something worthwhile. Even furthering my point, barely any teens will even take the time to post something on social media about issues in our world, let alone using a tweet to bring attention to a protest. When did we stop having opinions? When did we stop standing up for them? If you have a platform, use it to make a statement.
This brings me to a question I have been asking myself for some time now: What could our project do to inspire teens to make a change? We aren't making any changes because we don't have opinions, and we don't have opinions because we stopped caring, and this is because we aren't educated. So, this is where I came up with our new series, Taco Bout It! I wanted to create a platform for local teens to speak their mind and a place where teens can learn about current events, so this will be a series where they get to do just that. In each episode, our host, Karly Low, will have a different guest on and discuss everything that needs to be discussed (from politics to favorite TV shows).
Wait! There's more!
We didn't want to make a basic podcast-style series. Oh, no. What did we do to fix this? We added tacos. Along with discussing current events and societal issues, Karly will be introducing a new taco shop each episode. Plus, the host and guest will be eating tacos while they discuss Donald Trump's presidency, Europe's immigration crisis, and everything in between. At the end, we get a little food review.
Needless to say, I'm excited for the series. This series will provide teenage insight into our world's pressing issues and also provide some cool food stuff.