Banks teen describes racism at high school
Following our story about the cancellation of the Banks forum on race, a senior at Banks High School sent the News-Times an email expressing disappointment about the cancellation. She said she and many other students had planned to attend.
Because the student asked that her name not be used, we are not running her full letter as a column on the opinion page. But we are excerpting parts of it here:
"Sure, we are a town full of white people so we don't witness full-on racist comments and harassment face-to-face.
"However, I can't count the amount of times I've seen Confederate flags hanging from backs of trucks. I once had a fellow student say to me on the first week of school, 'There aren't any black students here? Thank god.' There isn't a day that goes by that I don't hear the N-word used in some derogatory way.
"And I've heard many other racist comments in our community. A friend of mine who is now a senior in college said how when she attended Banks High School, people would compare black people to monkeys and shout Hispanic stereotypes at our Latino students.
"I have another friend in the same grade as me who is Jewish and moved to the Banks School District in eighth grade. On her first day, other students put swastikas in her backpack and had no repercussions for it. Just this last year, people were posting Nazi signs on their social media after making fun of her in class for being Jewish.
"They like to call the kids who try and stand up to these situations 'just teens who don't know anything' or my favorite that I myself have been called, 'dumb liberals who know nothing.'
"I'm not even a liberal, I have no clue which party I stand with, but what I do know is that racism isn't okay."
By Jill Rehkopf Smith
Associate Editor, Forest Grove News-Times
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