U-High Midway

Students discuss, reflect on Black History Month

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Students discuss, reflect on Black History Month

Samira Glaeser-Khan, Managing Editor

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Senior Soundjata Sharod, junior Lea Runesha and senior Jordyn Mahome discussed Lab’s celebration of Black History Month as well as recent controversies around R. Kelly and Jussie Smollett at a roundtable discussion hosted by the Midway.

Do you think Lab did a good job celebrating Black History Month?

Jordyn: I know [Black Students’ Association] did a couple things for Black History Month, and the Parents’ Association had a speaker come with a dinner, but that’s all I heard.

Lea: I feel like there have been efforts within the school from the Parents’ Association and BSA, but because of lack of advertisement and maybe also lack of interest from the student body, I feel like its only a small group of people who attend these events.

Jordyn: Even though I’m a member of BSA, I didn’t get notified about some of the Parents’ Association events, so I feel like advertisement could be better. I feel like people have an interest in these events, but it’s just a matter of publicizing them.

How do you think the recent Jussie Smollett controversy is affecting the black community?

Soundjata: I think black people handled it well. I think we are still skeptical of what the police said. There’s evidence coming out that maybe the police overstated what happened. Even before we think about the consequences, we need to hold on to the fact that he’s innocent until proven guilty and he deserves a fair trial. Also, the media is having a field day with his guilt. Even liberal media is running with this story. Also, this R. Kelly stuff, the media is having a field day with it. It feels like we only hear about black men being accused of crime, and I wonder why we’re not showing great representations of black men.

Jordyn: I feel like the R. Kelly thing cannot be compared to what the media is doing with Jussie Smollett, though. If you think about other sexual abuse cases like Larry Nassar, those were also publicized in the media 24/7. With R. Kelly I think it was more that it was kids that’s leading it to get so much media attention.

Lea: I agree that the R. Kelly thing is on a different level. As for Jussie, I think it’s right to approach the situation as he’s innocent until proven guilty. I feel like a lot of people are angry about people dropping support for Jussie, but we’re not saying he’s guilty, we’re just saying the evidence doesn’t look too good for him. People who are questioning him are just looking at the evidence.

Have topics like Jussie Smollett and R. Kelly come up in our friend groups and social circles, and how are you discussing them?

Jordyn: We had a heated discussion about it in BSA, which I feel like kind of changed my opinion. We were talking about whether he was guilty or innocent, and I honestly at that point in time thought [Jussie Smollett] was guilty. I thought what he said was false. But Robert Coats was talking about how the media demonized him, so we kind of got into a back and forth. And that changed my opinion because when you think about it, the media jumped on it as soon as there was one small detail that didn’t add up. I’ve also talked about among my other black friends.

Lea: As Jordyn mentioned, we do talk about it a lot in BSA. I also do talk about these things a lot with my friends. When I’m talking about it with my friends, we’re just processing mostly about what happened and how the situation is being perceived. I think those conversations with my friends are productive because it can help me change my opinions.

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Students discuss, reflect on Black History Month