REAL Talk, story 15

This story was shared by an NPS student. 

Image ID: the background of images 1, 2, and 3 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “I am a black student at NHS. When I was a freshman, new to the Northampton School District, 2 months into the school year a few biology classes including mine went on a field trip. On the bus trip there, a white boy sat in the seat in front of me and was playing music from a portable speaker. He rapped and sang along loudly to all the songs. At one point, I heard him say the n word. I felt very shocked and panicked and wondered why no one else seemed to be upset about this. For the rest of the bus ride I felt extremely uncomfortable sitting near him. It was one of the first times I had heard someone who wasn’t black say the n word. My middle school was a small private school and people knew they would probably get in trouble for that because teachers were often nearby or other kids might tell them not to say it. I told a friend about my experience and he responded, ‘He’s not racist, he just says dumb things.’

Since then I have always felt uncomfortable being near that kid and feel resentful when I see other people hanging out or being friends with him–especially people who act like they are allies and I have seen call out racism and people being racist. It bothers me when people are friends with people who are racist and act like it’s just a personality trait or political view they don’t agree on.”

Image 2 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes Lack of Understanding and Hurt & Exclusion are emphasized with bright/bold colors.

REAL Talk, story 14

This story was shared by an NPS student. 

Image ID: the background of image 1 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “In one of my classes me and my friends (all of whom were of color) were doing our work quietly, and a white teacher started staring at us and it was very awkward.  We asked her why she was staring and she said I know kids like you cause trouble.  And she didn’t know us, it was very awkward.”

Image 2 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes Whiteness, Race & Identity, and Hurt & Exclusion are emphasized with bright/bold colors.

REAL Talk, story 13

This story was shared by an NPS parent/caregiver. 

Image ID: the background of images 1 and 2 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “I have been struck again and again, both in visiting my son’s school and in attending various school-level and district-level meetings and committees, at how incredibly white–at least visually–the school personnel and administrators are. For a school in which 38 percent of the children are non-white, the predominantly (or maybe exclusively?) white make-up of those who are teaching in and leading the school (and district at large) leaves me concerned. When talking about inclusion or hearing others talk about inclusion in the school, I can’t help but wonder what kids who don’t look like the teachers are thinking, whether consciously or somewhere in the back of their budding minds is, ‘Why do none of the teachers and those with power look like me?’ ‘What does that mean about who gets to make the rules, lead the conversations, and inspire others?’”

Image 3 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes Educational Challenges and Whiteness are emphasized with bright/bold colors.

Reflect, discuss

Prompts for personal reflection and conversation with others:

> What do you experience in your body (sensations), heart (feelings), and/or head (thoughts) on reading the story we just posted?

> What does this story make you want to do/say? What feels possible for you to do/say? What feels hard and/or hopeful?

REAL Talk, story 12

This story was shared by an NPS parent/caregiver. 

Image ID: the background of image 1 is orange (upper one-third) and purple (lower two-thirds), with a large white square with rounded corners overlaying and within that square, this text in purple: “As a white person who’s lived in the Northampton area for the past 3 years, it’s been frightening how much my brain and self has adapted to (what I experience as) the lack of racial diversity here. I find myself unsure of how to ‘be’ or respond around people of color sometimes. This has felt strange and sad and hard to square, having grown up in Africa and lived in diverse US cities.”

Image 2 has the same orange/purple split background, with the white text “Story Themes” running up the lower left side and two columns of white boxes (four per column) displaying our eight story themes. Here, the themes Educational Challenges, Whiteness, and Emotional Response are emphasized with bright/bold colors and the themes Lack of Understanding, The Future, Race & Identity, Actions & Strategies, and Hurt & Exclusion deemphasized with paler colors.