BY OLIVIA HAMILTON
Los Alamos High School
Dear LAPS School Board members,
As a person of color within Los Alamos High School I’ve experienced first hand racism within our community before. And on multiple occasions in and outside of school. While being a freshman in LAHS this year, the racism, ableism, and homophobia within our schools has begun to increase.
Ever since I’ve moved to Los Alamos and been within the school system starting in the 4th grade, and I am currently in the 9th grade, and even in elementary school I’ve experienced racism. I have been told the following, “You’re black on the outside, but white on the inside.” This was said to me to try to state that there is a certain way I need to act because of my skin color. That I don’t fit the stereotype they believe of black people. This happened at the Activity Center downtown and was said by a 6th grader at the time, to me a 4th grader.
Just in the last two months I decided to see how many slurs and disgusting remarks I could record while in school. Below are quotes from students mostly freshmen in LAHS that I’ve heard. These quotes contain racist, ableist, homophobic, and just all around distasteful remarks.
“No I hate *name*, he’s a fat ass!”
“You hate what?”
“I hate bad people.”
*written on his phone was “faggots”*
“You monkey! *laughs*”
“You’re an albino monkey!”
“I hate crippled people.”
“No I said you’re a retard”
“*various stereotypical Asian noises*”
“*name* you slut!”
“Like nigga no one cares.”
“What would you make illegal if you were on the county council?”
“What else would you make illegal?”
“Like nigga no one cares.”
“Go America beat the terrorists!” (watching the world cup USA vs Iran)
This is a fundamental problem within our community in Los Alamos. As within our schools students are supposed to feel safe and welcomed to pursue their education. But I don’t feel welcomed when I’m looked at like an animal. I am alienated by my fellow classmates. When I interact with others it’s an insult or someone petting and touching my hair, like I am an animal at a petting zoo. Even outside of school, for example in Smith’s, I am unable to go inside without having people stare. This is because many of the adults in Los Alamos went to school at LAHS or a school near Los Alamos. And they were not taught in their schools or reprimanded because of the lack of diversity in Los Alamos. I find it disgusting that even in our elementary schools children start to discriminate against their peers.
I strongly urge the LAPS School Board to find a way to inform their students of how horrible and disgusting it is to say these words because I personally know that I despise having to hear things like this every day. I suggest a class or even a lesson to prevent the words and remarks that I have to hear today. These lessons or classes should start around 4th to 7th grade and should continue into high school. Because without the proper education about these words I know that racism, ableism, and homophobia will not stop and will only continue to heighten.
Editor’s note: Olivia told the Los Alamos Reporter that the school district has started to crack down on these problem in the schools and are are starting to deal with them as a serious issue. She said Acting Supt. Jennifer Guy has reached out to her as well as School Board President Melanie Colgan,