It’s safe to say that we can all recall a time when we should have held our peers accountable for instances of insensitivity but remained silent instead. At Deerfield, silence is the price we pay for the universal desire to belong. Too often, when we recognize faults we are afraid of being mistaken for criticizing our peers and our community, when in truth, in order to grow we must confront the unknown, embrace discomfort, and work to better ourselves by learning from our past mistakes.
We must continue to reflect upon the graffiti and other acts of racism and homophobia, such as micro-aggressions, and find it in ourselves to eradicate the root of the problem. It should not take a vulgar display of hatred to finally comprehend the shared responsibility we all have to each other.
We boast of our strong character, of our integrity, and of our cohesive school spirit, but these values are being neglected. How can we as a community promote these principles, and then not abide by them? When one looks behind the curtain of the Deerfield community, there are stratified layers beyond the stickers of acceptance in our classrooms and the promise of inclusion on our website.
We have failed to fully divulge and accept how our own individual positions impact the wider community. We have become comfortable in the ignorance that our various privileges provide us, oftentimes blinded by the joys of our own unique experiences at Deerfield. To truly encompass the values that we treasure on this campus, we need to embrace the discomfort of confronting our problems in order to achieve true unity. We must all take initiative as individuals to act with kindness and understanding towards every member of our community.
It’s time to break down the unspoken barriers we feel here at Deerfield and stand with our classmates rather than for them. It’s time for all of us to value and respect the sanctity of human dignity.
Ms. Dickey’s Junior English Class