Through the looking glass


Nearly 400 students of this year’s graduating class have attended Noblesville Schools for the past 13 years. That’s 13 years (at least) of remaining in one place surrounded by basically all the same people. Although permanence is not always such bad thing, it paves the way for enclosure. Enclosure then causes ignorance—ignorance to the world existing outside of our own. Because so many of us have lived one life in one area, the struggles of those living a life different than our own aren’t always clear. It’s a challenge we face trying to understand others’ battles when all we’ve really been exposed to are our own. Of course, as teenagers we don’t have much say in where we live or for how long, but we do have the choice of not letting it make us entirely ignorant.

Noblesville, Indiana certainly isn’t the most diverse of cities—this we know. It’s not uncommon for an NHS student to be in multiple classes with few, or even no, minority students. For some, this might feel comforting: to be encircled only by those with a familiar background. Comfort with such isolation, however, is dangerous, as it leads to a closed mind, which is dangerous not only to yourself, but threatening to others too. It’s one thing to simply hear about the inequality others face day to day, but it’s something completely different to be directly exposed to it through the challenges of one’s peers. Exposure to the realities of inequality, however, is not always a given. Which is why effort and awareness is required to combat initial ignorance.

We must be aware of, and come to terms with, the fact that not everyone, minority students especially, will experience high school the same way. Just this year, racial slurs and threats directed towards African Americans were marked on a bathroom stall in our own school. Racism like this is just one of the ways students of color often experience a high school environment that’s very different than those who are lucky enough to not have to worry about things like this. This incident caught our attention, but the truth is that occurrences like this happen all the time, often a result of negligence. The things that we fail to notice are typically what ends up hurting others the most, as only a small group can truly grasp it what it feels like.

Although a majority of students here cannot understand exactly how far the inequality reaches, they should not simply brush it off. Some may feel that because they have no first hand insight on the issues, or that because they don’t suffer directly from it, they don’t need to be a part of the fight—I mean ‘What do I know?…’ This indifferent attitude is a big part of what is preventing the movement towards equality from ever reaching its goal. It takes everyone to join the conversation and steer us away from ignorance. Simply leaving it up to others to fight because they’re the ones suffering is lazy, and quite frankly, selfish. Not taking a side is taking a side, and our experiences are not the same. We must not fall under the impression that everyone else’s life is as easy as our own.