Voice of the Notre Dame Prep Saints

The Seraphim

The struggle is real

These+are+the+self-reported+numbers+from+the+2016-2017+student+registration+forms.
These are the self-reported numbers from the 2016-2017 student registration forms.

These are the self-reported numbers from the 2016-2017 student registration forms.

Source: NDP Registrar

Source: NDP Registrar

These are the self-reported numbers from the 2016-2017 student registration forms.

Antonio Wycklendt, Staff Writer

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Being a person of color on a predominately white campus can be a hardship for some, especially when starting high school.

My freshman year at NDP was a difficult year for me. “Why don’t you go pull my weeds,” or “Go mow my lawn, ya’ wetback” are just some of the common remarks I would get.

At first, I took it as a joke. However, as this continued throughout the year, it really got to me. Why should I be treated differently just because I’m Mexican?

We may like to think that today we live in a world of “color blindness,” but the truth of the matter is that issues associated with race still exist today, including in schools.

The statistics of different ethnicities on NDP campus for this year show the number of white students on campus outnumber students of color about 4:1, according to the school registrar Trudy Wallingford.

It is also important to take into consideration the location of NDP. Notre Dame Prep lies in the heart of Scottsdale, a city where 89.33 percent of the population is Caucasian. In truth, there is not much diversity because such a large portion of the population is white.

However, within the school report, those who identify as Hispanic are included in the White/Caucasian section. Hispanic, as declared by the Census Bureau, “was intended by the census to be a category of linguistic and ethnic heritage, not an official ‘race’ of its own.”

When filling out forms, Hispanics will commonly mark themselves as white, because by government definition, they are “not a race unto themselves.”

“Being a person of color on a predominately white campus is not too bad, but there are struggles with it,” agrees Vietnamese senior Tylor Nguyen. “I’d wish there would be more colored people, but because there are not too many of us kind of people, there are judgments passed around.”

What judgments?

Nguyen says he feels like “white students get away with more than I do or the colored students do. When I saw that I got a detention for my type of hair [mohawk], I see white students have the same type but don’t get in trouble like I do, or the teachers expect more out of me than from other students.”

He’s not entirely wrong. David Simpson of UCLA Law Review states that school discipline procedures “have proven to disproportionately punish minority students.” Simpson says the reason for this is because of the “long history of racial prejudice in the United States.”

Dean of Students Carl Hess says that “the research supports it,” but makes it clear that this is not the case “for Catholic or private schools.”

Dean Hess also points out that this research is mainly for public schools. He says that “minorities are disproportionately represented” when it comes to public school suspensions.

So what’s the deal with NDP?

“Notre Dame itself does not deliberately discriminate,” says senior Dani Wilder, who is part of a multiracial friend group, “but there have been instances of slight discrimination within the student body. This is mostly occurring without true meaning, as in friends joking with one another where nothing is taken personally.”

Joking aside, NDP offers clubs that promote diversity and provide exposure to different cultures. “Notre Dame seems to be an open environment to multiple different races. Look at Asian Club or Diversity Club for example,” Wilder says.

“I am proud to be a minority on a predominately white campus. I stand out and represent my race,” says senior Davonne Flowers, who is one of the 0.85 percent of black students on campus.

Next time you walk around campus, take a look around. You may find that different races seem to “clump” together in friend groups, perhaps because they feel more comfortable with those who share the same skin color.

Being a Catholic school, those in the NDP community are called to treat everyone with dignity, no matter their color. They for the most part reflect the Catholic principles NDP has worked hard to institute.

As for me and the struggle I face as a person of color, I believe that I am more sensitive and aware of the uniqueness that God has created in all of us.

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Voice of the Notre Dame Prep Saints
The struggle is real