Indi Clayton '20

Being a Student of Color at SSSAS

By Indi Clayton '20

June 2019 Profile Issue 

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Before beginning school here at SSSAS, I was never the minority, the odd one out, or the only one. I was always welcomed, cherished, recognized, considered, and treated as if I was family. Being an African American female at SSSAS I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I am different, and that in certain instances in the classroom, I may be the only one and that I may not always feel welcomed or included.

 

As an African American in society, we already face endless trials and triumphs on a daily basis, microaggressions on some occasions while others being the worst form of macroaggressions. It doesn’t make things easier for us being in this space of uncertainty and confusion when it comes to where we belong, where we fit in, how we should dress, act, participate in the classroom, or even how we speak. It does however help us in the real world making us stronger individuals who have the ability to conform or accommodate to those around us.

 

So, no, I don't feel excluded all the time or not recognized all the time at SSSAS,  but if I said being at SSSAS as a minority was the easiest thing I’ve ever done, I wouldn't be telling the truth.

 

When I first began here at SSSAS in the 8th grade we read the book To Kill a Mockingbird. Going into this reading with no prior knowledge of the storyline, I didn’t see a problem with the book. That was however, until we began reading it aloud in class. Throughout the novel, the words “nigger and negro” are used constantly, and the way the white students would say the word while reading in class made me sick to my stomach. How could a word with so much history and hatred be used so lightly? How could it be used so lightly be a white person? Someone whose ancestors used to tie my people together put them on ships and force them to horrible labor, beat, and rape them, over and over again? It angers me.

 

That’s not the only downside to being a minority in a predominately white school either. When you’re one of very few, you stick out like a sore thumb. Everything you do and say has a consequence, and sometimes the consequence can fall in your favor. Other times, not so much. I’ve had to learn how to take advantage of being a minority and use the “spotlight” to my advantage.

 

Not looking like everyone else can sometimes fall in your favor when going out for student positions, sports teams, awards, and everything else. Why? Because it’s not expected. As a minority, you’re expected to just blend and sit quiet. Becoming co-president of SSSAS is one of many steps in the right direction that I have taken advantage of, to better the community not only for myself, but for my other black counterparts.