Stopping prejudice in high school isn't easy

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, February 12, 2004

I am Katie Damian, a junior at Juneau-Douglas High School. I was one of the many students who heard about the racial sign on the bus derogatory towards Natives. I think it's absolutely wrong. People should not be racist, especially on a public school bus in front of high school students. It's just as wrong as putting up signs saying "white trash" or "stupid Mexicans."

Everyone in the high school risks getting pinned down by racial comments or stereotypes every day. I've been called many names myself - it's called prejudice and it's most likely impossible to stop. Some have said that Native students stay in the Marie Drake building because they do not feel safe in the main building, but others in the main building are just as scared of being in Marie Drake. I am most certainly scared of some Native students. I am afraid that if I make a mistake or accidentally bump into them that I will be cursed or glared at. Of course not all Native kids are like that. Most are real smart and nice, like Yvonne Willis, who bravely took on 700 people at the ANB Hall, Thursday, Feb. 4, to talk about the racial sign on the bus. I am also in the CHOICE program and I do not agree with the stereotypes about us, some of which are really racial. Students in CHOICE are just looking for more help and one-on-one time with teachers, which the mainstream high school cannot always offer. We are not dropouts; we are just struggling for help and understanding.

I believe the only reason that people at the high school stereotype Native kids is because of those seen skipping class or in the graveyard or even sticking together in their own social groups (like we all do). I do think that out of all groups taunted and teased in the school, Native kids are bugged the most. I just wanted people outside of the school to understand what's really going on from the perspective of a student.

Katie Damian


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