IHS Culture Fails to Discourage Racism

Sophie Kirkegaard, Editor in Chief

When photos of a fellow Issaquah High School student’s racist Tolo poster began circulating on the Internet late Saturday night, I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t surprised because this attitude, one that is both prejudiced and intolerant, has been prevalent amongst students at this school for years. Although this form of blatant racism was something I have always hoped we were above, there is a culture at IHS that is bigoted and discriminatory, and our inadequacies in addressing these issues as a school have led us to foster these behaviors.  

Just five years ago, Issaquah students faced backlash for a series of social media posts attacking African American players on Garfield High School’s basketball team. Last year, students posted similarly offensive tweets referencing Newport High School’s football team.  None of these have been isolated instances, and issues like these will continue to occur if we fail to address deeply rooted problems in both our school and community. When hate like this occurs, it needs to be made known that these behaviors are not tolerated at any time, not just because the instance has gone viral. Covering up singular instances like this just seems like the school saving face, rather than acknowledging the issues we have as a whole. Discriminatory behavior undoubtedly occurs on our campus daily, and we as students and administrators have the responsibility for discouraging these acts. Discussion surrounding these topics, although uncomfortable for some, are imperative to our education. High school is one of the most formative periods of our lives, and being exposed to a variety of different viewpoints and perspectives, as well as teaching tolerance and acceptance, is a skill that needs to be more prevalent throughout curriculum.

School should be a safe place for everyone, no matter your race, gender, sexual orientation, or beliefs. Instances of hate and intolerance like these are never acceptable nor justified, and we all play a role in creating a school culture that is welcoming and accepting.