Black students and their experience at Pritzker

Black students and their experience at Pritzker

With Black History Month ending, African American students at Pritzker College Prep express their feelings being in a predominantly Hispanic school.

The racial makeup of Pritzker during the 2018-2019 school year was 94.7% Hispanic; 3.8% Black; 0.8% White; 0.5% Native American; and 0.2 % two or more races. Compared to other Noble schools such as Speer who had 12.9%  and Golder who had 16.2%, Pritkzer had the lowest percentage of Black students during the 2018-2019 school year. Also, considering that the predominant race of the Pritzker staff is white, it would be reasonable for Black students to sometimes feel like they are the only ones.

“There are times where I feel like I get treated differently from the other students,” expressed sophomore Angelina Harper, who is of  Black and Hispanic ancestry. Although she has not experienced it from teachers and staff, Harper has said that she’s experienced racism at Pritzker and at other places. An example of racism that Harper is referring to is the n-word. The use of the n-word is a very controversial word with a history of racism attached to it. Stemming from a racial slur used by slave masters to their slaves to a word now used by the African American community as a way to address each other in a friendly way. Many people  of all races argue either saying that only Black people should use it or that no one should use it whether it ends with an “-er” or “-a.” Some people of color use the word thinking it’s okay due to not being Caucasian. Some students like sophomore Sincere Smith stated, “I really don’t care because I’ll just call them something else.” Other students like sophomore Christian Hyde don’t care that Latinos use the word but “as long as they don’t use it with an ‘-er’.” However, Harper stated, “It really bothers me when [Latinos] use the n-word because it’s like they feel like it’s okay to use and abuse the word like it’s an everyday word for them.”

Freshman Algebra teacher Eric Smith and sophomore World History teacher Charles Rosentel are working on a presentation to help change the way the student body views the use of the n-word. Also, they want to talk about how some black students feel about it since they are the minority in the school. Rosentel explained, “The presentation came out of other black students sharing with me (and Ms. Guy) their peers’ use of the n-word and how it makes them feel unsafe and unwelcome.” The purpose of the presentation is to address “the experiences of black students at Pritzker, with an emphasis on the usage of the n-word, and drawing on Latinx Pritzker graduates’ experience with isolation and microaggressions in college to increase empathy for the isolation and microaggressions black students face at Pritzker today.” Rosentel also added that “it is not your job to fix other people’s racism”.