Approximately 10,000 racial and ethnic slurs terms per day are used on the social media site, Twitter, according to research conducted by Desmos. As social media is one of the biggest platforms for the use of these terms, more recently, students have communicated with concerns with hearing slurs throughout the school.
As a school environment, DVC puts a large amount of effort into ensuring student success but the road to success is at risk of getting derailed if the use of racial slurs amongst the student body continues to grow.
“Unfortunately I have heard racial slurs at DVC. I feel like the community is changing,” said junior Ethan Barragan.. ¨I think some may be in good heart for those that are joking, but that is not the type of thing to be joking around about and they might end up hurting someone.”
When talking to students, some expressed that they hear racial slurs on a daily basis, while some expressed they rarely or never hear racial slurs at school. Depending on the individual, racial slurs can be seen as a way of bullying and can mentally break down a person when they become the target of racial slurs.
The U.S Department of Education’s report called the Indicators of School Crime and Safety:2016 presented research that individuals of White and Hispanic descent reported being called hate-related words in school when compared to Black and or other ethnicities.
“Racial slurs I hear most often are mainly against African Americans and Asians and Latinos,” said sophomore Isabelle Umekubo. “I think those I hear most often by kids who think it’s okay to say them. They may not say it seriously but they kind of say it as a joke.”
Racial slurs that are claimed to be said most often are “wetback” which is directed at Latinos, most commonly Mexicans. This slur can be traced back as far as the 1920s and was originally used for only illegal immigrants from Mexico who entered Texas by swimming through the Rio Grande river. Another “common” racial slur at DVC is the “N-word” which is aimed at African Americans. This slur was used during the time of slavery and segregation as a way of oppressing African Americans.
“I think that sometimes when we say stuff we don’t really understand the context and the depth behind it,” said history teacher Andrew Daramola. “I also think that students have to make a personal choice about what type of person they are.”
In some cases, high school students say racial slurs towards and/or around other students and claim they are not using it in a hateful manner but as a way of joking around. Some students feel as long as these racial slurs are said within their close group of individuals then the use of these hateful references are somewhat justified.
“I think it’s perfectly okay to make racist remarks as a joke,” said senior Moses Pastran. “If you don’t let people express themselves in the form of comedy, especially amongst a group of boys, then you are basically taking away one aspect of friendship.”
Whether people use racial slurs as a joke, as a way of delivering hateful messages, or even if not used at all; school is supposed to be a professional environment for students to seek education and they should feel safe and not worried about being verbally abused by the use of racial slurs.
“Within a school, I feel we should put up guidelines as to what you can and can not say,” continued Pastran. “At the end of the day, nobody can restrict your freedom of speech, but obviously in the setting of a school racial slurs are a ‘no go’. I feel we shouldn’t be dictating the way people speak at all within their life, I think we should just dictate the speech that can’t be said within the school.”