The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

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The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

The student newspaper of, by, and for Ames High School.

The WEB

Student Interviews

Eric Terry, Junior Have you ever experienced racial stereotyping or racial discrimination at Ames High? Yes. It’s more subtle; it’s not blatant. Do you think racism is a problem at Ames High? I wouldn’t say racism, but there are definitely a lot of cultural differences where people of different ethnicities are ignorant about different cultures. People kind of go by the stereotypes. When they see you before they get to know you, they assume you’re from Chicago or that you’re their “homie” or a gangster. They just assume things before without actually getting to know you. Do certain customs within your race affect how you interact with others? Definitely, yes. It’s just my experiences of being a black. Some of the things I want to discuss with other people, they haven’t experienced. How I interact with teachers is different. I’m not sure if it’s a cultural thing. Here, teachers are seen as friends. But what I’ve experienced, teachers are seen as adults or parent figures. Do you ever feel pressure due to how other people perceive you? Honestly, at times, I feel like I’m portrayed as the token black guy even though it goes against how I actually feel. Also, the way I might speak might not be the best, so I speak differently around other people. I feel it; it’s not as direct as some people might guess, but I definitely feel a separation with other people. Mythili Prabhu, Senior How significant is being Indian to you? My parents have lived here for more than 20 years, and I don’t speak the language or anything. So, I’m pretty Americanized because I was born in Ames and I grew up in Ames. How would you identify yourself? More with being American, maybe Indian-American, but I don’t speak the language. I don’t know a whole lot about the culture, and religiously, I’m Hindu technically, but I’m not a devout follower. Have you ever experienced racial stereotyping at Ames High? Other than jokes, no. My group of friends makes jokes about it all the time; they joke about race all the time. I’m sort of ashamed of my race because of Bobby Jindal. Do you think racism is a problem at Ames High? No. There are certain stereotypes about people, but I don’t think it’s like a problem; it’s not mean-spirited or anything. Do the customs within your race affect how you interact with your peers? Sort of. My parents are more devout followers of Hinduism, and they’re more open-minded. Because of how I was brought up, I feel as though I’m not really that stubborn about what to believe. Chris Hinojo, Sophomore How would you identify yourself? Probably like a Peruvian. I’m just proud of my race; if I say I’m American, it looks like I’m not proud of my race. Have you ever experienced racial stereotyping at Ames High? Sometimes, when they just assume I’m from Mexico. But I get over it. Have you ever experienced racial discrimination at Ames High? At times, yeah. But most often, it’s jokes. How significant is your ethnicity to you? I feel pressure that I need to raise the bar. Most people that are Hispanics drop out, or get pregnant; I feel the need to succeed because of what the stereotype is. Do you ever feel pressure to fit into your culture? No; I think I did get Americanized. My mom doesn’t pressure me to do the things she did when she was little. We just act differently at home. Lisa Yoon, Senior How would you identify yourself? Korean-American. Legally, I’m Korean because I don’t have an American citizenship, but also culturally, I would identify myself as Korean. How significant is being Korean to you? A lot. I was born in Korea and lived there for 9 years. So half of my life is in Korea, and half of it in the United States. I can’t totally eliminate one of them. It’s 50/50. I speak Korean everyday. I meet Korean people. My religious background comes from being Korean because I go to a Korean church. How does being Korean affect how you interact with your peers? I have a hard time getting along with completely American people or completely Korean people. You can tell most of my friends are Americanized, but they maintain their Asian background. Have you ever experienced racial discrimination at Ames High? No; this school is very race-tolerant. They don’t really care about your background; it’s a very liberal school. I think it also has to do with ISU being here and the diversity at ISU. Have you ever experienced racial stereotyping? There is definitely racial stereotyping. They look at me and go, “Oh, Asian…girl…short…smart…violinist…” There are a lot of built in stereotypes. Do you ever experience pressure to fit in (from racial stereotyping)? No, I try to break [racial stereotypes]. As much as I like to see the stereotype that Asians are academically strong, I think that people should see that they do more than studying or practicing piano. Do you ever experience pressure to fit into your culture? Sometimes, like when I go to my Korean church and stuff, I feel like they don’t understand me, or when I hang out with my American friends, I feel like they don’t understand me. I think you can’t completely classify me as Korean or American. I think you can only identify me as being culturally Korean and American at the same time.

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