Dougherty students need to start integrating

Ilana Freeman, Staff Writer

Most high schools have the stereotypical cliques — the nerds, the jocks, the cheerleaders, the drama geeks, the goths and so on. Dougherty Valley, however, is not like most high schools.  Instead of witnessing cliques separated by interests, I’ve noticed they are often separated by race.

Coming into Dougherty Valley as an upperclassman gave me a very different perspective than most other DVHS students. Most people who grew up in this area have become accustomed to an apparent racial division at DVHS. It appears to be that people of the same race at DVHS tend to stick together. It isn’t exactly a bad thing for people of a similar culture to form a clique, but the issue at hand is that this racial division is causing problems.

First, segregation in any form, even if it is a choice, creates an atmosphere of exclusion. There is an inherent principle at DV that those of the same race must stay together, which in turn leads people of other races to feel like they can’t be part of a certain group of friends. It isn’t healthy for people to avoid forming friendships with people just because they are of a different race. Students should feel like they can be included in any group of people. Race does not depict who you are as a person.

Secondly, certain racial beliefs are creating a very difficult academic environment. Why is it that just because you are of a certain race, if you don’t take a certain number of weighted classes, you are looked down upon? Race has nothing to do with intelligence, but people here to seem to feel pressured to live up to this expectation.

I have personally faced this last year.  I was one of the only white students in both AP Calculus classes. Even though I scored a five on my AP exam, I felt looked down upon in my class. I felt people didn’t take me as seriously as they took our other classmates. It is my belief that this was greatly due to my race. It is not fair for anyone to be judged based solely on their race.

Dougherty Valley students should start expanding their social circles outside of just race. People of all races should sit together at lunch, instead of in the current clusters of the same race staying together.

Furthermore, people’s perceptions of intelligence should be based only on the individual  rather than on meeting some unrealistic stereotype of how smart one should be based on the color of one’s skin.

Dougherty is a great school, and it is up to the students to try to make DVHS as welcoming as possible. We must look beyond skin color and realize that people of completely different backgrounds can have similar values and interests.

Racial segregation has been looked down upon for decades, and Dougherty Valley should be no different.