Disclaimer: Containing today, the Opinion section of the Daily Sundial is publishing an article series on discrimination in and around the nearby community. Reporters agreed to write stories in regard to how their lives are affected because of their race, culture and/or disability. Stories of how individuals lives are affected because of their race, culture and/or disability that aren’t represented by the reporting staff were contacted through organizations that represent them. If you feel there’s a story to be told about how the lives of individuals are affected by their race, culture and/or disability that aren’t being represented, please contact the editor at email@example.com, and its inclusion in the series will be considered. Stories included in the series were selected by considering the demographics of the campus’ student population. Content of articles in the series could be interpreted as offensive. Keep in mind that the series is meant to inform people about how differences are perceived and how they affect us as a community. It’s not the Sundial’s intent to escalate animosity, but to create understanding. Comments and responses are welcomed and can be submitted to the editor’s e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for publishing consideration.
To this very day, this kind of story about discrimination remains undeniably fresh. During my senior year of high school, I applied for a position in the Associated Student Body (ASB) in hopes of becoming the first deaf representative ever at Burbank High. Little did I know, that dream of mine would be shattered in a flash.
Prior to my interview for a position with ASB, the nervousness inside of me grew. Eventually, my name was called. The interview seemed like it took hours, and I was glad when it was over. Waiting anxiously, early in the morning on the second day after the interview, I was escorted to the ASB room to look for a little white paper with the announcement of who was chosen. It was placed on the wall next to the ASB office and saw that no one got picked. According to what the paper was saying, the students who applied for that position were disqualified. Dazed, I waited for the teacher to come to her classroom. Once she arrived, the probing began on why not even a person was chosen.
Mrs. Miller responded by saying something like, “Well? as we went through the applications, we realized that out of the seven students who applied for the spirit commissioner position, only two of them including you have completed the requirements. The rest didn’t. So we decided not to accept anyone.”
Confused, I questioned her, “But that does not make any sense. Why go through the whole process and not even let one person get in? Would I have made it in?”
She interrupted and said the truth was I would have made it, but after the ASB students discussed it more, they decided not to accept me for “certain reasons.”
I asked her why they wouldn’t accept me, and she gave me two reasons. She said the first reason was because I was deaf. The second reason was because I would have to speak on a microphone and how was I supposed to do that? How could I possibly promote school spirit without a microphone? The decision was final.
In my first and second period class, I could not concentrate. Thousands of thoughts were zooming around in my head. I could not bear it anymore so I expressed my frustration to my interpreter, Kim.
Shocked, Kim decided to talk to Mrs. Miller for me to ensure there were not any misunderstandings. Shortly, Kim stormed out of the ASB room and told me that I heard right, she wasn’t letting me in because I was deaf.
After some serious thinking, I went to the principal’s office to set up a meeting with him. This being the first time I had experienced blatant discrimination, I paged my parents to keep me sane. They reassured me by saying I did the right thing. At the meeting with the principal, I went in with my interpreter, Tammy, and the first thing the principal said was he had been there for two years and never met a deaf student. In fact, she said she didn’t even know her school had a deaf program.
My interpreter and I looked at each other and it seemed like we were thinking the same thing, “How can a principal be so clueless?” I explained what exactly happened. The principal was nodding her head as she provided no support whatsoever.
At that moment, I realized I had no help from the school authorities. The principal said something like, “If I were you, I would not even try to apply for that position. It’s the same idea as if I was to try out for a basketball team and I was in a wheelchair. Of course, I would not make it.” Never in my life, I had heard such outrageous comments. The meeting went on for hours without any progress.
Two weeks passed. Most of the story spread like a wildfire. While the staff and students were gossiping about it, I was stuck in the middle trying to figure how to prove that I did not make up this whole scenario. At times, Mrs. Miller would randomly pull me out of classes to give me a “pep talk” to change my story to get her out of trouble. People frequently found me in the bathroom draining all the tears from my eyes wondering how in the world this situation became so ugly. Due to the fiasco, I suffered from a case of depression.
Finally, on my 18th birthday, Mrs. Miller, my parents, the principal, deaf/hard of hearing program coordinator, and a witness attended the final meeting. I have never shook so hard in my life as I was shuddering with a mixture of anger and anxiety.
The meeting was making no headway until my dad bluffed about the phone calls he had with Mrs. Miller, saying that he had taped the conversations. Being in the hot seat, Mrs. Miller accidentally revealed the truth. Unfortunately, even with the truth out the results remained unsatisfactory. Therefore, we decided to call the Board of Education to explore other options. One of the board members heavily supported us as she had a deaf relative.
In the end, it turned out that Mrs. Miller got a slap on the wrist and a warning. After a long, grueling and tiresome journey, I was able to find myself again. Now I understand how hurtful and damaging discrimination can be and do not wish for it to ever happen to anyone.
The following lists the race, culture and/or disability of reporters who have an article that’ll be published or has already been published during the series. The order in which articles were published is random. To receive more information on the series of articles or to suggest that the Sundial write an article about how an individual’s life is affected because of their race, culture and/or disability, please refer to the disclaimer.
African descent Mexican descent European descent Armenian descent Jewish descent Asian descent Middle Eastern descent LGBTQ Deaf Central/South American descent Native American descent