Teens recall racist experiences

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in August 1963. In recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, on Monday, January 15, Town & Village intern Kristy Ye-Ling interviewed fellow students at Gramercy’s School of The Future, asking if they had ever experienced racism.

Joseph Dennis

Joseph Dennis, Senior

“There was one time I was getting on the train to school and there was this Indian lady and black lady getting on together. But then the Indian lady wanted to sit and said, ‘Oh I don’t want to be near these brown people.’ I felt like I could’ve done something about it because obviously we’re in the 21st century and it’s annoying to keep on having racism brought up every single day.”


Joyanne Joseph, Senior

“I was bullied and excluded in summer camp because of my skin color and hair. I felt like I couldn’t do anything about it because I was too self-conscious and didn’t know how to articulate my thoughts clearly. I felt like no one understood my experience.”


Octavia Washington, Senior

“I don’t know if I ever experienced racism personally. In sixth grade, there were a lot of racially conscious jokes like ‘African booty scratcher’ and those similar, which is so extremely racist that like, it makes sense it came from a kid. It wasn’t so much that racism was very explicit when I was younger so much as it seemed very implicitly around me. It was like a cue that I was separate or whatnot. I can’t remember if I did anything about it other than learn what was and wasn’t racist. I knew things like that made me feel horrible, but I don’t think I knew just the extent of how much.”

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