Black students share experiences at Mesa

Genevieve Esguerra

From left to right: Justin Bennett, Chicodi Aechi, Alison Thomas, Sharifa Osman, Sylise Hall, Julia Julima, and Dante Howell.

Robeal Tesfamichael, Staff Writer

A young panel of black students attending San Diego Mesa College volunteered to speak in front of a crowd consisting of staff, students, and guests to share their experiences as students in order to recommend changes they would prefer to be made.

The student panel: Dante Howell, Sharifa Osman, Julia Julima, Sylise Hall, Chicodi Aechi and Justin Bennett, spoke before the crowd one by one with each giving their own personal experiences as students having to live through the hardships of living in a country primarily catering to its majority white population. Though each of their individual experiences was different the students came to a general consensus towards what they believed to be a litany of unfair methods of approach from their teachers. These methods included inconsistent disciplinary measures for their black and white students, more focus towards the quantity of work as opposed to students understanding it, and a lack of teachers genuinely going out of their way to make their students feel that they are willing to help. Multiple students gave both praise and acclaim towards Mesa’s Black Studies professors such as Thekima Mayasa and Starla Lewis for their honesty, consideration, and consciousness of what their students may have had to endure while living in a predominately white society.

The students were adamant with their displeasure towards the absence of integration within United States history courses, highlighting the hypocrisy in having to take separate classes for Black or Chicano history when both are a part of United States history. Sharing how those not being taught the history of their own people led to them relying on falsely perpetuated stereotypes by society about their race in order to find knowledge of self. The panel firmly believes the current educational system in place is structured to veer minorities away from their people’s history and influence them to conform to its standards and demanded that action is taken by staff to correct this issue.

Ultimately, the student panel desires an education that offers a strong sense of belonging for its diverse group of students that will be expressed from both the professors and the curriculum. They’re not asking for sympathy or advantages but simply a level playing field in which they may be able to attend class and not be given the impression from their educators that their needs are second to their white classmates. Inequality on the basis of race and color is still currently prevalent within American society and these students are to be commended for having the courage to speak their minds because the failure to do so thus far has increased the denial amongst Americans that inequality still exists.