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  1. “Whenever I walk into a classroom, I will always be black first. I will always be labeled a black writer, or a black girl, or black student. I think that’s one of the hardest things to really break down at New Trier.”
    This young woman’s analysis of how everyone at New Trier views her is based on what, exactly? I am not certain why she feels comfortable asserting that the first thing, the very first thing and thus the primary thing everyone (who is white? or do Hispanics and Asians fall into this group, too) thinks about when she walks in a room is the color of her skin. She might be uncomfortable for reasons known to her alone. But why does she feel comfortable making a blanket statement based on a subjective feeling? Perhaps she could have scientifically polled a meaningful sample of non-African-Americans at New Trier and asked them what they thought when she walked in a room. The results of that survey would be truly valuable at assessing the truth of the situation and attitudes toward race and achievement at New Trier.
    But when subjective feeling substitutes for truth and, worse yet, the basis of an indictment of others, I fail to see the value.

  2. Congratulations to this brilliant young woman. I wonder if the author or readers will realize the very powerful commentary she is making about her school environment. Not the surface-level compliments and appreciation but the more profound commentary on race. My fear is that her story will be another case of African American exceptionalism (i.e., “She’s not like the rest of them.”) to make the dominant groups feel comfortable and progressive. For those who want to know how debilitating “racial spotlighting” can be, please do a simple search on Googlescholar to learn how talented African American students have to deal with this phenomenon and how it taps into liberal feel-good ideologies.

    Again, congrats to this young woman for enduring what she has and managing to be successful in spite of it. A good follow up story would be to make more visible the conditions at New Trier that make her feel like it is necessary to “conduct yourself perfectly in ways that tear you apart” as well as the micro-aggressions that exist in that environment.

    have a nice day.

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