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Ethnic Studies gives students a new perspective

By Cyrus Shakeri 

Staff Writer

Many problems have been occurring regarding race and immigrants. More and more controversial topics seem to be coming to light every day. There have been innocent killings of African-American males and desperate immigrants from Honduras trying to get into the United States. Most schools don’t converse about these topics. However, recently schools have been adopting a new class called Ethnic Studies. In this course, students are tasked with correctly dealing with situations regarding race and controversy. Students learn about historical figures of color and parts of the timeline that are not traditionally taught in school history classes. 

Angel Barragan, the teacher for Ethnic Studies, talked about how young people might react differently compared to older people: “I feel like older people often think more about what they say, and I believe younger people react faster to these situations.”

Mr. Barragan offered his view on how to improve race relations, “I believe in raising awareness, and I believe that people keep in mind a way to grow together and that each race could find ground on feeling safe with each other.”

Tahoma senior Alex Heredia, the T.A for Ethnic Studies, talked about the impact and effect that the class has on the students and what the goal of the class is: “Students are learning how to fight and correctly solve situations with racial oppression and other racial issues. The students in our class are also learning about ongoing situations regarding the border and immigrants trying to get through.”

Heredia reflected on the personal impact the class has had on him: “It’s opened my eyes in the fact that I’m able to help a lot more people and in doing that I’m learning about a lot of different backgrounds in cultures, so it’s kinda like a win-win.”

When asked about the topics covered in the class, Heredia said, “The things we’re talking about in this class currently is immigration and police brutality, and we talk about a lot of historical figures of color and how they made an impact on society.”

Tahoma freshman Jacob Silva discussed how Ethnic Studies has impacted him: “It’s made the way I’ve seen the world different because it’s easier to understand the struggles and differences other races go through on a day-to-day basis.”

Silva explained his view on what could be changed in Ethnic Studies, saying, “To better Ethnic Studies, I would suggest if we got deeper and discovered more about other ethnicities from our own.”

After discussing what kind of topics the class could reflect more on, Silva said, “I would want to reflect more on the reasons that we have different stereotypes and different profiles, and I would like to know how those were created and how we can avoid being judged and stereotyped.”

Silva feels that Ethnic Studies has made him more open-minded: “It’s easier to understand and view both sides of the situation on racial topics.”

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