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Racism in Schools

Cesar Nateras

classroom with empty desksIt started in elementary school. I noticed it everywhere in school: racism from teachers, bus drivers, coaches, and even students.

When I went to school, I didn’t have many friends. I didn’t talk much. I think that’s what gave the teacher the idea that I didn’t speak English. When the teacher asked a question, I was willing to answer. But I was never called on. They never looked my way, and it made me lose my self esteem. So I just didn’t talk to a lot of people.

A few years passed, and then I was in middle school. One day, the teacher tried to talk to me in Spanish, and he looked at me like I was slow. He made me feel stupid. In fact, I don’t speak Spanish. The rest of the day he kept talking to me in Spanish. The class thought that it was funny: a Mexican that can’t speak Spanish.

I started to shut everybody out. I didn’t have a reason to talk to anybody. I felt like I was a mute. I felt like I didn’t exist.

Cesar NaterasYou might come to the conclusion that it was the teacher who made me drop out of school. But the real reason was that I stopped talking. I should have stayed in school and stood up for my education. Now I don’t have a problem with standing up for what is right. I’m a better and stronger person. I’m willing to fight for my rights and my education and knowledge. What I learned from this experience is: never give up.

Cesar Nateras is a student at LearningQuest in Modesto, CA. He wants to get his GED and work for the city of Modesto or as an astrophysicist. He was raised back and forth between Modesto, CA, and Cairo, GA.

Back to Issue 42