DM vs. AE – Is There Still Racial Divide Between Black and Hispanic & Asian Students?

To answer the question simply, yes. There is still a divide between Black and Hispanic students and Asian students on our campus. But not for the reasons you might expect because this divide doesn’t make sense, really. The Academies are completely integrated racially, and Dwight Morrow students frequently interact with Academy students, so why is there still a divide? I believe the issue comes down to socio-economic class rather than race or academics. 

Essentially, it is harder to relate to someone who belongs to a different class from you. Because the Academies is a magnet program, it attracts students from different towns and different economic backgrounds. It can be intimidating to walk up to an Asian student wearing a Canada Goose coat versus a Black student wearing a coat from Burlington and the other way around, too. In the years I have attended this school, I have seen firsthand how difficult it can be to understand or connect with someone from a different economic background. Having conversations about homework that boils down to the understanding of how outside help is a factor for some that you cannot afford, or hearing about lavish trips across the country or abroad, definitely makes it hard to establish personal connections with peers in a higher class than you. 

While it can be easy to assume that race is the most prevalent influence in the divide between students at our school and in society, I think the disconnect is money. In general, students in the Academies, whether Black, Asian, or Hispanic, typically belong to the upper-middle class whereas their Dwight Morrow counterparts most likely come from lower-middle class backgrounds.

However, there is a way to combat this disconnect and that is through joining clubs and extracurriculars. Coming into my freshman year, I was unsure of how I would ever relate to more affluent students, but I was able to meet the people behind the money by joining different clubs on campus and I learned that they are open and kind and talented people too. While it may be intimidating to meet the people around you who may seem different from you, I encourage you to try. 

Any divide that you may feel exists is not simple, but it can be mitigated with a change in attitude and by trying to get to know all students regardless of their backgrounds.