Written By: Catherine Enkema
Dear Newport Harbor,
In an age of a power struggle between insensitivity and social awareness, there seems to be a delicate line between dark humour and blatant opprobrium. The incident on Saturday, March 2nd was one of ignorance and anti-semitism. While I have always been one to have a dark sense of humour, I could not find the situation funny. While teens post things like this to seem “edgy” or “funny”, there is a line.
I’m sure that everyone knows that this wasn’t okay by now. Hopefully. I want to use this platform to write something that will help, not sound like a broken record.
In white culture “forgiveness” is often given to those that have privilege. This means that for people that are angry about the situation that they should “let go” or “not be so uptight”. This gives people a pass to do whatever they want because everyone will forget about it. I am a firm believer that staying angry for the right reasons will get you far.
However, it is important that these students are integrated back into the school while still being taught the lessons of their actions. I’m not here to lecture them, or you, I’m just here to talk.
People are angry.
People are sad.
People are people, and we all feel things differently and grieve at different rates.
You are probably tired of all the cheesy campaigns for kindness, so I won’t beat a dead horse. All I really have to say is: Be respectful. If you have an issue with someone, ask yourself the five second rule. Can the issue be solved in five seconds? For example, someone’s lipstick is on their teeth, their underwear is showing, etc. If it’s NOT able to be “fixed” in five seconds, for example, their sexual orientation, race, freckles, size, disability, keep your mouth shut. It’s as simple as that.
Newport Beach, as well as America in general, has an abundance of issues that are deeply rooted in our society. If you do not see them, you have been lucky enough to be privileged enough to not worry about them. But recognition and using your privilege to help others is the first step to making a better life for people around you – and yourself. We can no longer ignore the social injustices around them. If you believe you are not affected by them, you become part of the issue. Talk to a teacher or trusted adult that is well educated in any social issue you do not understand. We cannot ignore this anymore.
Thank you for taking the time to read this,