Guest commentary: The view from another window

Brooklyn Hinton, Guest Writer

While living in Naperville, I have concluded that every parent wants their child to receive the best education to become productive members of society. However, for Black students, this goal comes with obstacles that other races may not have to face.

Growing up as an African American female in a predominantly White school and environment, I’ve had many feelings of isolation and exclusion from my peers and adults in the classroom. The educational and social ramifications have negatively affected my socio-emotional development and increased my feelings of seclusion as a whole. 

Whenever I joined a club or sports team, or even went to a social room, the first thoughts were: am I going to be the only Black person in the whole classroom? Am I going to get looks of hatred? Am I good enough?

Sure enough, I would see that almost no one else looked like me. I attempted to carry myself in a way that made the majority feel comfortable. Those near-constant thoughts in my head have been mentally, socially and emotionally draining throughout the years, and eventually, I became disconnected from myself.

One day, I realized the effect this had on me. I was constantly trying to appease others and find validation. I decided to take steps to become more connected with my culture and also help educate others. One of the things I did to satisfy my need to embrace my culture and educate those who may want to know more about it was to join Black history based initiatives like the Black and Latino Association and the Black History Month Planning Committee. 

These groups gave me purposes: planning the activities for Black History Month, emphasizing the importance of Black culture,and highlighting people of color in District 203. I’ve been able to contribute to making sure that all of my peers at Central are fully aware of the vast and enriching history of African-American successes. These changes not only help others develop awareness and understanding but have helped me in my journey at Central. I’ve been able to reconnect with my culture and myself, allowing me to make the best out of what should be the best years of my high school experience.