Promote Racial Awareness and Diversity Within the Rye High School Student Body and Faculty

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Rye High School was founded upon the basis of “pursuing excellence”, as its mission states. The recent injustice surrounding George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breanna Taylor (among innumerable others) has sparked a social movement whereupon the voices of black students and people of color are finally being heard. We, as Rye High School alumni, ask that Rye High School beg the question: are we doing enough to preserve the moral compass we strive to achieve through our very mission. 

Based on data reported by the NYS government, Rye’s student body is 82% white, and 1% black. Given such racial discrepancy, you would assume that Rye High School would attempt to provide more diversity, whether through hiring diverse faculty, or diversifying the student body itself. However, in all our years at Rye High School, very rarely have we been taught by a person of color. Such a development places emphasis upon the fact that we, as a community, are not doing enough to educate our students upon the many hardships students of color may experience. As a result, we are promoting the subsistence of racism and xenophobia, as experienced by many of our nonwhite students. Students may not even be aware of their own racism, as it is either ‘implicit’ or ‘explicit’. Since the black community was so greatly outnumbered by white faculty and students, experiences were never truly understood nor heard. 

To give an example, some of us have been told we ‘act too white’ for a ‘black person’. Such microinvalidations and microinsults adhere to unjust stereotypes, and invalidate our own identity. Thus, they perpetuate the very racial injustices plaguing America as we speak. When did we ever question the ‘whiteness’ of our fellow students? Our experiences should emphasize how much of a privilege it is to be white in a privileged place like Rye, NY. We need to listen to the voices of Rye’s 1%.

Although we are thankful to have attended a wonderful high school, we ask that: Rye implement structural changes, attract more diverse faculty and students in order to make sure its student body is not left with tunnel vision. If not now, then when? We are at a critical point in American history, and now, more than ever, change is necessary. No longer can we stand idly by as our mixed and black students are left marginalized. We need our students to broaden their perspectives. Rye needs to abide by its very mission, because leaving students shielded from reality only hurts them in the strive for “excellence”. We would love if you could read our full proposal below: