Phillips Academy has a history that puts it among one of the leaders in secondary school diversity. Since admittance of its first black student Thomas Paul Smith, class of 1838, Andover has made steady progress in ensuring that the Acadamey holds firmly to its motto, “Youth From Every Quarter.” Despite this motto, Andover is not immune to the prejudice and discrimination that are still firmly engrained in the fabrics of society. The goal of this project is to explore the covert racism at Andover and its effects on the overall student body. According to Jamie Utt, a diversity specialist, covert racism “crouches behind the façade of politeness or “political correctness” and expediency, and exists in the coded language, symbols, and calls for “color blindness” that profess equality but continues to limit, discriminate and oppress. Rather than being openly and obviously discriminatory towards others of a certain race, covert racism works through subliminal and subconscious forms where the oppressor does not realize that his or her actions may be viewed as oppression. By supporting forms of structural violence, covert racism becomes a perpetrator for racial oppression. This project therefore is a case study of the racial oppression at Andover. Through live and written interviews of African-American minority students at Andover, I hope to bring light to an issue that many students at this school do not even view as a problem and encourage discussion among our diverse student body.
The point of this blog is to simply raise awareness for the different forms of micro aggression that happen at Andover, and hopefully to encourage discussion among peers about ways to address the issue. The best way to prevent unintentional forms of discrimination towards peers is to know and understand how your seemingly benign statements might be interpreted by another student. On rare occasions, micro aggressions might not have harmful or immediate effects, after a while however, the accumulation of micro aggressions dehumanizes and marginalizes students of other races. After repeatedly hearing messages of how, because of their race, students are supposed to act or be a certain way, students begin to feel that their talents, failures, accomplishments and behaviors are more so attributed to their race rather than their actions.
The purpose of this blog is not to display the ignorance of students and teachers but to identify comments, actions and remarks that may have been spoken with good intentions but have made students feel uncomfortable.
This blog provides a platform for documentation of micro aggression at Andover and ways to be aware of the covert forms of racism that takes place. It also serves as a medium for discussion that allows students to post and comment about issues of discrimination at Andover.
Currently, this blog primarily focuses on micro-aggressions towards black female students and faculty as well. In the future, I hope to expand this blog to include all forms of diversity including sexual, gender, and socioconomical.