Students at the Mary Institute and St. Louis Country Day School in St. Louis recently spoke out after experiencing so-called discrimination due to their support for President-elect Donald Trump, according to River Front Times.
A black alumnus of the school responded to the students’ complaints with a detailed description of her own experiences with “casual racism,” which she said took place over her eight years at the school.
In a post on her LinkedIn titled, Casual Racism and Political Discussion in St. Louis Private School, Leah Thomas wrote, “I was one of five black girls in my class and that experience has had one of the biggest impacts on my life. I learned from an early age how to assimilate and code-switch in unfamiliar environments.”
The students who complained about their experiences with anti-Trump rhetoric received an apology letter from the Head of School. To that, Thomas wrote that while she doesn’t expect an apology letter of her own, her purpose in writing the post was to detail the “very real experiences that [she] had as a black student in a Missouri private school,” which she was simply told to “deal with.”
Thomas then detailed some of her experiences over the years. For instance, in the fifth grade, students joked that a gorilla that was drawn on a classroom whiteboard “depicted a black student in the class.”
In the seventh grade, someone told her, “Leah you’re not really black,” before proceeding to explain how eloquently she spoke. In the eighth grade, as President Obama spoke at his 2008 inauguration, Thomas overheard someone say, “Why do we have to watch this, black people have rights now.”
She finished her post by noting that all students deserve to be treated respectfully, but that institutional racism deserves to be contextualized at the private Missouri school.
She added that, “if MICDS and other similar private schools want to address political civility, they should also soothe the minorities who are too scared of sounding ‘ungrateful’ because they’re 1 of 5 latino students or 1 of 6 black students.”