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Nilda's Take

Cathedral High School
10th Grade
Age 15

Cathedral High School is very diverse. First off, I know what you're thinking-how diverse can it be? It's an all-girl school, but everyone is different in their own way. In fact, there are many different races represented at Cathedral. This is a good thing, but certain teachers put teenagers in categories depending on their backgrounds. It's a problem and it happens, especially in my school.

Among a certain group, such as Hispanics, they're stereotyped as living in the projects or living off welfare--so are African-Americans. But it's not fair to judge an entire group and it's especially unfair to the majority that works hard for what they have. Young Hispanic women, like myself, have access to better programs today and strive to get a good education--better than our parents, but most of us are still put down for being young, a woman, and/or Hispanic. And for those that are not doing well, typically, they've had a bad childhood and the adults around them have not been supportive. Adults talk down to them--tell them that because of their bad past, they won't make it and the child begins to live down to their reputation.

Teachers have a lot of problems dealing with diversity so they categorize teenagers. They seem to categorize us by saying young Latin or African-American women will either end up getting pregnant by the time they're in high school or by the time they graduate from high school. They spend less time and energy encouraging us. Another way they categorize us is with whom we hang out with or where we live. Teachers need to learn how to talk to teenagers and know that we're not all the same. Even though a student may not be 'white,' she is capable of doing what any other color can do. No matter where you're from or who you hang out with that doesn't mean you're a bad person. Regardless of your race, you should never be told that you can't make it in the world. No one should be put down or put in a category just because of their background.