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Diverse but Segregated

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Diverse but Segregated

Meya Smith, Editor in Chief

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East is a school full of diversity–we are proud of that. However, it is difficult to ignore the obvious segregation. Diversity should be praised and sought out and while East high has definitely achieved an immense amount of diversity, there is still a long way to go until we can truly say we are integrated..


When I walk into the lunchroom, I notice the dissociation between typically white, higher socioeconomic standing Clayton kids and the typically hispanic or black, lower socioeconomic standing Glendale or Bryant students. As I walk into the Town Hall, where the two gyms are located, it is almost entirely occupied with Tongan kids. So much so, that it is oftentimes referred to as the Tongan hall. Every day as I climb the stairs leading to C floor, I find Asian students sitting with each other and it is rare to find any other race among them.


Cameron Kelsey, a sophomore at East, who attended Clayton Middle School, explains that with his own friends, he spends time with them simply because they are who he has grown up with– not because he isn’t open to being friends with anyone else. He says the demographics do play a part into who he has grown up with and statistics show that most often, higher class is a predominantly white population. Cameron points out “Clayton is…kind of like–not high brow but like their boundaries are like Foothill and above, right? Which is, you know, it’s on the Hills.”


Cameron does believe there are students that self- segregate due to the difference in race and/or social background. When asked if he has ever been discriminated against because of his race or class he was quick to say, “I don’t think I’ve ever been discriminated against on my race. I’m just a white guy. I don’t really have to deal with that issue, right.” When asked if he recognized this as white privilege, he reasoned that when he is being treated a certain way, he doesn’t question if it is because he’s white–he feels it’s based on something else.


However, such a luxury is not open to various groups of minorities. Craig Miller, a new student at East, tells a story of the time he was walking home after a day at school when a police officer pulled his car up to Craig and questioned him as to why he was in the area. After explaining to the officer he was simply walking home, he was left alone. Although the officer did not persist after Craig’s explanation, it is hard to imagine the same scenario happening if Craig were white instead of black.


Denying racial profiling would be foolish as would saying that racism– intentional or not– no longer exists. While listening to Craig’s experience,  I am reminded of the “Stop and Frisk” policy. According to an article on the New York Times , Stop and Frisk is, “Under the Fourth Amendment, police officers can legally stop and detain a person only when they have a reasonable suspicion that the person is committing, has committed or is about to commit a crime.” While I believe the original intention of this policy could have been constitutional and helpful at one point, in New York, it became less of a question of reasonable suspicion and more of a question of what prejudice and stereotypes police officers had. They began to have no valid reason for detaining many minorities. ABC News article,’About 90 Percent of New Yorkers Stopped and Frisked were ‘Innocent,’ Says NYCLU’ explains, “In 2012, New Yorkers were stopped by police 532,911 times. In 55 percent of the cases, the suspect was black and in 10 percent of the cases, the suspect was white. In 89 percent of the cases, “the suspect was innocent.”


Perhaps, within East, we have the same problem of “authorities” being biased as well. Not only is it important for students to be aware of each other’s differences and be accepting of those differences, but it is also the responsibility of teachers. Holding every student’s participation to the same amount of respect and openness is essential to a thriving, diverse school.


In my classes, I take notice of my peers. While I am in my honors classes, I am seemingly surrounded by white students. In 2011,  a common trend arose between the Juniors enrolled in honors classes and whether they were on free or reduced lunch. According to data given to me by Mrs. Praggastis, the AVID coordinator, found on, a site non- accessible to students, within honors classes, 64% of these honors students were not on reduced lunch. In the 2011 junior class, 212 were caucasian and only 47 were on reduced lunch. However of the 241 minorities,  202 of them were on reduced lunch. At East, the juniors who are caucasian were more likely to be in honors classes and score higher on their CRT’s and ACT. They were also less likely to have reduced lunch.


Interestingly, the same source found that in 2011, the students who were on reduced lunch showed to have performed worse in non-honors classes than students who were not on reduced lunch. However, in honors classes, students on reduced lunch performed better than students that were not on reduced lunch. These findings were both based on their CRT proficiency.


Sometimes, I question the dynamics of relationships within classrooms. One day in a class of mine, we were given an assignment where we had to get into two groups and share our adaptations of a children’s story. My group was predominantly white and from Clayton middle school, however, my friend and I were the only students from Glendale. We were sharing our adaptations and when it came time for my friend and I to share, the group skipped over us and asked another white student to share his response. While we may not have been skipped because of our background, it remained the perception my friend and I had. I often feel that my opinions and thoughts are not valued by my upper socioeconomic standing, predominately white peers.


I feel that although I am white, I am not categorized as a “white” student due to my lower socioeconomic stance. I grew up in Glendale and I have been told numerous times that while I am white, I was raised “brown.”  I question what being raised brown entails and the response is generally along the lines of, “you know the struggle.” Meaning the hardship of being raised in a lower socioeconomic home has been classified as “brown.”  Herein lies the problem with stereotyping different races and the ties to their financial  background. I have come to find there are a vast amount of minority students who believe that white students have “easy” lives. While it seems as though white privilege and other factors have made the lives of caucasian people less difficult within the system when compared to the lives of minority students, I feel it is important to be aware that life is hard for everyone, however, institutionalized racism is the reality and it is something that all ethnicities need to confront..


Now that we recognize there is a problem, we need to know how it came to be in the first place before we can take the steps to becoming a more integrated school. South High School closed in 1988 and was located where the Salt Lake Community College campus currently is today. The school was considered to be for the poor and what is usually considered to be the minority was the majority on campus. As a result of the school closing, the diversity skyrocketed within other Salt Lake district schools. The interaction between the Eastside and Westside was described to me, by former potential South High student, Jennifer Wilkinson, who had been moved to East after the closing, to be merely for exchange of drugs. She explained that besides this interaction, the students kept to their peers who were more like themselves based on race and socioeconomic backgrounds. Jennifer described the attitude that Eastside students, as well as teachers, was as if Westside students were scary or not worth the time or effort to better their education. She referenced the lunchroom area, saying even then, the placement was nearly the same. The Westside students were put into the basement her freshmen year while the original East high students were upstairs with windows and better classrooms.


As of now, we should be able to realize we are all human and should all be accepted as well as able to integrate with each other. The new president, Donald Trump, has instilled fear in those who are not straight, white, and male seeing as though during the election up to today, there have been multiple instances where minorities in all categories, whether it be gender, race, class, or abilities, have faced unfair harassment; such as the instance in which he mocked a reporter with a disability, and the times in which Trump has said racial comments and encouraged his supporters to harass minorities.  I can not say that I know how to ensure everyone will be treated fairly in regards to opportunity, respect, or simple human rights. However, I can say that in order to accomplish something big, you must start small.


Within East, we can begin this small step. We have the opportunity to take action, we have to stop assigning certain characteristics to certain racial or socioeconomic backgrounds. We have to  stop judging each other based off our appearances, religious views, and livelihood.


Cameron brings up a valid point in saying he is friends with people he grew up with. However, what if we could find a way to introduce our backgrounds to each other when we are young. We could create an environment where our community expands to all feeder school district at elementary level and we enjoy activities together. A day of integration where elementary age students who are projected to enroll in East High come to play with each other and introduce themselves. As they get older, we continue these days of integration. With younger children, they seem to be less likely to have certain biases and more likely to  branch out and make new friends.


America is a melting pot of different cultures. When we as a nation learn the importance of coming together, learning about different lifestyles and backgrounds, we can begin to make real progress. Not only will we be more educated of the world and its people, I feel we will also become more peaceful. Martin Luther King said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” I ask you, love one another– form bonds, learn from each other.


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Meya Smith, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Meya Smith is entering her senior year as Co-Editor-In-Chief, along with Mason Thomas.

Throughout Meya’s years in journalism, she has been Editor-in-Chief...


26 Responses to “Diverse but Segregated”

  1. Emma Flood on May 22nd, 2017 12:49 pm

    I love going to East because we are so diverse. I grew up in communities with little to no diversity and choosing to go here truly was a change for the better.

  2. Jenifer Moreno on May 23rd, 2017 1:57 pm

    I honestly love how you’ve explained the issue and connected it to the school. It’s something that everyone sees yet no one talks about it .

  3. Ozzly rallis on May 23rd, 2017 2:01 pm

    You did a very good job showing one of the realest issues we have at East.

  4. adviser on May 23rd, 2017 2:02 pm

    one more sentence

  5. sabrine hassen on May 23rd, 2017 2:05 pm

    I strongly agree with this article. Every time I walk down to lunch I always notice how the majority of schools only sits with their kind. My friends and I sometimes sit at the time and really just be like “Wow.. this school is really diverse but segregated at the same time.” I think people just need to step out of their comfort zone and meet new people not from their kind we could also learn a lot from others.

  6. Kathryn on May 23rd, 2017 2:07 pm

    Your article really speaks the truth because to this day even after everything segregation still exists, and as much as people wish there was more diversity in schools there’s no guarantee that it will happen. No matter how much we try to be equal with everyone there will probably always be segregation.

  7. Nunia Latu on May 23rd, 2017 2:07 pm

    I couldn’t agree more with your article. Even though at East where it’s so diverse, we only talk to people who we grew up with or the same as our selves. We should get out of our comfort zone and get to know our diverse school.

  8. Carmen Olmedo on May 23rd, 2017 2:15 pm

    i liked how you showed how real the diversity is at east, how people mostly only hang out with there race/ethnicity

  9. Davis Wright on May 23rd, 2017 2:17 pm

    I totally agree with your article. I have seen examples similar to the ones you gave in your article.

  10. Valentin Naranjo on May 23rd, 2017 2:22 pm

    I agree with this article completely, however I do have some reservations regarding the solution to segregated schools. You mentioned in the article how poverty has an influence on integration, and it does have one. However the problem was that depending on whether you are rich or poor influences where you live, and the majority in poverty is minority. So I believe until we begin eliminating poverty segregation will continue.

  11. Jason Robb on May 23rd, 2017 2:27 pm

    We are diverse if looking from the outside. But once you look from the inside, we are definetely “segregated” however it is done internally by us students for sure.

  12. Tieni Tupou on May 24th, 2017 1:36 pm

    I really enjoyed reading this article. I never realized how diverse but segregated we are as a school. I am in student senate and George always talked about how segregated our school is and he wanted to change that.

  13. Wyatt Dean on May 24th, 2017 1:37 pm

    Though it is a pure article trying to convey your thoughts, your thoughts did not fully reach me, the article went off on tangents and lost sight of its true focus. Overall the article is very nice and shines some light on the elephant in the room.

  14. Wyatt Dean on May 24th, 2017 1:44 pm

    By pure I mean the intentions of the article, there is no malice in the article and it is very heartwarming but loses sight of what you were trying to convey. Sorry for the confusion

  15. brianna rodriguez on May 24th, 2017 1:43 pm

    I strongly agree with you! I see where your point of view is coming from we are a diverse school but segregation is still around and will continue to be around until poverty is eliminated.

  16. lorena figueroa on May 24th, 2017 1:50 pm

    I agree to this article, from my perspective and friends we come into east high and feel like we sometimes don’t belong here. we all deserve so be here no matter where we come from or the color of our skin. we need to stop treating people different.

  17. Dennise on May 24th, 2017 1:59 pm

    Before coming to this school I attended a smaller middle school/ high school and because of the area where the school is located there was basically only three major racial groups, African American, Asian, and Hispanics. And as much as I hated that school because it had so many problems self segregation was not one of them. I’m glad someone brought up this issue that we have in East because having friends from different background is more interesting and fun. Resolving this issue would better the school in some many ways.

  18. Ashley Vargas on May 24th, 2017 2:08 pm

    I love the fact that this article is addressing a topic that isn’t usually brought up. Sometimes, sadly, its the own teachers who are biased towards one group, whether it be because of race or status. We need to be discussing more of these ‘uncomfortable’ topics to find a solution and change our ways.

  19. Jenny Bui on May 25th, 2017 8:22 am

    I agree so much with your article. I always see how diverse our school is. Like you said in the article i always see the Asians on the c floor stairs hanging out, i always see the Tongans around the tall hall. Reason why we’re so segregated is because we’re scared to step out of our box and talk to new people of other races so we stick to our own little group. I don’t know how we could possibly try and change this but we should to make our school more diverse than it already is

  20. luciano acosta on May 25th, 2017 8:28 am

    i agree with you it is divers but it not all the way. you and find all the same race in one area all the time we arnt mix all the way yet

  21. kodiak on May 25th, 2017 8:39 am

    This article is cool because it really shows how diverse east is as a school.

  22. Oscar Arriaga on May 25th, 2017 8:40 am

    I really enjoyed reading this article and I do see the segregation in our school. I can say I do hangout with the people who share the same background as me but, I also try to make friends who are different than me and I get to know them and its really different finding out that there background Is different than yours.

  23. Dyllan Recinos on May 25th, 2017 8:41 am

    It is true that we are diverse but yet it is so obvious that we still segregate from one another. Like Jenny said we all need to get out of our box and talk to new people we need to stop being so scared of that.

  24. Jack Eliason on May 25th, 2017 8:44 am

    Great job showing how much we need to work on the diversity and how we need to work on socializing with different ethnic groups. Great work with this article!

  25. Jorge Garcia on May 25th, 2017 8:57 am

    Amazing and long article, Powerful meaning in your sentences. I’ve notice a lot what you’re saying around this school, but I hang out everyone that wants to talk with me. Amazing work on this article, keep up the good work!

  26. Htoo on May 30th, 2017 11:50 am

    I agreed with your article. We do hang out with the people we know from middle school or grow up with. We feel comfortable and safe being with the people we knew all our life. I think we are just afraid of people we don’t know really well.
    Amazing article though. It tell us the problem withing east and how it all connect to all of us.

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