Letters to the editor (September 2012)
I really connected with the stories about racial profiling. Growing up in South Los Angeles near Jefferson High School, I am used to seeing those types of things every day. Iâ€™ve seen people walking down the street in baggy clothing and my immediate reaction was, â€śThis person must be in a gangâ€ť or â€śThis person seems dangerous,â€ť and I could have been wrong. Iâ€™ve decided that Iâ€™m not going to judge someone without getting to know them first.
Barrina Thompson,Â Hollywood HS
I really think it is unfair that the police think you could be a criminal just because of your skin color. Itâ€™s sad that the writer felt unsafe outside because of what he wore or how he looked.
Jocelyne Juarez,Â Centennial College Preparatory Academy (Huntington Park)
The articles about racial profiling by Maceo Bradley and Andrew Chen were really interesting. It was nice reading about not only how people are being discriminated against, but how people discriminate as well. This shows that people who discriminate arenâ€™t always bad. Sometimes they are just regular people who discriminate without knowing it.
Nemesis Gutierrez,Â Hollywood HS
Racial profiling can be very hurtful. It can lower your self-esteem in ways you couldnâ€™t imagine. But you canâ€™t exactly help yourself. As humans, I believe our minds are programmed to think that anybody who looks suspicious is dangerous. For example, if youâ€™re standing on a corner waiting for the bus and you suddenly see a person with a hood, you immediately assume that theyâ€™ll pull out a gun or something. Like the writer said, when youâ€™re in the heat of the moment, you donâ€™t know what to do. But assumptions can hurt a lot. Racial profiling should never be allowed because no one would enjoy it if they were the ones being judged.
Eulalia Tamayo,Â Camino Nuevo Charter Academy
Iâ€™ve been profiled before because Iâ€™m Hispanic and because Iâ€™m a resident of the â€śghettoâ€ťâ€”South Central Los Angelesâ€”but I have also profiled individuals of other races. A change will occur when everyone takes a step to do something. For me, I feel like Iâ€™m living in the shadow of past generations and the endless misconceptions of South Central. Yes, the city isnâ€™t glamorous or filled with wealthy people, but it is more than what meets the eye. I am a straight-A student, but no one would ever guess that. Because of my Hispanic background, adults usually assume Iâ€™m in gangs, doing drugs, or will drop out of school. For anyone who has ever thought that about me, you should know that I will accomplish my goals instead. When I have a career, I will be thankful for my roots because they motivate me.
Monica Martinez,Â Hollywood HS
I feel like all non-white people get racially profiled. Sometimes at 7-11 police look at me while I walk around the store and get something to drink. After I leave, they keep watching my every move. I know I havenâ€™t done anything wrong, so why me? There are other people in the store, but they decide just to look at me because Iâ€™m Latino. I donâ€™t mean to hate, but when I see a white guy walking at night, cops wonâ€™t stop him, but when my Mexican friend was walking home at night, police stopped him and searched him. Canâ€™t the cops just leave us alone until they know for sure that something is wrong? Why are we being watched if we live in the land of the free?
Billy Joel Rosales,Â Camino Nuevo Charter Academy
A girl worried that she wasnâ€™t as smart as students from wealthier schools
The article â€śWill my best be good enough?â€ť is amazing! Three years ago I was a bright student, but I did not understand why I had low scores when it came to SATs. A lot of the vocabulary on that test was far ahead of my level. I felt bummed. One teacher told me to not let one measly test put me down and to still apply to as many colleges as I wanted to. I ended up with eight universities to choose from! When I started college, I noticed a couple of my classmates were academically ahead of me. I knew I had to work twice as hard to catch up to them. I took advantage of the resources my campus offered, such as tutoring. Now Iâ€™m a college senior who has made the Deanâ€™s list several times at Cal State Long Beach. I have come to appreciate hard work and learned an important lesson: you are more than just one test!
Alma Pacheco,Â Comment from layouth.com
I enjoyed reading the article, â€śWill my best be good enough?â€ť because of how similar it was to how I feel. I am also from a Mexican family and neither of my parents finished high school. I know that if I donâ€™t do well in school and get scholarships, I wonâ€™t have enough money to pay for college. Last year I took a test to qualify for AP Calculus. Since AP classes are basically college classes, I expected the test to be challenging. However, I didnâ€™t expect it to completely confuse me and make me feel dumb. I go to an LAUSD school and worry that other districts offer a better education because they have more money. Just as the SAT workshop was a wake-up call for the author, the AP test opened my eyes and made me see that I need to work hard to get where I want.
Jose Cruz,Â Hollywood HS
I relate to the article, â€śWill my best be good enough?â€ť My mom is Mexican, and she finished high school before she had to take care of her little sisters. She wanted to go to a prestigious university in Mexico, but unfortunate events stopped her from doing so. She is my motivation and always gives me advice or stays with me when Iâ€™m studying or up late at night doing a project. I am living the dream she has. I want to go to one of the best colleges because I want to prove that kids who have Latin American parents can be as good as anyone else. This article was also a wake-up call for me so I know what to expect. My teacher says, â€śYou think youâ€™re smart, but out there, there are kids smarter than you and smarter than them.â€ť I really want my high school to prepare me for college.
Sandy Hernandez,Â Camino Nuevo Charter Academy
Donâ€™t say mental health slurs
I could really connect with the article, â€śThink before you speak.â€ť Like Julia, I hear people around school using words like â€śOCDâ€ť and â€śbipolar.â€ť I have to admit that I say things like that sometimes. But after reading this article, I realized that I shouldnâ€™t say those things about people. Most people say it as a joke, but when you think about it, itâ€™s not funny. This article changed my perspective. From now on, Iâ€™m going to be more careful with what I say.
Melody Nazarbegian,Â Wilson MS (Glendale)
A girl learned about mental illness
The article, â€śOpening my mind,â€ť gives readers a look into bipolar disorder and how mental diseases are not always like the ones you see on TV. Many people with mental disorders can live regular lives when they get the right treatment. Thanks for informing people about how mental illnesses work and how they can be brought on by trauma or stress.
Gaby Cordova,Â Hollywood HS
Advice from a college admissions officer
I liked the article, â€śHow colleges pick who gets in.â€ť I felt like I could connect with the writer because he feels that even though he has good grades, he might not be one of the top picks to get into the university of his choice. Like him, I feel like I am at a disadvantage and that white people get more chances because they are richer and both their parents probably know English. On the other hand, the article said that those who come from a bad background could be seen as having made it out of their bad environments. I live in South Central Los Angeles and hopefully colleges look at me as working hard to get out of the ghetto.
Jeffrey Puebla,Â Hollywood HS
The article, â€śHow colleges pick who gets in,â€ť was very interesting and helpful. Thanks to this article I am able to relax and believe that if I work hard enough and challenge myself more then Iâ€™ll be able to get into college. Now I can see that even the students with the least amount of opportunities can still get into college as long as they persevere.
Karen Pino,Â Hollywood HS
Is graffiti art?
I found the article â€śRedefining artâ€ť inspiring. I enjoyed how the writer described street art as a way for the artist to express himself or herself to the world. Iâ€™ve always wanted to go see the amazing street art on the walls at Venice Beach. Iâ€™ve always found street art to be very beautiful. The article inspired me to search for more art from famous and non-famous street artists. I would like to become a street artist one day. Some of the street art speaks to me and I hope I can create a masterpiece.
Yamilette Ponce,Â Paramount HS
A website about college caused a girl to freak out
My favorite article was â€śA website about college freaked me out.â€ť College is a dream for me, but as it gets closer, I seem less college bound. I can relate to the writer because I want to do things for college, but I also want to do things that I like. As worried as I am about not getting in, I know that somehow all I am doing will pay off. Other people can make me feel like I am not good enough, but at the end if I work hard, I will one day reach my dream.
Susan Cifuentes,Â Hollywood HS