Spec Message from the Editors: In our premier issue we decided on the theme of “Identity.” What does identity mean to the students at Hotchkiss? How do students view their idenities in the context of the world around them? This issue is a compilation of the diverse responses we recieved to our prompt. Diversity is something that The Hotchkiss School boasts proudly, and, as a community, we are all the better for it. The differing backgrounds and opinions of students at this school are what allow us to foster a spirit of learning and understanding.
However, outside of classes, we do not create forums for students to freely and openly voice their thoughts. The lack of personal intercommunication about certain issues is what we at Spectrum hope to address. We hope you enjoy,
Karen Ahn ‘17, Mariah Bell ‘17, Sherman Cravens ‘18, Thunder Keck ‘17
Art by Páola Karapátakis
My Identity | Priyanka Kumar
My Identity | Ian Gill
A Plea for Latinx and Hispanic Curriculumn | Sophia de Pena
Art by Wan Lin Qin
Art by Sifei Wang
Art by Mariah Bell
My Identity | Jeremy Navarro
My Culture | Julia Henderson
Beauty | Thunder Keck
My Story | Regan McCall
Racism | Jazzi Rhodes
Art by Cecily Craighead
Art by Rosie Villano
Art by Karen Ahn
Black Pride | Mariah Bell
“We Are Not Okay” Survery Responses
The Spectrum of
Origins of Truth Páola Karapatákis We base our fundamental beliefs and morals on the experiences we live through, as well as every teaching we inherit from our childhood influences. “Origins of Truth” represents both these first and second hand experiences. On the top right, first hand experiences are shown in opaque warm shades of yellow and orange. The opacity and concentration of the first hand experiences show the stronger grasp we have on first hand knowledge, since we actually take part in the event and the effects are more everlasting. The cool blue and green colors on the left hand side, representing second hand knowledge, are more scattered and transparent to resemble how individuals may forget the lessons they learned from childhood influences as they go through life, and their views change with their experiences. The vast variation of colors and mark making with the dripping and splattering was included to show that these experiences have different effects on each individual’s beliefs and values. The two types of truths combine as they overlap and mix throughout, to substantiate how we need both types of truths in our lives to fully develop our understanding of morality and which fundamental beliefs we should count as true.
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My Identity Priyanka Kumar
Who am I? I am a fifteen year old female from Upstate, New York. I am a first generation born American citizen from India. What do I stand for? I am a Hindu and a feminist who believes in the equality and fair treatment of all people, regardless of their gender, race, socioeconomic status, or other factors. What am I scared of? I hate spiders. I fear disappointing myself. Did I mention I hate spiders? What do I value? I admire hard work and sacrifice. I value generosity and acts of kindness, and I believe in God. What do I always carry with me? A pencil, a notebook, sheet music, a math problem, and a smile. What do I live for? I live for a better tomorrow, where each day I am a smarter and better person than the last. I live my life with the goal of at least leaving a small mark in a great, big world and maybe finding happiness along the way. What do I think matters most? Family and friends. Always-- through the ups, downs, and spirals in between. Then what is my identity? It is all of these things- my ethnicity, values, age, fears, nationality, ideals, gender, beliefsanything and everything that defines me, shapes my character, and makes me unique. My identity influences my actions and makes my experiences relate to who I am as a human being, using all parts of me. What does my identity look like? It is like a bottle of sand art, except the different colors of sand aren’t in layers and are instead mixed in all together. They can’t be separated from each other. My experiences are intersectional. They are not unique to me as an American and a Hindu like separate entities, but instead it’s by being whole as a Hindu American. So who am I? I am Priyanka Kumar. This is who I am and I’m proud of my identity. Who are you?
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My Identity People’s identities are always in some danger, but political correctness does not aid the path towards a better tomorrow with greater ability to express one’s identity. Rather, these things instead serve as a roadblock to people’s freedom of expression. One’s identity is their qualities, beliefs, and morals that distinguish them. If people are not allowed to express their beliefs freely, then the cornerstone to American freedoms will be in danger. The First Amendment grants people the right to free speech and freedom of the press, and silencing opponents to one’s beliefs or attempting to censor their press is, as the Virginian Declaration of Rights states, the work of despotic governments. At Yale University last year, the Christakises, two members of the faculty, were put under pressure by the student body. They ultimately quit their posts. Erika Christakis had made a comment about a dress code for students’ Halloween costumes, stating, “Whose business is it to control the forms of costumes of young people? Not mine, I know that.” Many students were disturbed by Erika’s statement, and they confronted her husband, Nicholas, on November 5, 2015, shouting at him that he had made the place unlivable. They went on to harass him, calling him a racist and saying that he was promoting violence. Nicholas, a promoter of free speech, tried to have a conversation, but the student shouted him
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down, saying, “This is not a debate!” The problem with this situation is not that students became upset. There were probably many students who felt a certain amount of disrespect by Erika’s words, and they have the right to voice their opinions about her statement. The problem is that the students were not willing to allow Nicholas to speak and give his perspective of the situation. By not allowing a constructive discussion to take place, these students are not only endangering the Christkises’ right to free speech, or even endangering the idea of free speech in general at Yale. They are also endangering their own identity. Many may be asking how an article calling for the protection of free speech is related to protecting every person’s identity, which I hope to prove. Undoubtedly, when these students were silencing Nicholas, they were not allowing him to express his identity. I am not talking about gender identity, sexual orientation, or ethnicity. I am talking about his personal beliefs and the worldview that distinguishes him. By doing this, the students are also lessening the ability for them to express their individuality and identity, because these students are making a belief uniform - they are not allowing any opposing opinions, even if they are considered radical. By singularizing beliefs, there is little room for individuality, that which makes us different from everyone else.
Everyone’s identity is slightly dulled down when even one belief is made completely uniform, with not only resentment of but even forced submission upon some ideas. Our ideas are all different, but that is what makes us unique as humans and individuals, and completely unifying even one idea at a time will eventually take a toll on all people’s individuality and identity. By silencing your opponents’ views, you are indeed also dulling your own identity in the future. Therefore, let us embrace freedom of speech, even though it gives people the right to say hateful things. By going into constructive dialogue, there is hope of changing hate into acceptance; by quieting someone’s hate, you are only making them keep the hate inside. Next time someone challenges your identity or your views, do not try to silence them. Rather, welcome their ideas with a critic’s ear in order to have more constructive dialogue and retain your identity in the process. The right to free speech is not only vital to American society, but also essential to individualizing identities.
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A Plea for Latinx and Hispanic Curriculum Sophia de PeĂąa At the beginning of this school year, the Hotchkiss community came together in solidarity to hear the voices of individuals who felt under or misrepresented by the establishment. Students held up signs describing their grievances and took part in a fishbowl, taking turns to share their thoughts.
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As I listened to each story shared, my mind overshadowed by the likes of Moby Dick. latched onto the notion of Hotchkiss’ Eurocentric However, at the end of the year, I was curriculum. My own thoughts wandered to my given hope. During the weekend before Martin underclassman years in the Humanities program Luther King Jr. Day, a series of events ignited a and the many readings and lessons that were cry for change, much like the one we saw earlier shared. However, as someone who identifies as this year. The students were promised that Hispanic and Latina, my reflection quickly turned change and committees were to be formed by the sour. I could not recall a single writer, philosopher, faculty, but the moment left as quickly as it came. or segment of history that connected with my Communication between the administration identity. This troubled me greatly, as I know there and the students faltered and the desire for is no lack of incredibly gifted Latinx and Hispanic diversity took a backseat to finals and graduation. authors, some favorites of mine being: Gabriel Fortunately, the student body had no intentions Garcia Marquez, Sandra Cisneros, and Mario to let the momentum die this year. A diversity Vargas Llosa. Appalled by these absences, I found committee was formed and a campaign was started myself unable to concentrate on the day ahead. in order to “break the Hotchkiss bubble”. Although After talking to others who shared my sentiments, I could not be happier about the progress, this is I recalled an experience I had my lower-mid year. not enough. October 15th ended the celebration of Towards the end of the first Hispanic Heritage Month. The extent semester, lower-mids are asked to which the school supported such I could not recall to write a research paper on any topic an occasion could not be described a single writer, as anything but dismal. The only loosely connected to the United States. I remember being more than philosopher, or actions taken to observe the festivity excited for this project; I finally had were a curt email, a small stack of segment of the opportunity to learn more about books at the entrance to the library, my Dominican ancestors. I compiled and three tarp-like posters lining history that my own sources, supplied by my Main Hallway. Furthermore, I was connected with family’s own collection, and brought shocked to discover Banned Books my identity. the idea to my teacher, expecting Week received more attention with him to be as thrilled as I was, so it an all school presentation, full came as quite the shock when his smile fell. He literature display, and overall more effort. Every explained to me that sources for this topic would time I walked through the corridor on my way be limited and recommended that I should choose to classes, I was reminded of how few endeavors something else. All my excitement left my body our community had taken in recognizing such an as the crushing reality of the conversation hit me. important part of not only my life, but the world. I went immediately to the librarians to look for Before I committed four years of my life books, believing they must have had something to Lakeville, Connecticut, I was ensured of the on Trujillo, who was said to be the worst dictator diversity and of the goals to teach, “young men and in Latin America. Nevertheless, all the library women to become global citizens of the world”. was able to supply was a romanticized Hollywood And so, I end with a plea to Hotchkiss, my home: attempt on his history and a historical-fiction expand your worldview and try to appreciate the novel, only loosely connected to what I wanted. importance of diversity. Although it may be of I left the class feeling defeated, wondering how little importance to you, it could mean the world such an important figure in world history was to your friend, teacher, or colleague.
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Wan Lin Qin
True Colors emphasizes that everyone has unique inner beauty, hopes and dreams despite a black-and-white snap judgement/ image held by others; inspired by the "Unfair" book excerpts from Ms. Likar's class dissecting prejudice in the criminal justice system.
Pull Yourself Together the necessity of holding back one's emotions in the Hotchkiss bubble/daily life/classes in order to function > despite personal struggles outside of classes (family problems, tragic events)
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Eldorado an artistic response to Edgar Allen Poe's poem "Eldorado" warning against the pursuit of unrealistic goals by placing one's value on perceived success; applies to the school's competitive atmosphere, though this piece specifically pertains to body image disorders (more common than I thought according to my personal experience at Hotchkiss).
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Forms: A Collection
This series is primarily a study contrasting the unique quality of human identity and emotion against the rigid monotony of our everyday procedures (depicted here as mechanical forms and graphs). Each woman’s expression carries a distinct emotional quality that is meant to transcend the bouandary she is “trapped” in. Above: “Glance”; Right: “Tired”; Page 15: “Catch” 13 | The Hotchkiss Spectrum
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My Identity Jeremy Navarro
Last year, Hotchkiss saw the community confront a palpable tension stemming from a single Facebook post that effectively divided the school. I was caught by surprise. So many of my friends who identified as ‘minorities’ found offense in a post I could only describe as informative. So many of my friends were shocked at the gall of such a post, whereas I had scrolled right past it when browsing through my feed. I believed myself to be part of this ‘minority’, and yet I seemed starkly unaffected by this controversial Facebook post. Was I not a ‘minority’? Shouldn’t I have found offense in a post that apparently propagated anti-minority sentiment? In a starkly divided community, I found myself standing in the corner – my own little third party. I didn’t know what or how to think. What if I wasn’t offended at all? Did that effectively remove my minority label, my minority identity? During this period of reflection and discussion between the ‘pro-Facebook post’ and ‘anti-Facebook post’ advocates, I found myself looking in from the outside. Why did I not understand the sentiments of other minority students? And if I didn’t, what did that make me?
I looked to find my answer in my past.
Before coming to Hotchkiss, I went to a junior boarding school called Fay. And before Fay, I was homeschooled for five years. For essentially my entire childhood, I woke up and trudged downstairs for breakfast and back upstairs for morning classes. My world revolved around a digital classroom and the house’s backyard garden, where I occasionally played basketball with my cousin. In this sheltered world, the only racism that reached me was the occasional slur on television. The worst I had ever been called was a ‘noob’ on some online video game. While I was not ignorant, I was most definitely protected, sheltered from the views and real-life oppression that seemed to upset
my colleagues. But did that put me at an advantage or disadvantage? Was I lucky to not feel the same tension that my friends suffered from? Was I not allowed to justify or even relate to the opinions held by one side for fear of angering the other? Not only that, but I found I could not easily identify with the words of either ‘side’. And, ultimately, I realized that I didn’t feel affected by the Facebook post at all. The fishbowl at Hotchkiss stemmed principally from each student’s identity, and there I sat at the side struggling to figure out just what my identity was. When I came to the school, I thought I had that all figured out. My name is Jeremy Navarro, and I love to sing. I debate profusely over any topic, and I enjoy playing chess. I am a Filipino boy from southern California. Wasn’t that all my identity? So I thought. But the fishbowl challenged me to look further than just the superficial aspects of who I was and will continue to be. It has helped me on a path towards coming to terms with who I am by challenging what I previously thought of myself. The concepts of racism and other antiminority sentiments present a unique challenge to not only minorities, but also to those who have never before suffered from real-life oppression. During the fishbowl, I found myself in an awkward yet revealing position in which I identified as both a minority and as who was someone essentially ‘blind’ to the tension. I don’t have an answer yet to the question that plagues my identity. The truth is, even today I’m still struggling with my identity. I previously thought I could call myself a ‘Filipino’ and be done with it. But my experience with the fishbowl at Hotchkiss has exposed me to a truth I had often heard but failed to really understand - an identity is not as simple as a label or a name. What is identity? It is in fact a confluence of many different things, some much harder to understand than others. I still don’t fully understand where I identify on this tenuous spectrum, but I can work to start understanding where, how, and why I do.
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My Culture My culture transcends borders, because we are in every country of the world. My culture speaks all the languages of the world and celebrates all religions and no religion. My culture transcends dress, because we are found in all traditions. My culture is not inherited; rather, it is found and newly established by every individual in every generation. Some people find their place in this fluid culture right away, and others take years to recognize it. My culture is queer: we are the gays, the lesbians, the faggots, the dykes, the HIV positive, the trans kids, the protesters, the allies. In my culture, we have often created our own families, because the ones we were given at birth don’t always want us. My cultural home is West Hollywood, San Francisco, Northampton, Provincetown, Fire Island, Portland, Lakeville, England, and wherever I find love. My culture is irreverent, disrespectful, loud, and tenacious, because following the rules hasn’t always worked for us. We are campy, effeminate, butch, femme, sporty, funny, intellectual, stylish and fabulous. My culture has been suppressed, hidden, beaten with bats, placed on pedestals, copied by others, revered, feared, and admired. My culture is all these things and none of them, because this culture is defined differently by every member. My culture, the queer culture, is a small part of me, but an integral part of me. To paraphrase from the film “The Twilight of the Golds,” my queer culture is merely a thread in the tapestry of my life. But, if you pull one thread from a tapestry, the whole thing falls apart.
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Although beauty is commonly referenced as subjective or abstract, philosophers and scientists have been studying its more concrete attributes for many years. The ancient Greeks created the idea of a golden rectangle, which became the base of modern aesthetics. A golden rectangle appears in many recurring geometric sequences and is characterized by having side lengths that are in the golden ratio which is approximately 1 to 1.618. The golden ratio is found nearly everywhere in geometry, nature, and art. Even the Fibonacci Sequence, which can be used to model the growth of plants, implements the ratio. The golden ratio can be found in virtually all categories of art. For instance, paintings that use golden rectangles are generally thought to be more beautiful. Also, sculptures and buildings with more golden prisms appear sleeker. Even music with frequencies in the golden ratio is judged as more pleasant. Interestingly, people that are thought to be more attractive, generally have more golden ratios in their body proportions. While there is always room for personal opinion, there is strong evidence for beauty being a concept that can be expressed through mathematics. Upon learning about this concept, I set out to see if I could make a computer judge whether something was beautiful. After all, since a computer is not able to formulate an opinion about what it observes, its judgments must be purely logical. I wrote a small program that used recursion to create trees with random side lengths, branch angles, and colors. Originally, the program created a tree and stored information such as its branch lengths and angles, then created another tree and evaluated which was more beautiful based on how closely their data matched the golden ratio. Upon seeing that the program often chose the tree that appeared to be more natural looking, I decided to take a different approach. With the idea of natural selection being my biggest inspiration, I modified the program to create a large set of trees, break them up into groups of three, pick the two most beautiful trees, merge them into one new supertree, and repeat the whole process with the new set of supertrees. This way, the less â€œidealâ€? trees were thrown out and the final tree was made up of the most beautiful trees. Like this, I ended up with a family tree of trees. In many ways, I accomplished my goal of mirroring natural selection. The interesting part about the program was not only that the tree produced was far more beautiful than the rejected trees, but also that it looked much more realistic. For this reason, it seems that beauty is a measurement of how natural something appears. The Hotchkiss Spectrum | 18
My Story Regan McCall For those who don’t know me, my name is Regan McCall and I’m a three-year Upper Mid. For my entire life, I’ve been terrified to be who I am. Every part of me was specifically created to keep me from racial and gender profiling. My entire name is Celtic. My first name is gender neutral, but more commonly used by men. I wasn’t allowed to play basketball and was forced to swim instead. When I reached middle school, I was encouraged to play field hockey. Hip-hop and rap music were banned until I turned thirteen. Math and science were ingrained into my head. My parents spoke to me in Spanish until the age of three. High Tops, jeans, or hoodies were not a part of my wardrobe. My parents did everything they could do to not only put me at an advantage, but to counter any stereotype that could possibly be placed on me. All the things that make me an individual also made me afraid to tell anyone about the categories I fall into. I’m afraid to tell people where I’m from, because I don’t want to have to answer questions like “Are you in a gang?” or “Have you ever been shot at?” I’m scared to voice my opinion in class because I don’t want to be labelled as “aggressive” or “bossy”. I’m afraid to explain parts of my history, because I see the eye rolls and the bored looks around the table. I have to try to hide the parts of me that I am unable to change in order to show the world the rest of who I am. I’ve changed so much of myself to try to make myself become invisible, that I’ve lost parts of myself. After the protest and the events in Elfers earlier this year, I had to finally face the things I’ve done to try to fit into this place, and I don’t like what I see. I’ve lied to myself and to everyone around me for so long that even I can’t tell what’s the truth anymore. I don’t want anyone to ever feel the way I did. I hope this activism doesn’t end. Even though we all may leave, these problems won’t go away, and we need to find a way to fix things, so no one ever has to change parts of themselves to fit into Hotchkiss.
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RACISM Jazzi Rhodes As the college process picks up for seniors, some general questions pop up about the schools: What’s your first choice? What are you gonna major in? Any friends go there? Notable alumni? How’s the town? Are they racist? Does the school have a high diversity percentage? Does it shoot down or support movements like Black Lives Matter? Does it care about and deal with cases of harassment or assault? Would I fear for my life if I walked around town by myself? If the last five questions apply to you, then you might just be a minority. It’s not all bad, though – as long as you remain aware at all times. For me this constitutes visiting all the schools I’m considering and exploring the general neighborhood to get the right vibes. Here are some of my experiences: I pull up to the school. What surrounds me are lush green and rolling hills, a beautiful and calm lake, and quaint little houses each with their own unique cocktail of American and Confederate flags. I go in and have a brilliant tour and interview with the director of the program of my chosen interest, and afterward I am led to the info session. A prospective student asks about diversity, making the admissions guide visibly flustered. “Well,” she says, “our greatest diversity is in our students’ field of study, and next being religion.” She proceeds to thoroughly explain the whole range of classes offered to the student body and the range of religious denominations on campus. “Also we have over one hundred clubs!” She pauses for a bit. “We also have tons of international students! More and more each year, actually. In fact, they make up the majority of our cultural and ethnic diversity percentile; we’re at almost 17%.” We didn’t stay for lunch. Another school had equally beautiful facilities. The department ambassador showed me around and we shared funny stories. On my way out I walked past a tour. A girl turned to me smiling and complimented my hair. I smiled and thanked her. We waved at each other as we walked back to our cars. The town was friendly but rather small. The restaurant a few exits down the highway had pretty tasty food. Even if the waiters stared a bit too hard. Must be the hair- some people are shy about talking to strangers about that sort of thing. Someone muttered something in French about “black”. For the first time of the summer I felt self conscious about my tan and regretted asking my tati to teach me some Creole.
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Cecily Craighead Inspired by Aldous Huxleyâ€™s Brave New World and the material covered by Humanities 150, I investigated the relationship between the individual and the society in this painting for my prep art final project. I aimed to portray the conflict between an individualized identity and a mechanical, conformist society through a fingerprint pattern and the print of a circuit board. The middle panel portrays the conflicting relationship between self and other, and the loss of the individual within society as the otherness attempts to suffocate the individual.
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While I was at Chewonki, I created this triptych. Each painting represents a different mental illness: anxiety, ADHD, and depression. I was inspired by my interviews with other people in the community and my own experiences with metal illness. Through these paintings, I wanted to raise awareness and attempt to translate complicated feelings into visuals.
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Il Mio Anno in Italia Karen Ahn
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BLACK A few months ago, I discovered Solange’s newest album “A Seat At the Table.” Now, she’s not someone I would normally choose to listen to, but after seeing an ad for her newest music videos, I decided to feel out some of the songs. It’s safe to say I was impressed. After really enjoying the song “Don’t Touch My Hair,” I resigned myself to the fact that singles are usually the best an album has to offer; I wasn’t counting on much as I clicked the YouTube link for “Mad”; I didn’t expect much from someone who most people only see as Beyoncé’s less famous sister. Plus, Lil’ Wayne was on the track, and I tend to dislike him as a rapper. Thank God I was wrong. “Mad” tackles the frustration that many people of color feel when they are constantly belittled for their anger towards social issues. Solange’s lyrics are relatable, and Lil’ Wayne’s rap is very honest. Furthermore, song after song, I found myself not only enjoying the melodies, but truly relating to some of her lyrics. I was really impressed by Solange’s art. In this album, Solange strives to give a voice to people who normally wouldn’t have a seat at the table, people who generally go unheard. Possibly, she feels less restrained or censored because she doesn’t have much to lose as her sister, but with every song, it became clearer to me that Solange is not afraid to speak her mind. So, it was as I was riding on the high of Solange’s wonderful lyricism and impressive vocals that I saw the comment. I suppose I should have known that it is never a wise idea
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to browse through YouTube comments, but I figured, “why would someone be listening to this album if they didn’t at least understand the validity of Black struggle and emotions?” Well, it was immediately clear that this commenter did not understand. The comment basically stated: There is no point to Black pride. Black pride doesn’t make sense, and white pride doesn’t make sense. Why should someone feel proud of something they can’t control? This frustrated me. I mean, clearly this frustrated me; I’m sitting here writing a response to someone who will most likely never read this. But, anyway, as I scoffed and rolled my eyes, I began to wonder. Why was I upset by this comment? Why should anyone be proud of something that they didn’t exactly earn? Well, for all intents and purposes, there is nothing really impressive about simply being born a certain skin color. However, there is something to be noted about the fact that since birth, Black people and people of color are at a systematic disadvantage in America. Sometimes people will try to debate, telling me “white people face oppression too!” It is very much like the woman in “Mad” who asks Solange, “Why you always blaming? Why you can’t just face it? Why you always gotta be so mad?” The only thing I can say to that is: it’s different. The key term here being “systematic.” Everyone in life will probably experience some level of oppression, but the oppression that Black people and people of color face is not just individual incidents of
PRIDE difficulty, it is an ingrained, horrifying fact of American life. Little things that white people don’t even have to think about are at the forefronts of Black minds all the time: Band-aids that are made for pale skin. Lack of representation in the media. Outrageously stereotyped characters of color on TV and in the media. Hair and dress codes in the workplace that blatantly target black people. Even as a child, I personally faced the reality of Black oppression in America. People joked about my traditionally Black facial features. People made fun of me when I wore my hair in braids. People insult Black women for having big lips and then turn around and make money off of “lip kits” to make their own lips look fuller. I genuinely find myself more afraid than comforted by the sight of police in my neighborhood due to the outrageous number of police killings of people who share my same racial identity. So, yes, I do believe being Black in America is a challenge. And yes, I am proud to be Black. Maybe I don’t seem like anyone special, but on a regular basis, I experience racism, microaggressions, cultural appropriation, and hate simply based on the color of my skin. The fact that I am still able to love myself, the fact that I am able to exist and be at peace with my identity is reason enough to be proud.
Mariah Bell whiteness one of those things? I don’t know. I’m not a white person, and I can’t relate to the experience on that same level. Here, I open the floor to other opinions. I do hope, however, that people do not take this an an anti-white tirade. A lot of the time, pro-Black activists are accused of being “reverse racist” or anti-white. This, in its own way, is another reason why Black Pride is necessary. For starters, “reverse racism” does not exist. People can be prejudice against white people, but racism is oppression at a systematic level, which does not currently happen for white people in America. Here I would once again direct people towards Solange’s album. In “Interlude: Tina Taught Me”, Solange’s mother, Tina Lawson, addresses the questioning or backlash she receives for her Black pride. It is nearly impossible for a Black person in this country to remain neutral about their race; if you don’t have pride in your Blackness, every other sign is telling you that you are less than, and it is quite easy to fall into that mentality as well. So, if you stop to consider all the challenges Black people have to constantly overcome, Black pride is not only justified, it is necessary.
Now, I would never want anyone to read this thinking that I am trying to say that no white person has anything to be proud of. That’s absurd. White people around the world have tons to be proud of. But is their
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On September 23, the Hotchkiss School saw a protest in response to the lack of coverage and attention being paid to serious social issues and events, specifically two police shootings of black men (Keith Lamont Scott and Alfred Olango) that occured within one week of each other. Feeling overwhelmed and distraught by these events, some students were troubled by the fact that the school did not provide students with information about these events (meaning many students did not know they had occurred) or with the time and setting to process the events. After the day’s proceedings (the protest and subsequent student-run fishbowls) The Hotchkiss Spectrum sent out a survey asking students if they had anything to say in response to what occurred. Here are some of the results.
We are not okay. I am a Prep who chose to miss my classes in order to participate in the protest. I can honestly say that it was probably the best decision I’ve made since I have been at Hotchkiss although I’ve only been here for three weeks. I’m just really proud of the people I go to school with and see in class every day because I saw most of them standing next to me in the protest. I’m glad that us Preps came at the right time, and that because we showed up, it made even more of an impact because we just got here. We know nothing about the other stuff that happened with Hotchkiss and the students of color. So I think we made a difference in our three week journey at Hotchkiss so far. -Lajayzia Wright (Jay)
I think that the recent events show the impact that we as students have on this school. We aren’t defined by our classeswe’re able to move beyond what the curriculum gives. We love Hotchkiss, and we demand more from it because we love it. -Hannah Lothian
I understand where people are coming from in terms of being afraid to speak out about their identities and their beliefs. But after something of this magnitude has happened at our school, others who might think differently from those who shared at the fishbowl feel equally scared to voice their opinions. I think Hotchkiss should be a safe space for all where everyone can share what they are thinking, regardless of what 'side' they are on. To the people that have begun to speak for themselves, I applaud you. But you shouldn't try to force everyone into your ideas, or lose respect for them because they might think in a way that differs from yours. People are entitled to their own ideas and should not be 'shamed' for not coming to the fish bowl or disagreeing with those that are protesting. People should all feel equally safe at Hotchkiss to share their thoughts. So many of them that disagree with what has been happening have still listened to the fishbowls and listened to the cries of others. I think it's time for those protesting to take a step back and respect themselves and share their personal views, while also respecting the disagreement from others. -Anon, UM
29 | The Hotchkiss Spectrum
Like many people on campus and around the country, I too, was saddened by the recent shootings of two unarmed black men. These repeated occurrences of police miscalculation under what appears to be hostile and life threatening situations clearly points out something is systemically wrong. It may very well be that the training law enforcement personnel are receiving is inadequate in these kinds of situations. As a result many lives have needlessly been lost, communities traumatized and our country left divided on how, why, and what to do next. The matter at hand is a complicated one. There are many aspects to the violence that is taking place. It takes courage to look deeply into the anger, sorrow and fear that is a result of these incidents. It is natural to want to avoid difficult conversations that bring up long held or cherished beliefs, ones handed down from one generation to the next and reinforced by the culture we live in. The most pernicious of course is the "us" against "them" mentality. It creates fear and suspicion of anyone who is "other", anyone who doesn't look like me, speak like , think like me, or is not from the same socioeconomic background. If we truly want change then each of us needs to reflect on how we were taught to see the world and question if those views are valid. How we see the world is also predicated on our personal experience. What events, past and present, have shaped our views and are they valid 100% of the time? There are no easy answers for what is taking place. However, being that our culture is made up of individuals, if enough people commit to reflecting honestly about how we treat those who are deemed "other" we will have taken the first step to understanding, and hopefully challenging the status quo. For many people change is uncomfortable. Compassion, patience and wisdom are needed to listen carefully and feel deeply into this tragedy, for we are all affected. In closing I leave you with the familiar quote "be the change you want to see in the world." Let's get started. -Beth Chinery
I so appreciate the vulnerability that individuals have been brave enough to share. Too often Hotchkiss community members feel that no matter what is happening to them personally, that they have to be “strong” and “okay” - that they have to display a facade, or that at Hotchkiss it is unsafe to display emotion. The past week has reinforced that vulnerability is not opposite of strength but rather that it is an absolutely essential part of strengthening a community. -Elizabeth Young I thought that it was amazing that the school had a meeting about the recent shootings. That being said I wish something had [been] done before last Thursday. -Casley Matthews
I was proud that so many students spoke up courageously to confront historical and ongoing injustice, and to integrate that into our realm of awareness here at Hotchkiss. I am happy that the administration listened to these students and provided a platform for education, empathetic understanding, and hard truths to be voiced about life at Hotchkiss. I hope there will be a structural / tangible impact of the events so as to cultivate a more globally-minded, inclusive learning community and more expansive academic curriculum. -Sam King I think even though it is only our first year here, my friends and I can see that the students really care about making changes for the better here at Hotchkiss. -Anon, Prep
The Hotchkiss Spectrum | 30
I didn't like the attitude of the people who spoke out to the community. Most people had a lecturing tone, it seemed as though they were scolding the community. I also felt a strong sense of ingratitude. Every spot at this school is wanted by hundreds of other kids; if you want to complain about this school, which is one of the most accepting schools in the world, you should just leave. Especially the kids who are on financial aid and have a tuition coming from someone else's pocket. -Anon, Senior The protests on campus along with the meeting in Elfers seemed to be against the idea of a non-politically affiliated school, school being the important word. A schoolâ€™s most important job is to teach its students, and the Hotchkiss School should not have days of recovery, no matter the magnitude, as it prevents all from learning, not just those affected. Also, the idea that all-school mandatory meetings for listening to othersâ€™ stories should happen is absolutely ludicrous. It is up to a student to find what he or she wishes to listen to, and the school should not force all-school gatherings upon its students, but should only allow events to occur. Every group has the freedom of speech and the right to peacefully assemble, but they do not have the right to be listened to, and there is an important distinction. Forcing ideas upon people will not solve any problems, but only intensify hatred for those ideas, because the constant harassment with a single idea will lead at least some students who disagree with the idea to resent the opposing side even more. I disagree strongly with having four class periods as free because part of the student body did not wish to go to school. There was also a part of the student body that wished to learn during the time that is allotted for school, and the misuse of that time was discouraging. -Anon I hope the events result in actual change. -Anon, Senior
The events that occurred at the end of the week of the nineteenth were eye-opening for the Hotchkiss community. These events showed everybody that there are people who are not okay who are living in our community. There are people who face racism everyday, whether it be outright or micro aggressions. I think that these events will help push Hotchkiss in the right direction, to make change within our community for those who feel it is not safe enough for them, and also to set an example for what other communities can do to stop discrimination against any marginalized group. -Ryan Pinckney
I think people need to calm down. The recent events hv completely disrupted the flow of the academic year that Hotchkiss works hard to create. I feel much of the opinions voiced were simply incorrect. For example we are all very well educated on black history. In the first semester alone we read 2 black authors and another book on the harshness of the American south. People are taking this place for granted if they donâ€™t like it there are thousands of people who would happily take their spot. -Jack, LM
31 | The Hotchkiss Spectrum
The Hotchkiss Spectrum would like to thank everyone who submitted a response to our school-wide survey, sharing their voices with the greater Hotchkiss community. As a publication centered around identiy, inclusion and equity, we appreciate your willingness to listen and be heard. Spectrum hopes to convey that we are primarily aiming to act as an educational experience for the community. While the first step is to share your voice, we hope those who shared also understand their responsibilty to pay attention to the opinions of others. We are not a place for people to carelessly argue their beliefs without being willing to participate in thoughtful conversation; Spectrum is an outlet for discussion. Of course, in a diverse community like ours, disagreement. Furthermore, conflict tends to scare people, driving them to become defensive or unwilling to communicate. However, we at Spectrum hope that these survey responses will serve as a starting point for conversation. Below is a message from Mr. Hart, our faculty advisor.
As Spectrum’s faculty advisor and a member of the community who is dedicated to building a diverse and supportive multicultural community at Hotchkiss, I was encouraged by most of the responses to our survey regarding the demonstration and all-school meeting on September 23, 2016. A significant majority of respondents were inspired by the events of the day, reaffirmed their support in their survey responses, and were eager to identify next steps or actions. There were a few respondents, however, who questioned the legitimacy of the protests and found the allschool meeting to be contrary to the purpose of the school and educating students. All of these voices are important and deserve consideration and attention in the same way we respected the voices of the community members who demonstrated or spoke out that morning. In order to honor these voices and continue the community dialogue, I intend to illuminate a few themes that I found on both sides of the conversation and use them to pose several open questions to the readers of Spectrum. One element of disagreement between respondents was an essential question about what it means to be part of this community. Respondents on both sides of the issue agreed that being a member of the Hotchkiss community is a great privilege. Yet there was a stark difference in how respondents interpreted Hotchkiss’s elite reputation and selectivity. This presents a series of questions: does the selectivity of Hotchkiss admissions and elite reputation of our school mean that students should expect more out of the school and community? Or should students be more thankful for the privilege and opportunity of being at Hotchkiss? Perhaps, in pursuit of common ground, is there a way for Hotchkiss students to honor their privilege and opportunity while still questioning the status quo and striving for a better Hotchkiss? Another essential question that emerged among our respondents was one that questioned the nature of a Hotchkiss education. Here again, our respondents had an important element of common ground. On both sides, respondents lauded the value of a Hotchkiss education, and the importance of learning in the classroom. For those who critiqued the day’s events, they were an unnecessary intrusion on the school day and the opportunity to learn in class. For those who celebrated the day, it was a learning experience that transcended the limits of the classroom, and one that would improve or optimize future classroom interactions. Here, another series of questions arise: where should we expect learning to take place at a school like Hotchkiss? How does a school like Hotchkiss optimize the learning environment and experience? How do we as a community create the best possible learning conditions for the most students? Most importantly, at the heart of the disconnect between our respondent groups was a varying degree of willingness to listen to and hear one another. I find this to be the most disconcerting. Interestingly, it was one of the respondents who was critical of the fish bowl who made a plea for Hotchkiss to be a safe space for all voices. In honor of this individual’s plea, I will leave you with these last questions: in a learning community like ours, what do we owe one another? How can we disagree and debate without denigrating or debasing each other’s identity or personhood? How can we communicate with and listen to one another better, especially during emotionally charged times or in response to challenging topics? I hope that answering these questions and reading this issue of Spectrum will compel you to consider more deeply what it means to be a member of the Hotchkiss community, and what you expect from your time at this illustrious school. -Mr. Hart The Hotchkiss Spectrum | 32
The Spectrum of
Student-run creative magazine focused on themes of diversity, inclusion, and equity in the greater global community as well as specifically...
Published on May 2, 2018
Student-run creative magazine focused on themes of diversity, inclusion, and equity in the greater global community as well as specifically...