Honest conversations may be best way to address racism, teens say

Racism exists.

Hurtful and vulgar acts occur daily in local schools.

That’s what a group of teens had to say last month at a Q13 News panel discussion.

“I get really offended,” said Cierra Martinez, a junior from Federal Way. “Just the jokes they try to make about race are just something I feel should be taken a little more serious. Because it’s always going to be a serious thing.”

It’s Kids Week here at Q13, when we hear from kids in our community to spotlight their biggest challenges.

The goal is to help us all be better parents and grandparents, by understanding what our kids are facing.

Our discussion took place before a student in Issaquah posted a racist message on social media that grabbed national attention.

The students we talked with, however, described seeing and enduring racist interactions daily.

They also suggested that perhaps the best way to confront this issue is to address it openly and honestly.

“People aren’t talking about it because they don’t want to feel uncomfortable,” said Hope Martin, a junior from Silverdale. “That’s where we have this disconnect. We don’t want to talk about it. But that means we aren’t progressing as well. And without the conversation and without the understanding, we can’t get away from this racism.”