Kinser reveals stories of prejudice

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Emelia Evory

Kinser poses while wearing her “I’m black and proud every month” shirt to communicate her opinions about Black History Month. “After my experiences, I got tougher and I knew that the kids here were not going to be nice, no matter what. I feel that it is still hard to talk to people; it’s a subject here at Lewis-Palmer that even makes the adults skirm in their seats over something that happens to you,” Kinser said.

Emelia Evory, Ranger Review Reporter

Reyna Kinser is a senior at Lewis Palmer High School that has struggled with racism and being made fun of for her skin tone during her 4 years of high school. “I am black; I was born in North Carolina. I wasn’t really used to being targeted for my skin color until I moved here,” Kinser said. 

“My first experience was during my freshman year at Lewis-Palmer. I was getting ready to go into a class when a kid started to call me the ‘n-word’. I remember there was a group of people laughing and telling me that I needed to go back home and pick cotton. I didn’t know what to do,” Kinser said. 

Although Kinser has developed tougher skin through the years, she still has a passion for changing and bringing awareness to how Lewis-Palmer reacts to the topic of racism among the student body.  

“After my experiences, I got tougher and I knew that the kids here were not going to be nice, no matter what. I feel that it is still hard to talk to people; it’s a subject here at Lewis-Palmer that even makes the adults skirm in their seats over something that happens to you,” Kinser said.  

Kinser regularly experiences issues regarding her race at her own high school, but also recognizes that other people of color are affected by similar matters in different communities as well. 

“I think that the topic is struggled with at this school and I personally know people from other schools that deal with the same stuff I do, so it’s definitely not just Lewis Palmer (that deals with this issue), but I feel that it’s not dealt with very well,” Kinser said.

Kinser emphasizes the importance of having a positive role model to stand up for those who don’t have a voice. She feels that she was able to find her own saving grace through a teacher during her more severe confrontations in her freshman year of high school. 

 “I honestly think I found the diamond in the rough with my experience. Addressing the problems are normally pointed at a higher power, but having an adult on your side is a nice thing to have.” 

Despite her multiple experiences with prejudice, Kinser has gained support from teachers that noticed unacceptable behavior towards her. She got her strength by developing allies that stood up for her in times of need. 

“She [the teacher] was angry, she was very apologetic, she didn’t excuse his behavior at all, and she made it clear that what he did was unacceptable. After that, I felt happier and I found someone who cared. She played a big part in kids like me who deal with that stuff.” 

Kinser believes that there could be a change in this school in how teachers address Black History Month, which is celebrated in the month of February. 

“February is Black History Month and we don’t have any black teachers and not many black students. Personally, I think we just need to acknowledge its a special month. Not that we should acknowledge that you’re black, but we should just bring it up in class and learn about the black history heroes. We should create a space for black students to come in and really feel like ‘this is my month,’” Kinser said.

Kinser offers advice to her fellow peers, as she believes that there are things that students could do to better make this school comfortable for different races and make it more accepting all around.

“Stand up for your friends and don’t say the n- word if you’re not black. It’s pretty much the basics, just don’t be a jerk. It’s really not that hard; I am a person that considers myself not to be a jerk, and it’s not that hard to walk around and simply respect someone else’s existence,” Kinser said.