Diversity changes from Brooklyn to Roseville

Fatimah with her friends Jenna Stanley and Jalissa Long-Jolley.

Courtney Heitikko

Fatimah with her friends Jenna Stanley and Jalissa Long-Jolley.

My name is Fatimah Odeh, and I am a 17 year old senior here at RHS. I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, and moved to Michigan my sophomore year of high school. New York is diverse and full of different people. Throughout my entire school career, I have been on various teams: basketball, soccer, volleyball, and track. I have competed in spoken word poetry, and karate tournaments. Moving to Roseville has been an interesting experience. I was very excited to attend this high school, even though I quickly learned that there weren’t many other students that were like me. I quickly gained many awesome friends, and met amazing teachers.

Last month, I was walking with my sister heading out of the school when I noticed another student who was pointing at my sister and me saying an ignorant remark. I was in complete shock to be faced with such ignorance at my own school. I had thought …Is this student really saying that to me? So I contemplated on whether or not I wanted to speak up for myself or brush it off. In the split two seconds that I had to make the decision, I chose to stand up for myself. I didn’t intend to shout, but simply to address the issue of ignorance and racial harassment towards others. And so I did, and the issue was addressed the next day.

I haven’t had this issue as an American Muslim growing up in New York City. I was always surrounded by accepting, understanding, and diverse people. It is quite the experience being different at my new school senior year. I am open to answering any questions other students or teachers may have about my faith, lifestyle, and everything in between. But I do encourage others to not be afraid of meeting new people, broadening your horizon, and expanding your group of friends. I promise that you will learn something new if you are open to different people of different lifestyles.

Something important to keep in mind is to not judge an entire race or group of people by an uneducated opinion you heard from a non-reliable source. If different social or racial groups were to judge one another with no intent of getting to know who they are, we as a society would never succeed or progress. Name calling, and other forms of bullying should not be tolerated and not even have to occur in the first place. It is the consequence of not being culturally educated, and will only lead to tension among students.

Attending a public school allows students to communicate and learn with students of all different backgrounds and walks of life. It is common to come across people who dress differently, act differently, and perhaps even speak different languages. One of the key things to keep in mind when dealing with different people is respect. Respect means that you don’t necessarily have to agree with the way everyone lives life, but it is important to make sure everyone feels safe, welcomed, and equal to everyone else. That’s what makes American schooling system great: diversity.