Being a Minority in America: Young Advocate Shares Personal Perspective


Photo courtesy of Nicole Makope.

Kaya Boettcher, Student of Journalism

Nine minutes. 

The final nine minutes of George Floyd’s life on May 25, 2020 is seemingly all it took to spark a nationwide movement of outraged people demanding justice for victims of police brutality; however, it takes more. People of color have dealt with ignorance and inequality since the days of slavery. Despite efforts by civil rights leaders, such inequality prevails. The unjust execution of George Floyd is a straw – perhaps the last.

A young Zimbabwean American girl, age 10, moves to Neenah, from Atlanta, GA. Everything is unfamiliar, the most evident shift being that she didn’t see many faces that looked like hers. She feel isolated. 

At age 11, the girl enrolls at Horace Mann Middle School. Her class attends a field trip to a resort. The girl is insecure about classmates seeing her natural hair. Tied up in a bun atop her head, her hair is a wonder to some female peers. They beg the girl to undo her bun and reveal her natural hair. When she refuses, they gather a group of boys to dump her in the water when she isn’t looking. The girls take the hair tie holding up her insecurity. Her head’s underwater but she can hear the kids comments. A dreadful feeling of embarrassment and shame washes over her.

She knows the ignorance never ends.

That young girl is Nicole Makope, a senior at NHS. She experiences first-hand racism and considers herself part of the Black Lives Matter movement. On social media, Nicole advocates her perspective as a person of color. 

“When people were kneeling, people were mad. Peaceful marches weren’t taken seriously. The looting is a desperate cry for help. Businesses and materials can be replaced, but lives cannot. It’s a matter of lives over property.”

Ignorance fuels the flames of hate. The only way to stop ignorance is to listen to other’s perspectives.

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