Being black at Stuyvesant: Two students on what it’s like for African Americans at the specialized high school

Just because students are intelligent enough to pass a test doesn’t mean they understand people who might be ethnically, racially or culturally different.

That’s what happened to Gordon in his freshman biology class when his lab partner blamed him for the AIDS virus. Or when he was told to “go back to Africa” because he disagreed with some of his peers on the merits of the Specialized High Schools Admission Test (SHSAT).

And both of us have repeatedly heard something along the lines of, “Black people don’t care about education.”

While these stories may seem shocking or anachronistic, they are not unique among Stuy’s black and Latino students. Meetings of the Stuyvesant Black Students League and ASPIRA (the Hispanic student’s association) are animated by tales of students being called the N-word in and outside of class, threatened lynchings and other examples of almost-daily abuse.

Constantly being reminded that we are not wanted in the school we attend is painful, and would obstruct any hardworking student from getting the education they deserve.