A Different World

Oakville student shares experiences with racism


Maddy Geisler

OHS sophomore Ezra Freeman poses for a photo while deep in thought. “I was so shocked,” Freeman said of racist comments he has received. Freeman first countered racism at the age of five.

In a room full of people being singled out just for walking in is Ezra Freeman, an OHS sophomore who was born in Guatemala.

“They (Marcia and Dave Freeman) adopted me on April 6, 2007,” Freeman said. “I was almost two.”

Due to being adopted and a person of color, Freeman has experienced racism on numerous occasions at school.

“Our school is really racist. There was this one time at school, on America Day, there was this one guy in the commons and the first thing he does when I get into school is he spits at me and says, ‘Go wash off your skin, you dirty dog,’’ Freeman said. “I was so shocked.”

Despite the shock Freeman felt during this encounter, it wasn’t the only time he had an experience with racism at school.

“There’s always been a couple girls that use the b-slur for Mexicans at me even though I’m not Mexican, so I think they got their geography wrong,” Freeman said.

Even at other schools, Freeman has had people assume different things about him just because of the color of his skin.

“There would be times where people would look at me funny…There were a couple people who would say things like, ‘Do you speak Mexican,’’ Freeman said, “which is really annoying because I’m not Mexican and Mexican isn’t even a language—it’s Spanish.”

Though Freeman has learned to ignore a chunk of the hatred, it can still affect him.

“Sometimes it’s funny because it’s just stupid, but other times I get really upset because it really just shows how our school prioritizes people…” Freeman said. “People like me, of my ethnicity and my culture, we don’t always get viewed as real life humans who have thoughts and feelings, and a lot of times, even though I bring it up to the school and my mom brings it to the school’s attention, no one does anything about it.”

Because of this, Freeman has found other ways to cope at school.

“The adults like to say, ‘Oh kids are being kids,’ but they don’t realize the mental toll it takes and that it’s just plain harassment,” Freeman said. “I’m just really glad that I found friends and have found people in this school that don’t treat me differently because of my skin color.”