Q&A with Selam Waclawik, Co-President of Black Student Alliance on racial tensions at Carmel


Andrew Caito

How do you feel about racial injustice within school? (How bad do you think it is?)

For me I have dealt with microaggressions such as being stereotyped and being compared to every single black person, being assumed to what I am. The racial injustice in our school could be a lot better; I wish staff would talk more about it, teach the kids what not to say, and what not to say. 

What do you think should be changed regarding race at school? Why?

Although we have a no bullying or racism tolerance policy, I wish the school would talk more about the racism and tensions within our school. I wish they wouldn’t only say racism is bad and just sweep it under the rug and that’s it. I wish they would really get down to what it is, the history of it, the future of it and what it looks like today. I wish we would talk more about it.

What is the Black Student Alliance? Why did you choose to run this club?

The Black Student Alliance is a safe space for black kids to come and talk and vent about our emotions and how we deal with being a black student in a white school. This school is very big and not many black kids know each other. We wanted to create a place where kids can share their ideas and talk with each other while learning our history and learn the systems and  why we can’t accomplish certain things, along with learning about our heritage and where we are going to go from here (and into) the future. 

What is the overall message you spread?

The overall message I can spread is to educate yourself. You will never get enough education about racism, racial tensions and race. Really educate yourself with the topic, and don’t be afraid to dive into it. 

What projects or plans has Black Student Alliance started in order to create change within the school for people of color? 

We have been going to the rallies protesting for Black Lives Matter. We have made a speech, we couldn’t do much because of COVID recently, but we plan on doing more later on. 

What is one thing that CHS could do better to incorporate race and diversity? Why?

Talk about the problems that we are having within the school and give students of color a place to talk. An idea would be giving an orientation to the teachers on what not to say, such as some triggering things that white teachers might think is ok to say but in reality is not. Another idea would be giving people of color mental health days and talk about race and do more not just saying it’s bad. 

How do you feel CHS is incorporating race and diversity into the Culture of Care? 

They don’t do much, all they do is say that it’s bad and ‘don’t be racist.’ Yet people are already racist, I really don’t know how, but I feel we can do much better with incorporating it into the Culture of Care as CHS is not doing much.