What divides us

Students provide input on national, local issues

demographics2016 is a year of division. The presidential election has done more than divide us by party; it has divided us by race, gender, belief and socioeconomic status. As tensions continue to escalate, the divisions continue to grow. Brick by brick, we’re building back the walls between us–the very ones we’ve been trying to tear down for years. As the nation focuses on divisive issues, people have begun to notice the friction in their own communities and ask, “What divides us?”

To get a new perspective, we created a focus group of students who mirror the demographics of Texas High. The members of this group were selected based on four categories; grade, race, gender and whether or not they qualified as economically disadvantaged. In the end, the group consisted of 20 people who met to discuss issues in school and in the United States as a whole.

“I like how we talked about all the different problems that we have in school, not just in school but going nationally and economically,” sophomore Bryan Rangel said. “I think if nobody had done it now, then nobody would have ever done it.”

The most prominently discussed issue was racism, and how the school and the country have dealt with it. Those who voiced their opinions were in agreement that racism is still real, were grateful that representatives Texas High’s demographics were present.

“It was a variety of ethnicities, and everyone kind of had the same topic,” sophomore Aukievah Vaughn said. “Nobody bashed anyone else’s ideas and everyone’s ideas were accepted.”

Students reacted positively to the opportunity, agreeing that the random assignment brought together students who wouldn’t normally be asked about their viewpoints.

“I think the focus group is really beneficial for newspaper because they’re getting opinions from people who they might not have gotten opinions from before, who maybe feel voiceless in the school,” senior Keeley Green said. “The majority of people I didn’t even know, so I got to be around people with different families and different backgrounds and different races, and I think that was really beautiful for everyone involved.”