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The Milton Measure

Centre Street—Where Milton Meets the Real World

by Alana Greenaway on Friday, June 9th, 2017

I used to think of Centre Street as a long slab of asphalt that slices the campus in half— sometimes buzzing, sometimes quiet—that place where I was always told to look both ways and watch out for inattentive drivers. The more interactions I have had with the street, the more I have realized that Centre Street is different from any road on campus; it is the place where Milton Academy and the greater community intersect, where students briefly leave our somewhat sheltered community and face the stark actuality of the real world. The interactions I have observed on Centre Street are vastly different; sometimes interactions with strangers who drive by are pleasant, and sometimes these interactions are far from it. The typical Centre Street driver is adorned with a gentle smile and wave. Other times, drivers zoom right by without making eye contact, and on occasion, a Centre Street driver will shout rude or offensive things to students.

After spending so much time at Milton, many people forget just how different a community like Milton is from the majority of the rest of the world. Drivers on Centre Street often remind me of the major differences of the world outside of Milton. I have overheard students on campus question the relevance of highly talked about issues on campus, this year, specifically the topic of race. These students’ questions about the legitimacy of racial complaints on campus perhaps held no intention of being offensive, but were out of honest disbelief of discrimination because they have not directly experienced discrimination in within our school themselves.

These students forget that we cannot equate our small community to the struggles of the outside world because Milton is not a direct reflection of our greater society, but rather a very unique environment. This is not to say that Milton is without issues, but just because you as an individual do not directly experience an issue within the school community doesn’t mean it’s not there anywhere in the world. Additionally, it is dangerous to invalidate someone’s struggles in the school community because the specific issues may not be obvious to the general public.

Milton’s community consists of highly educated and comprehensive people. Though our backgrounds and opinions may differ, each and every student attends this school to contribute positively to the community, and the school strives to create a safe environment for as many people as possible. While this effort is not always achieved, the composition of our student body makes our community particularly special. For obvious reasons, the outside world is nothing of the sort. Though some may want to assume that issues of discrimination at Milton are so small scale that they are not significant, Centre Street– life outside of Milton–proves otherwise.

It is important to realize that the issues of the outside world do seep into our school walls, and as a community we all must strive to make Milton an inclusive and positive environment; if this is not done, the individuality and safety of our community could quickly become compromised. It is important to listen and act upon the struggles of others and not simply invalidate their pain, because that stops progress. It is important to recognize that our community is not a representation of the world, but a small and unique space. By invalidating our peers’ cries because these problems “no longer exist” is a demonstration of injustice in itself because it refuses to recognise or attend to real life problems that people face, and strives to delegitimize discrimination. We must realize that we are not exempt from adopting discriminatory ways of the outside world, and we must focus on improving upon those faults.

To me, Centre Street is no longer just that road I have to cross 2nd period on Monday, but it is a road that reminds me that society still needs to be worked on. It is our job to recognize that our special Milton community is unique and not an exact representation of the greater world. We should focus not only on ways to improve our own community, but also understand that Milton is not a direct representation of the outside world; the crossroads of Milton’s campus and the real world reminds us of this every day.

Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=9284

Posted by Alana Greenaway on Jun 9 2017. Filed under More Opinion, Opinion, Recent Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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