This has been sitting in the drafts so bear with me as I get back on track with updating this blog. School is definitely starting to get a little hectic as things wrap up, but that’s okay. Without further ado, my post on the docu-series, America to Me.
America to Me is a docu-series on the achievement gap between white and black students at Oak Park-River Forest High School.
I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with the series. Once I finished, I couldn’t stop thinking about it so I knew I had to write about it to digest it. While on the surface of it, it is about the achievement gap between white and black students, but it’s also about the students.
Throughout the series, the audience gets a glimpse into several students’ lives. They are all so vastly different that it’s hard to pinpoint a favorite. Do you want a favorite? There were so many and they each brought something different to the story. I found it endearing that we, the audience, do get to see the kids grow in the way that teenagers are constantly growing and evolving.
From the beginning, the documentary followed several black students and their stories. It took almost up until the second semester to find not just white students, but also the families who were willing to be open and honest in front of the camera regarding race. That was the main problem— finding families that could talk candidly about it. I can only imagine that for some white people, they have the privilege of never really looking at things through a racial lens. Unfortunately, for many people of color, we are not afforded that luxury.
America to Me reminded me of my own high school experience, for better or for worse. I was struck by how aware these kids were of how systemic racism is, but then remembered how young I was when that truth bomb exploded in my brain. These problems of racial disparity don’t just go away if they’re ignored. America to Me has sparked an important discussion that we, the audience, need to continue. If we continue these discussions, change can become a reality.