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12-Year-Old Students Are More Aware of Racism Than Most Adults

It's not just adults who notice and experience racism in today's world. WNYC, a public radio station in New York City, is shedding light on the prejudices 12-year-old students are facing in their lives. That's right—they're only 12.

WNYC produced a video series called "Being 12," which asks NYC students "What are you?" in reference to their ethnic backgrounds. Their answers are vast and varied. They are African-American, Puerto Rican, Irish-American, Venezuelan and every mix in between.

They share their stories of the racism they are already facing at such a young age. One girl tells a story about simply trying to share a traditional meal from her native Venezuela and being teased for it.

"I cried," she said. "'Cause I felt like, 'Oh, there's something wrong with where I'm from. Like, maybe it's bad, like, I'm different.' "

Their stories are a powerful reminder of the problems still plaguing American society. These students are in the early stages of adolescence, and at an age where they are dealing with heightened emotions and puberty, they are already feeling the negative effects of racism.

"You start to notice that people are different and you have comments," one boy said. "They might be racist or they might not be, but by the time you get older, you know that it is racist and you should stop."

Image via WNYC Radio

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