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Double Standards at UAM

SMASH SEXISM … Labor Day (Tag der Arbeit), Free to use under the Unsplash License

Throughout the halls of Urban Assembly Media High School, a number of students have experienced double standards, and whether it is caused by staff or the students themselves, it is still an issue that occurs and should be brought to everyone’s attention. 

Double standards are defined as a code or policy that favors one group or person over another. The interviews that we conducted in the last weeks have highlighted a very controversial truth, which is that UAM actively reinforces favoritism and gender stereotypes, mostly illustrated by the phrase boys will be boys.

Some students have shared their experience with this favoritism and sexism. A primary example of this within UAM is how the boys soccer team tends to get favored and in certain situations that include the members getting in trouble, staff has looked the other way.

According to one student, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the issue, when answering a question about why they think the soccer boys are treated less strictly, stated “The school thinks that just because the soccer championships are getting UAM recognition, they feel like the school needs to give the soccer players something because they’re growing the school’s popularity.”  

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UAM is known as a soccer school and it has gotten attention because of the soccer championship and prior seasons’ successes. Disciplining soccer players in trouble would damage the school’s reputation. 

UAM is a school that talks about equality and promotes itself as a safe space for students and staff. While this might be true physically, UAM can get emotionally tiring, especially when students see behavior that is harmful, allowed because of double standards, not acknowledged as important to address, or given an okay by not enforcing consequences.

High school students are highly impressionable, spending 30+ hours in school a week. If there are no consequences, this will shape young minds to think that these stereotypes are okay and send us into the world passing this harmful ideology, ultimately doing more harm than good.

Another issue detailed in our interviews were instances where female students get taunted by male students, but when the female does something about it and stands up for themselves, they’re labeled as overreacting, but the “boy is being just a boy.”

Egypt Terry, 12th grader and UAM Hub Reporter,  shared with us an experience where this took place. “A male student said the n-word and I confronted them about it. They were not penalized, they were not spoken to, but I was told to calm down and I was treated as if my anger was not allowed or right in the situation that I encountered.”

When an incident occurs with male students at UAM, we feel that the community is usually told to let it go because boys are immature, or that boys will be boys, but the only thing that does is normalize the behavior of some of these students. This is not to say that these students don’t get reprimanded by staff in certain situations, but we want to emphasize that staff shouldn’t look the other way at some of these boys’ behavior.

Additionally, double standards occur in sports at the MLK campus. Let’s take girls basketball as an example. Teisha Wilson, 12th grader, captain of the girls varsity basketball team, and UAM Hub Reporter, shared with us her opinion of double standards she has seen in sports at the MLK campus. 

“Coach Jake, the MLK sports director, caters to the boys soccer team the most. We have games in Staten Island this season and I don’t know if Coach Jake is going to give us the support that we need to travel over there together as a team.”

On the other hand, the soccer team has transportation for their games. Milena Benmergui, 10th grader and reporter at the UAM Hub, has ridden with the boys team, which had two buses, and at the moment, the girls teams are unsure of getting one.

Overall, we believe that it is the faculty’s fault for creating such a difference in treatment between girls and boys, between students and the soccer team student athletes, because if they continue to allow it, differences will further be exaggerated and other students will continue to feel less than or as if they aren’t as important or are not being acknowledged.

We as a collective should be celebrating the team’s wins and accomplishments, but not give them favored treatment because it divides the students.

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About the Contributors
Milena Benmergui
Milena Benmergui is a sophomore at UAM high school. She loves reading and watching movies. She is currently learning American Sign Language.
Lisseth Mendez
Lisseth is a sophomore at UAM high school and is a part of the UAM Hub newspaper. She enjoys spending time with friends and learning new things.
Klara Novo
Klara is a sophomore at UAM high school. She likes hanging out with family and friends and experiencing new things. She aspires to be this year's Editor in Chief of the Hub.
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