Monday, July 09, 2007

School Integration Assumes Black Inferiority

Here is a paragraph from an article from "The Economist" magazine that caught my attention.

It's really about the middle class (Note: this is the title heading of the section from the magazine)

The point often gets lost in debates about school vouchers, choice and the role of competition. At the core of the debate lie competing theories about what disadvantaged students need most. Voucher advocates argue that they need their own money to spend, so that schools will compete over them.

Many voucher opponents, by contrast, believe that what poor (or black) children need most is access to rich (or white) children every day in the classroom, along with all the advantages that affluent and involved parents bring to their children's schools. They favour spending more money on schools and teachers' salaries, but fear that competition from outside the system would undermine integration.

While it is true that this passage represents the author's interpretation of the situation at hand it also ominously articulates the racist foundations of many of the assumptions upon Black schools. Included within this argument is the desire to protect the status quo of the system by many who argue against school choice.

It is clear that many people believe that Black children in racially segregated schools will never be educated properly. This is even the case in Prince Georges County Maryland and Dekalb County Georgia - which are the top 2 ranked majority Black counties in the country. I have not seen these claims about Black school inferiority limited to poverty ridden schools and thus the concept of "racial inferiority" is tip toed through ever so gently.

The passage also indicates that "involved parents" are a critical element. I fail to see how income is a predictor of involvement. If those promoting educational improvements agree with this then we should at least heard this strongly promoted to the parents. No such comments are heard. Their focus is mostly on government policies rather than what the parent and student must do to achieve the state of quality education.

Equally disturbing is the quest by the "Government Operated Schools Industrial Complex" for increased salaries and the elimination of all competition. While such a scenario is good for the teachers union and those who hold power within the system as is (superintendents, principals, etc) does not directly speak to the best interests of the students. I have learned over time that it is a tragic mistake to confuse the interests of the teachers unions with the interests of the students. I am in full support of the teachers unions looking out for the teachers. I have a problem when they pretend to be objective participants in the interests of the students. They are not!

Thus we are lead to conclude that the "rich White kid" is the point of reference that Blacks students should aspire to sit in class with. I keep having the image of the "ubiquitous White kid in the classroom" who insures Black academic proficiency playing the part of the tree stump that is rubbed during Amateur Night at the Apollo Theater. In the case of the White kid in the room - at the start of each class period the line of Black kids walking out of the just completed classroom lesson rub their hands on his white skin in order for osmosis of knowledge from his brain to theirs to take place. You might laugh this scenario off but the arguments of many of the school integrationalists does not vary much from this plan.

The segregation prior to Brown V Board that of "Black man you are not allowed to attend our school regardless of where you live" and thus a child who resided with his mother who was a live in housekeeper in a White community STILL could not attend the local school of his residence because of his color. This was segregation meant at maintaining the lower social class of Black folks using the force of government. The segregation of today is a reflection of housing patterns. A Black person living anywhere in the United States is legally allowed to attend the public school to which his legal residence grants him access to. His parents has legal recourse if he was denied admission.

I am opposed to restrictive segregation - this was the case against Black people in this country of the past
I am also not willing to use government to engineer racial outcomes that exceed people's residential free will. White people though not allowed to block a Black family from moving into their community also have the right to choose not to stay once the community begins to "turn". I am living in such a community today. I resolve to keep my own property fully maintained and do my part to ensure that I am not the one who let my community down. I ultimately have no control over what White folks are going to do in the way of their residential living choices. I can insure that my children lift the school's academic averages rather than weigh upon them.

We need to focus on improving Black schools rather than chasing after White folks all of the time.


I am not Star Jones said...

I dropped in to say thanks for commenting on my post. You make excellent points in this post about school integration. I think another point that gets lost in debates is how much parents (regardless of class, race and economics) need to be involved with their kid's education from birth to ...

To me, everyone needs to be taught on how to create critical thinkers and engaged citizens before even becoming a parent.

Constructive Feedback said...

The question that was asked in a book by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. seems fitting:

"Where Do We Go From Here?"

It seems that hard headed people who have had their way with regard to policy for African-Americans for the past 40 years are undaunted in their calculations that "if we keep trying harder to do the very same things that have thus far failed us, things might change".

As I debate various Black people I can only conclude that they actually do feel that Black people are "less than". Of course they are not going to admit this.

One thing they avoid is to have Black people be freely exposed to the CONSEQUENCES of the policies that they promote.