Sitting in my kitchen chair, rocking back and forth while listening to The Podcast 562 & 563 on "The Problem We All Live With", I couldn't help but to feel anger and aggravation. And not with the points that they were making, but with the fact that those points should not be something that in the 21st century, we are still arguing about. In the Pod cast and the article, "Separate but Unequal" by Bob Herbert, they both discuss similar problems of separation and inequality across schools and school districts with race and education. The more I sit and think about it, the more it applies to my life. The elementary school I attended was a nice school, set back in a nice neighborhood, with a population of 95% white families. Had Providence forced inner city children to join our classrooms I could picture hearing many of my peers parents saying the same things that these parents were complaining about.
Many of the parents argued that their children's safety was being taken from them, and that the quality of their education will demise if these African American children walk down Francis Howell School Hallways. These children were coming from Normandy High School which was the "ghetto" area. Parents talked at the meeting for this movement like it was 1954 and desegregation/integration was a new concept. These children had no opportunity at the schools they were attending and their only hope was to receive the education that many of those white students were privileged to not have to fight for this education. Parents spoke as if they would appreciate someone talking about their own children like this at a meeting. As if these kids are not the same as their own. This is 2015 and these preconceptions of African American children still are very present. I recall one parent stating that they are "not allowed to cross the bridge into our home" . This comment blew my mind, but also became a reality for me because I could picture everyone in my neighborhood saying this exact line. I have heard people in "my" part of town say things like this. Just because someones skin color is different doesn't mean that all of this danger comes with them. They deserve the opportunities that are given to most of us. An African American child has to fight ten times harder for ANYTHING in this society than manuy middle and high class white children. Why is this? Why do we create this sense of struggle for only minority races?
These questions shouldn't have to be asked in our world today. The fact that is still does makes me want to fight even harder to change it. Equality is not equal in this day, anyone who sees to think it is only believes this because he/she is not negatively effected by it. I am not even close to negatively effected by it, but I still take it personal. These are people just like you and I, and if my child one day no matter what color, race, ethnicity they might be, should never have to feel out of place or uncwelcomed. Saying that I also plan to protect and represent every child that does/will feel this way. "We pretend that no one’s a racist anymore, but it’s easier to talk about pornography in polite company than racial integration. Everybody’s in favor of helping poor black kids do better in school, but the consensus is that those efforts are best confined to the kids’ own poor black neighborhoods." Bob Herbert states this in his article "Seperate and Unequal". We do pretend to not talk about race in this world. We leave the tension in the room because its easier to do so. I believe August would also agree with Herbert because topics such as race and LGBT should be talked about in order to be accepted and create safe spaces for students to thrive; but they aren't. People say they feel bad but do nothing to push for progress or growth. These students feel uncomfortable going into schools and classrooms because that big elephant in the room is sitting right there. Everyone can clearly see there is 20 white children to one African American child, so that should be talked about. The children should see this childs point of view in order to help them feel comfortable and avoid doing what makes that black child feel different. We should honor everyones differences; and when the bus showed up to Francis Howell School there was a greeting squad filled with cheerleaders and important school persons that welcomed the children not their new joinery into desecrating this school. This was a perfect way to create that safe space, and August would be thrilled to hear of something like that happening. I also agree with Herbert when he discusses that many educators are scared or reluctant and resistant to go to these inner city schools to teach. They feel that theres no point, or it is too dangerous. My family is from a pretty nice part of cranston, and my mother teaches in downtown providence where the minority is white children. When my mother tells other teachers in cranston where she works, they all have the same reaction "Oh my God good for you dealing with those children I could never!". Now it would be hypercritical of me to apply this across every teacher in nicer schools, but that reputation is very present. Many of the teachers are scared, and see it as a struggle instead of opportunity. I am lucky to have a mother who views is as an opportunity to change many childrens lives and give them the chances that many people deny them of.
I feel very passionate about this subject and I feel as though integration would be the next step to creating that truly equal world. Our society set out to do this in 1954 with Brown vs. The board of Education, but somewhere in time this concept fell through the cracks and the problem has still not been fixed. Integration needs to happen, and many positive outcomes will come from it. We will take away the anger of the lower class from feeling uncared for, we will allow for more equality among races and children not having these adduced dispositions about certain races, we will allow for room to have peace and love moving from race to race instead of negativity, and we will give the EQUAL opportunity for all children to have a chance to be successful in live and be given the tools necessary to do so. If this is something that can continue to happen and be fought for, we will see a big charge in our world. We need to have a cause for an effect, so lets ignite the fuse and look forward to the future.
A video I feel greatly represent an african american student and his/her concerns.
Notice a 61 year gap but notice the white women's facial reaction to integration isn't different at all. But the parents at Francis Howell say its not because of race, you decide.