Sunday, October 25, 2015

Separate is NOT Equal: reflection/connnection

While I listened to episode number 562 of "This American Life", I was outraged at the fact that we are in the TWENTY FIRST century and students are still struggling to have an equal opportunity to education,, essentially because of their race. When the parents were having their meeting in the gym during this episode of the podcast, I was so angry that they were treating the children from the other school as if they they were savage, violent people when in reality they were just the same as their own kids, with the only difference being the amount of opportunities to succeed being far less (due to poor teaching, old/run down/broken facilities ETC). To me this scene sounded very much like one that would have gone on fifty or so years ago, not something that should be happening now! I was especially angry when a parent said that the arguments they were making were not about race and that she was angry/tired of people making it about race, when the things that all the parents were yelling about were things that racist people decades ago would have been saying, word for word. This goes back to Johnson, who argues that people should be talking about sex/gender/race/racism/disability explicitly and not hiding it behind other terms. If these parents, as children, had been told explicitly what racist comments are and how people with colored skin are not different from themselves, they would most likely not be making arguments and painful accusations like they were int this scene. The parent that spoke about the issue not being about race, and the rest of the parents who cheered in agreement, did not understand that what they were doing and saying was wrong on so many levels, partially because they were never taught. On a similar note, Bob Herbert states that

What I think is a shame is that we have to do all of this humiliating dancing around the perennially uncomfortable issue of race. We pretend that no one’s a racist anymore, but it’s easier to talk about pornography in polite company than racial integration.

Why is race still such an uncomfortable subject for us today, after our long history of fighting racism and discussing it throughout the years? Why can nobody be explicit about race, and own up to an argument or action being racist, instead of glossing over it like the parent above did? I am hoping that as the years and generations go by, this will change.

In the second episode of this podcast, they spoke briefly about how years down the line things would change so that parents would want their children to be integrated within schools and experience life with students of different races. This reminded me of Delpit; the rules would change along with the codes of power. Instead of white parents having the majority of the power and being able to say "no, we don't want these children who are poor/of a different race to go to our schools" and moving away when integration starts to occur, they will want to send their children to these schools, because facilities will have improved, along with the quality of teaching. An example of this is the school in Connecticut which has amazing facilities and children and teachers who are eager and happy to be there. These are the types of schools we need to have more of.

I went to a public school that had a great culture and was very diverse in terms of different races/ethnic backgrounds, and it was very surprising and shocking to me when I heard the first episode that segregation is something that still goes on in public schools. Throughout my whole life, my elementary, middle and high schools had a big range of nationalities so I have to say I was ignorant to the other types of schools/situations that are still in abundance in the United states, according to this podcast.

Here is a video that explains how segregation in schools is not improved from sixty years ago.


  1. I really like that you added a video in your blog it really connects to everything that you're saying!

  2. I completely agree with your reaction to the parents meeting in the first podcast. It was crazy to hear those types of responses in today's society.