Self-Segregation, and other observations

The other day, my friends and I were discussing the way the school systems have taken to bussing kids from one place to another in an attempt to make their schools more “diverse”.

As a side note: I put “diverse” in quotation marks because of an interesting experience I had in Person County Schools. We visited one school, which confessed to being 90% white, and 10% black. That mean that out of the 200 children in the elementary school, 2 of them were black. It looks alot worse when you say that 2 out of 200 children are Black. At any rate, when we visited the school across town I asked about their demographics, and wondered if they were more “diverse”. The white teacher nodded eagerly and said “Oh yes! We’re extremely diverse! We’re 80% Black, 10%Hispanic, and 10% White”. I was confused at that point, because I didn’t think “diverse” translated into “We have a lot of Black people here”.

We noted that these school systems had a lovely habit of shipping kids based on socioeconomic status, which is almost always tied into race in this part of the country, so it meant that schools decided to solve the problem of having kids shunned from a school based upon their race by once again shunning them from schools based upon their race. I think the main arguments against segregation in education was that 1) the Black schools were second-hand schools, and alot worse than the White schools and that 2) Black students were forced to travel long distances to go to school because they were not allowed to go to the school down the street. At any rate, an interest in cultural education was not one of the points – probably is not now. I find that the “Black” schools are still second-hand schools, and that the Black students (and White students) are still forced to travel farther to go to school, because the school down the street is not diverse enough.

Despite all the hard work schools have done to make sure that the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slaveowners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood I’ve noticed that people have continued to self-segregate. People still go to White churches or Black churches, and live in White neighborhoods or Black neighborhoods…as evidenced by the summer camps that have come to visit the planetarium. Nearly all of the groups that have come to visit are completely segregated, with the exception of the YMCA camps and the YWCA camps, because they are church groups, or neighborhood community center type groups. In fact, I think I have only taught 4 Black children at Nerd Camp, and two of those (biological siblings only, oddly) were adopted by White parents. I bring this up, only because I note that it’s not the children that are choosing where to go to camp and where to go to the pool, but their parents are. And the parents choose them to put them in this camp or that, based upon where their friends are going, and then their children hang out together all summer, come back to school, and decide to sit together in the cafeteria, or in the library, or when choosing seats in the classroom. And so, does it really matter if the schools continue to desegregate people to the best of their ability? It appears not, because as soon as school is over, and no one is forced to be friends anymore, I’ve found that the children and their parents go back to their separate sides, and cultivate friendships based upon, for the most part, the color line.

And the sad part is…
I have no idea what to do ’bout it, or if, in fact, anything needs to be done about it.
I mean, is it so bad that people want to go to church with their friends and family members? Is it so bad that people want to go to a school with their neighbors? I suppose I can’t fault them for that…

On another note, the weather is hot like WHOA, and it doesn’t feel like it’s going to get any better any time real real soon. Last night, it was still about 80 degrees outside at 11:00! Craziness!
HEAT ADVISORY: A Heat advisory is in effect until 5 p.m. because of a combination of hot temperatures and high humidity levels that will result in heat index values from around 105 up to 110 degrees over central N.C.


About alburnet

New mom, new natural, and..for the last year...still a new teacher!

Posted on July 22, 2005, in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. Bad Math
    Leave it to me to point out flaws in your math, but 10% of 200 kids means there are 20 black kids, not 2. Also, haven’t we talked about this very issue at length? Things like this take time to change. It isn’t like the government is doing it and there is someone to protest against.
    For this to change people have to talk to people of other races freely. I think we are pretty good at this, though some of our friends aren’t very good at all with it. We both have friends of another race where we are one of a handful of their friends of our race.
    Where you talk about things still being the same with ‘black’ schools still being second-hand and black students still having to travel farther, that sounds like there needs to be some local change and at a last resort a Title VI lawsuit. Oh well, the world will never be perfect.

    • Re: Bad Math
      Whoops, you’re right, my math is bad…but then again, so is the principal’s…because she said that they were 90% white and when interrogated further, she said they had 2 black students, and a few hispanic ones.
      So maybe by “90%” she actually meant “94%” or something like that, and was just trying to make the number sound better, or maybe she meant “10% Other”… At any rate, she’s better than the principal that informed our Discovery Bus her middle school was 50% White, 50% Black, and 10% Other. I’d call that bad math, at leas my percentages added up to 100…
      And yeah, I’m not saying that the government isn’t doing enough, or that people are openly protesting…I’m saying that is sucks that the government is trying so hard to get people to do something they obviously don’t want or see the need to do.

  2. never mind me, really
    Do I get to be an exception, or do I get categorized by socio-economic status?

    • Re: never mind me, really
      As far as schooling goes, I think you were pretty much categorized by socio-economic status…however, as far as living goes, when you lived with your mom, I know it was pretty much “let’s find a decent place to live, let’s forget what the neighbors look like…” however, no matter how many “other” kids you tell me live at the White Orphanage, I think that you still got into that placed based on the fact that you seem to be a good, white, christian girl…which means that again, the adults in your life have used self-segregation to determine who you do and do not associate with.
      Then again, you’re pretty much the exception to every rule…except for the make-up one.

      • Re: never mind me, really
        You’ve not seen some of the places I lived.

      • Re: never mind me, really
        Okay, I think it was more about finding an affordable place to live. Forgive my use of the word decent, but I would classify decent as some place that has a roof and four walls, and perhaps a door. A door would be nice.

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