Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Academic Apartheid

I'll paraphrase a line from the movie Stand and Deliver: "There are two types of racism, Mr. Escalante--singling people out because of their race, and not singling people out because of their race."

Back in the "civil rights era" of the 50's and 60's, the goal was a colorblind society--a society whose laws did not treat people differently because of their race. Laws--ignored today but still on the books--state that people will be treated without regard to their race, or without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

So imagine my surprise when I received this link via email today:

The board is calling for a two-tiered form of student discipline. One for Black and Hispanic students; one for everyone else.

With the goal of creating a "restorative school culture and climate" that conveys a "sense of belonging to all students," the board is insisting that its schools reduce its suspensions and/or expulsions of minority students to the point that the data reflect "no ethnic/racial disparities"...

Offenses by students will be judged, and penalties meted out, depending on the student's hue.

I've written about this kind of thing before (here's just one example), and I always come to the same conclusion: Promoting Thurgood Marshall's and Dr. King's dreams of a truly colorblind society--not one that ignores race, but one that doesn't allow race to separate people before the law--would alleviate both kinds of racism (identified in the first paragraph above). Here's a post I wrote about race and education, quoting Marshall as well as the Civil Rights Act of 1964--do you agree with Marshall, or with the race-baiters of today?

I believe that the civil rights pioneers would be appalled at what's going on in the Tucson schools, as should anyone who thinks of people as individuals and not just as members of racial groups.


Ellen K said...

So does that mean one group will be sent to jail and another offered counseling? If that's the case, then we have truly come full circle. A rule is a rule and the penalties should apply REGARDLESS of color, not because of it. What left wing kook wrote this stuff? And at what point will parents start protesting, because believe me if some kid hit my child and got counseling instead of suspension, there would be a price to pay.

Anonymous said...

How is this sort of policy possible given the passage of Proposition (I forget the number), supported by Ward Connerly that forbade discrimation based on color?

Darren said...

I don't know. I wonder what the school board in Tucson would say.