Thursday, June 08, 2006

Seattle Public Schools Racism Recap

Thought I should say something on the topic although clearly I could not do it as well as Sound Politics has here and here and here and here and here and here. I wrote a note to one of Sound Politics contributors earlier today, Jim Miller, who himself has an exceptional blog, to let him know it was an SP post about
The SPS Department of Race and Equity is looking for SEA members to participate in a "Prayer in Schools Committee," the charge of which is to look at how to address this issue District wide and to provide information about our Muslim students that will help teachers and building leaders make decisions that support the needs of our diverse students and families.

that got me looking into the Seattle Public Schools Department of Race and Equity and the next thing you know, Andrew Sullivan is blogging about what I found, I am hearing about it on the Michael Medved show and a guy I use to work with who has since moved to Kansas City MO. is telling me he heard about it.

Now to give proper credit, the one that really got this rolling was and always is Orbusmax which is the one stop shop for all things North West news related and posted the initial link that was picked up by Sound Politics and spread to the Seattle PI, Seattle Times, various KVI hosts etc.

But anyway... back to the reason I am finally posting again on the subject. As many already know, the original definition of racism site was taken down by the Seattle Public School District and "revised" with the following:
In response to the numerous concerns voiced regarding definitions posted on the Equity & Race website, we have decided to revise our website in a way that will hopefully provide more context to readers around the work that Seattle Public Schools is doing to address institutional racism. The intended purpose of our work in the area of race and social justice is to bring communities together through open dialogue and honest reflection around what is meant by racism and the impact is has on our society and more specifically, our students. Our intention is not to put up additional barriers or develop an "us against them" mindset, nor is it to continue to hold onto unsuccessful concepts such as a melting pot or colorblind mentality. It is our hope that we can explore the work of leading scholars in the areas of race and social justice issues to help us understand the dynamics and realities of how racism permeate throughout our society and use their knowledge to help us create meaningful change. This difficult work is vital to the success of our students and families. Thank you for sharing your concerns.

Warm regards,
Caprice D. Hollins, Psy.D.
Director of Equity & Race Relations
Seattle Public Schools

Now maybe I have missed it or maybe I am reading this wrong but why is nobody screaming and yelling over the statement "nor is it to continue to hold onto unsuccessful concepts such as a melting pot or colorblind mentality." I would really like a clarification from Dr. Hollins about that comment because it sure sounds to me like she thinks the idea of America being a melting pot and the goal of a colorblind society is not something that can be accomplished or should be pursued.

But if you think about it, I guess I should not be surprised that in Seattle, nobody is upset because assimilation and a colorblind society where everyone is treated equally is not the goal. For example, my State Senator, Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles has continually worked to allow Universities to use race as a factor in admissions, SB 5575 - 2005-06, in clear violation of I-200 which states:
The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.

Isn't that what the government should do, treat everyone the same, regardless of the color of your skin, your race, sex or ethnicity? Liberals like to claim Martin Luther King as their own, just do not ask them to work towards his goals.

One true story... was talking with a neighbor a few years ago, a really good guy although your typical Seattle liberal, who happens to be a lawyer and graduated from the University of Michigan both undergrad and law school. After the Supreme Court cases dealing with U of M affirmative action were heard, I asked him his opinion on the subject. He said at the time of his admission, he would have been against affirmative action because he was on the admissions bubble and if they had it then, he most likely would not have got in. Now, he is in favor of it because he thinks it is important to have a more diverse society in jobs such as his where you can earn a decent living because if someone of color becomes a lawyer because of affirmative action, that persons kids will have a better chance when they are applying for law school and may not need affirmative action. So I explained my position that affirmative action, by its definition allows someone to be admitted who would otherwise not be admitted based on merit. So this person, who is displacing another person because there are a finite number of seats, clearly must be considered towards the bottom of the class academically at least at the start. Now some of the students from that class will drop out and it seems logical that those who just barely qualified to get in are more likely than those who easily made it in to drop out. So after a couple of years of school, if this person does not drop out, and if this person decides to take the bar exam and if this person passes the bar and if this person decides to practice law and if this person gets married and if this person has kids and if this persons kids decide to go to law school, then 25 or 35 years from now, maybe 2 or 3 more kids of color will not need affirmative action to get into law school.

So I asked why not try to find out the real problem in why that person of color does not qualify on his own merit now and fix the problem now? Well ya know, that is kind of a hard thing to do. Well sure it is if you live in Seattle where the Public School District considers a melting pot and colorblind society an "unsuccessful concept".

1 comment:

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