Day 301: “It’s Not about Race Anymore,” Except Of Course, When It Is

Dante And Virgil In Hell by William-Adolphe Bo...
Dante And Virgil In Hell by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1850) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was browsing through the Freshly Pressed section of WordPress and came across this wonderful story.I don’t call it wonderful because it’s a happy story, it isn’t, but because it is a story that needs to be told to fight the silence of complacency. I have lost count how often I’ve heard people (usually, but not always white males) “it’s not about race anymore.” Like Hell it isn’t. We have a caste system in American culture but unlike other places like India we won’t admit to it. Our system says that if your skin is a color other than white you are less. You deserve a substandard education. What’s worse is that there are those of us privileged with a lighter skin color who will spout that they believe children of different ethnicities are just as deserving as their own children but if you were to suggest that they send their children to the local black school they would be shocked. Why? Because schools with an all-black student population are poorly funded and people know this which means that any child who goes to one will likely receive a poor education overall. Here is the question that those people shy away  from answering “why is an education that is not suitable for your child suitable for someone else’s just because their child’s skin is a different color than your child’s?”

People say that nowadays the question is of class, socioeconomic standing. One’s class is greatly influenced by their education. Racism is not dead. It is only less overt. Public schools whose student population consists of children from minority backgrounds  get less funding which means they can’t afford to pay their teachers as much as a predominantly white school. This means that  the teachers who are more likely to go the extra mile will often choose the higher paying job. With fewer teachers  willing to make the extra effort for their students it’s no wonder that they, working as hard as they might, do not have the means to achieve a test score which will make colleges  sit up and take the notice they should of bright and talented young people. It has to do with class all right, but all too often in this country a person’s socioeconomic standing has to do with the seemingly most arbitrary feature of a human being, and that is, and always will be, wrong.

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