Staying away from ‘them’ – commentary

April 13, 2007
By

Let’s get down to brass tacks about the middle school lottery situation.
Everyone on the West side of the city is choosing the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) and simply won’t be swayed to send their child to either the Garfield or Rumney – where middle-schoolers have gone for the past decade or more.
A lot of people are saying it is because they want their kids to be close to home – they don’t want to travel over ‘there.’
I think if you peel back the onion, for a good amount of folks, it’s yet another bit of anti-immigrant and racist elitism.
Without those euphemisms or veiled excuses, I believe it comes down to the fact that there are a lot of people on the west side of the city who want their kids to go to school with ‘their own kind’ and not ‘them.’
The same situation unfolded when the Garfield School opened in the 1990s and kids had to go to either the Beachmont or Garfield. The Garfield was predominantly Asian and the climate was one where no proper child from a ‘good’ family was going to be caught in the Garfield. Funny thing is, after time passed, those Asian kids from the Garfield proved to be the valedictorians and leaders in their classes at the high school.
It just goes to show that everyone likes to talk about how much things have gotten better, when really they’re not the same. When it comes to hard, gut-wrenching decisions – decisions that affect your children – a good amount of people flock passively to the old racist ways that they haven’t shed, though they would never admit it. I think most white people would say things are fair and everyone is pretty much treated equally these days.
Ask any person who is black, Arab, Asian, Muslim, Hispanic, Brazilian or an immigrant and I’d bet they tell you differently.
Nothing changes until people are willing to do what is right despite their fears of potential consequences.

  • Jo el

    Dear Seth, do you have children? Have you taken a pole as to excatly how manyof us on the west side feel as you say we do? You have chosen to represent the west side from your slanted biased view. Unless you have hard evidence to support your arguement it is false and unfair to accuse others. From this article it shows this is your opinion. I find it striking that you would print only your side and that you would base this story on speculation and your “beliefs”. What you are accusing others of doing is what you have done.
    This piece does nothing to unify or shed light on the differences and encourage tolerance and understanding and to find ways to over come any negative attitudes but increases the divide without providing any concrete positive information on how to do so. I would disagree that “most white people” say things are fair. My child was treated poorly by other whites, students and staff in the school system you speak of and hers was the second bulling case in this state. Therefore it my opinion that this piece is only half the story. Joel

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