lately i've spent a lot of time lurking on local portland forums discussing the portland public school issue. trying to figure out which public school to send your child to, to me, is like staring down at several piles of dirt and picking the one that seems the least dirty. that is, unless you're privileged enough to live in one of the wealthier nabes where the parents can donate money to school programs.
but on these forums, it's a trip because parents of the mostly white, wealthy public schools will say things like, 'we love the school, but it's just not very diverse', or 'we want more diversity!'. i kept reading that phrase over and over from parents of those "whiter" schools. they want diversity!! but do they really? a couple thoughts came to my mind:
first, it's funny to think that just by me (or anyone black) being in a crowd of white people automatically makes the environment diverse. wow. just by plopping a handful of ethnic kids into a room of white people creates a "diverse" school.
and the thing that really gets me is that i seriously doubt they REALLY want diversity other than a few token ethnic kids. probably a handful more of black students in the school might satisfy their "need" but they know well and good that if their school suddenly flip flopped and became 90 percent black and 8 percent white, most of those parents would shudder and run for the hills and private schools.
why do they claim they want diversity so bad anyway? like black people are just interesting to watch and be around-we inherently provide instant culture? would those parents want to associate and befriend the other black students? do they have black friends? or do they just want them there so that their child can "experience culture" simply by gawking the black students in the classroom ? does it make the school complete?
from what i've heard from other black people who went to mostly white schools with only a handful of other black students, the white students did not include them as much, the black people had their little unit and they all stuck together. i guess it must make somebody (administrators?) feel good to say that there is diversity in their school, but i think that's about it.
and then i thought about the school my son attends. in my mind, i don't think of diversity as being just a bunch of black people. like, people think that a school that's mostly black is diverse. how is that diverse? as if blacks and hispanics alone epitomize diversity. the school my son goes to is like 8 percent white and then mostly black and hispanic with like 2 percent asian. the white parents who have kids there are always raving about how they love the diversity. okay, but is 8 percent white really diversity? i'm not necessarily advocating for more white people to join the school(well maybe i am?) but to be fair, diversity would be closer to an equal number of all different ethnicities. white people at our school are the minority.
i would have a hard time sending my son to a school where the black /multiracial kids only amounted to 8 percent. yet the white parents at my son's school seem to like being the 8 percent minority. go figure that.