Race & Education
As transracial adoptive parents we have a responsibility beyond typical parenting. I want my kids to be smart, healthy and happy and I want them to be strong black citizens.
As we look into communities we're often judging how racially "diverse" they are. While reading an old post at Antiracistparent I began to delve deeper into my feelings on that subject. Part of the post there quoted:
Barry-Austin recalled a New York Times article from several years ago that looked at South Orange and its racial make-up (Preserving a Delicate Balance by Andrew Jacobs: May 18, 1997.) In it, the author cited the words of Professor Douglas S. Massey, a professor of sociology at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of ”American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass” (Harvard University Press, 1993.) Professor Massey spoke of surveys in which African-Americans respondents describe a neighborhood as ideally integrated when the racial composition is a 50/50 mixture of the two races. To most of the white people surveyed, on the other hand, integration meant more of an 80/20 mixture (heavy on the whites, please.)How much diversity are we looking for? Is there a number I can put on it? Historically St. Louis' racial census has been 50/50....but that does not mean you can go into any neighborhood and find that diversity. Like many urban cities we are still very segregated. AA communities to the north and Caucasian communities to the south. Our lack of integrated diverse community options had us thinking that maybe we should just look into strong black communities instead.
Then I had to go and watch CNN's Black in America, The Black Woman & Family. One of the interviews was with a Harvard professor who quoted that children in undevoloped countries get a better education than black children in this country. God that makes my heart sink. I know that there is a huge gap in the resources that historically black schools receive compared to white schools. They quoted the drop out rate among black high school students as 50%. FIFTY percent. I don't want my kids to be that statistic. What parent does?
I don't want my kids to struggle, I want to give them every educational opportunity I can. Since my kids all have some special needs I know I'm going have to advocate to make sure that they already get some of the same educational advantages typically developing children receive. We're already seeing how hard that can be in a school district with no funds. (This week we enrolled the girls in the local magnet school that they were accepted in -boy that's another post)
I want to live somewhere where rich white folk pay high taxes so my kids can go to a great school. I want my kids to attend schools where the teachers are highly educated and credentialed. I want schools that have the latest technology and state of the art science labs. Typically that's a white community. Why does that make me feel so uneasy? Am I using racism and white privilege to my advantage instead of fighting the man?
A long time ago I read the book Silver Rights about one family's fight to send their kids to the local white school after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 mandated the desegregation of all public schools. I remember thinking after I read that book that I would make sure that my kids took advantage of every opportunity that they paved the way for.
But as a transracial family it's not that easy.