Saturday, April 21, 2007


It has been a while since I've put anything new here and there are many reasons for that, but not now. The post that follows is one that was written about 5 months ago and has been post-dated to show up as next most recent to this. The reason is simple. I noticed something today. Something that is related to the next post. Racial awareness.

I grew up in Texas and Kansas. Aside from the white folk, the only minority group that I was exposed to to a great extent was hispanics. Now, whenever I speak with someone who is either white or hispanic, I don't think twice. If I am speaking with someone who is asian, or black, however, I do. It isn't about fear or self loathing, but it is an element that was not part of my upbringing. Hispanics were part of my childhood, school, carpooling, et cetera. I certainly saw people of other races/ethnicities growing up, but I never really interacted with them (there was one black student in kindergarten with me--whose name was also Jacob--but he was gone the next year). There is an awareness when I speak with someone who is of a different race than those I grew up with. Some times it is subtle. Other times it is less so.

I am moving and selling many of my posessions in a moving sale. At least two thirds of the people who have come by have been black (including my neighbors). I don't treat them differently, and I don't chat any more or less with them, but I am more likely to have a clearer recollection of them after they have gone.

I'm not sure to what extent they are aware of me, and the whole is likely more complex than I am stating here, but it leads me to one, specific conclusion: forced integration of schools from K-12 is the best way to fight racism. I know this has been tried. It needs one other thing, something to equalize all students, so that there is no difference (other than race) within the classroom: single dealer uniforms. Yea, yea, I know. Issues galore, including with many of my friends. I don't care. Kids don't care about skin color. Ever. They will, however, be very self conscious if they are otherwise different. If a school is naturally integrated (without having to bus) then it may not be an issue, but if one group or another has to be bussed to a different location then they may be entering a school where things are different in terms of manner and dress. If all students are dressed the same then that removes one barrier to integration between transported students and the rest of the campus. I never really had much of an opinion regarding uniforms before. I remember, though, that when younger I felt more out of place when I didn't have Z Cavaricci pants among "peers" that did than I ever did among people
with different ethnic backgrounds.

It's not even about money, necessarily. When I moved from Texas to Kansas, I was completely out of place again. My clothes were wrong. People were different. I don't really know how much, but I know that I integrated more easily into my new school because I didn't have to chose what to wear in the morning before my first day of class. I needed a new wardrobe for football games and mixers. I needed to find out what that was. I don't think that uniforms solve anything. They just make transition easier. Integration is the goal, and anything that makes it easier is welcome.

I'm probably too tired to be writing. I'm off to bed (once "Stomp" has finished).

1 comment:

Margie said...

What's up? Miss you!