Diversity Isn't Just About Color
My corner of the world has been popping up in national news lately. One might think it's cool to be in the New York Times, USA Today, and NPR. Not so in this case. I'm afraid what the national media attention is doing to Southern stereotypes right about now. In fact, I'm afraid what our school board's actions and public's messages are doing to those stereotypes. Our newly elected school board is poised to overturn a decades-long diversity policy that has drawn Wake County Public Schools into the limelight. Not for its painful failures, but for its profound successes. While not perfect, the diversity policy centers on mixing kids based on socioeconomic levels.
Diversity is not just about color.
Diversity is about understanding, exposure, and embracing of culture, creed, and color.
I love that my son attends an international studies magnet school that is replete with kids whose primary languages range from Spanish to Korean to French. He has studied German since kindergarten and benefits from a curriculum that is enriched by a global perspective. Such is the world we live in. Such is the world our children will lead in. My son is in school with kids who do not look like him or live like him. And I love that. There is an insidious danger in sameness.
Let me tell you a brief tale. When my son was a toddler a friend came over with her daughter. This friend is the consummate doctor's wife and fit every stereotype running through your head. Her daughter attended private school and lived in a wealthy, white neighborhood. When she traipsed into our little 85 year old house she looked around, eyes wide, mouth agape, look of shock scribbled across her crinkled face, and yelped, "Oh goodness! Where is your playroom?!" My husband, in all the glee he could muster and all the sarcasm he could squash, waved his arms in a sweeping gesture across the room and said, "Here it is. We play in our whole house." The little girl was shocked, inconceivable that a house didn't have a dedicated playroom. The mother, not embarrassed in the least, simply commented that everyone they knew had a playroom. We shrugged and went about our business.Continued on the next page