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Sunday, December 3, 2006

Black & White

posted by on December 3 at 13:16 PM

Here’s an ancient Stranger article from the Summer of ‘99 about the initial rumblings that would eventually become Parents Involved in Community Schools vs. Seattle School District the case that’s being argued in the U.S. Supreme Court tomorrow.

The Plaintiffs, shot down in by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in late 2005, contend that the Seattle School District’s admission policy, used between 1999 and 2001, violated the 14th Amendment by discriminating against white students. The District policy used race as a tiebraker when the number of students trying to get into a particular shcool was greater than the spots available. The school district policy was an attempt to make the popular schools reflect the 60/40 split of non-white to white students respectively in the district as a whole.

Our ‘99 article cast the spotlight on the hypocrisy of a white liberal parent who put the issue on the map by becoming the poster mom for John Carlson and his crusade to enforce I-200 after her own child got bumped by the tiebreaker.

The money quote:

“Just because we didn’t pick a certain school, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad school—it’s just not best for our kid,” Spracklin says. Angst-ridden over the situation, she adds, “I don’t feel I’m a racist. It’s just really weird when, man, it’s your kid.”

Even more ancient history (and this will make John Carlson’s head explode): When I was a kid in public school kindergarten in Rockville, Maryland, my hippie teacher (Ms. Williams) used to have us sing this Three Dog Night #1 hit song:

Black & White

(D.Arkin/E.Robinson)

The ink is black, the page is white
Together we learn to read and write
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight

And now a child can understand
That this is the law of all the land, all the land

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
Together they grow to see the light, to see the light

And now at last we plainly see
We’ll have a dance of Liberty, Liberty!

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
Together they grow to see the light, to see the light

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
The whole world looks upon the sight, a beautiful sight

The world is black, the world is white
It turns by day and then by night
A child is black, a child is white
Together they grow to see the light, to see the light

C’mon, get it, get it
Ohh-ohhhh, yeah, yeah
Keep it up now, around the world
Little boys and little girls
Yeah, yeah-eah, oh-ohhh

RSS icon Comments

1

I don't wanna sound like Racist Watch, but that bitch's attitude is Seattle's attitude toward race in a nutshell. "I love black people, went to college with black people, I watch Spike Lee movies, damn the racist response to Hurricane Katrina...wait, you want me to live next to negroes? Honey, I think it's worth an extra fifty grand and one less bedroom to buy a house in a neighborhood with fewer negroes. Now, where was I? Oh, yeah, Ujaama, my proud African-American brothers. My kid learned that at the almost entirely white private school I send him to."

Posted by Gitai | December 3, 2006 3:02 PM
2

People buy into the hysteria and hype. I've seen otherwise quite normal and rational parents get their panties in a HUGE bunch over which public school their little darling will attend.

It makes one long for the days when you just went to the school that was assigned to your neighborhood. That's what my parents did with me, and I didn't turn out so bad. I went to college and everything.

Posted by catalina vel-duray | December 3, 2006 3:25 PM
3

Perhaps this is simply a clear demonstration of the hypocrisy of opposing racial discrimination on the one hand and then advocating it on the other. As this case shows, such a thing is only possible for an individual when that individual's private interests are not at stake.

Posted by The Dismal Scientist | December 3, 2006 4:07 PM
4

Where I grew up, you went to the school in your neighborhood and minority kids were bused in. Social engineering, I suppose, but the result seemed much better than the Seattle system.

Posted by Sean | December 3, 2006 6:30 PM
5

Catalina, you were fortunate enough to have a neighborhood school that was adequate at the least for you to attend. Speaking from my experience on the east coast, if you were black, you were likely to be stuck with schools in inner city neighborhoods that were of poor quality. In my case, my mother worked the system to enable me to go to a school in a predominantly white area, which was an adequate as opposed to a bad school.

Things should be so simple as everybody attending their neighborhood schools. However, as long as we have institutional racism, even in liberal seattle, setting up inherently unequal conditions of educational quality, any means neccessary to give kids a shot at going to school outside of their neighborhoods if it means a better quality of education is fine by me.

Posted by neo-realist | December 3, 2006 7:59 PM
6

When I was in third grade our music teacher had a meltdown (I learned that's what happened years later - at the time they just said she would be "out for a rest" or something, and she was gone for 2 months) and the hippy who took her place taught us the theme to Billy Jack,"One Tin Soldier:"



Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
'Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.

On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone,
And the valley-people swore
They'd have it for their very own.

(CH:) Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won't be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgement day,
On the bloody morning after....
One tin soldier rides away.

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure,
Tons of gold for which they'd kill.

Came an answer from the kingdom,
"With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain,
All the riches buried there."

(Ch)

Now the valley cried with anger,
"Mount your horses! Draw your sword!"
And they killed the mountain-people,
So they won their just reward.

Now they stood beside the treasure,
On the mountain, dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it...
"Peace on Earth" was all it said.

(Ch X 2)

Heavy stuff for 8 year olds.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 3, 2006 8:45 PM
7

I'm jealous. I, too, went to public school kindergarten in Rockville, MD, and we had to sing It's a Grand Old Flag.

It's a grand old flag,
It's a high-flying flag,
And forever in peace may it wave.
It's the emblem of
The land I love,
The home of the free and the brave . . .

Blech.

Posted by Cate | December 3, 2006 9:46 PM
8

Cate,
I think I just lucked out with Ms. Williams. By 1rst grade, we were singing It's a Grand Old Flag too—and no 3 Dog Night.

Posted by Josh Feit | December 3, 2006 10:46 PM
9

Black and White - compsed by Earl Robinson of West Seattle - see HistoryLink

Posted by loopynella | December 5, 2006 4:53 AM

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