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Nov 22 2011

Africentric school approved in Toronto

There are periodically – not often, mind you, but occasionally – points in race conversation when I am tempted to throw up my hands and say “you’re white, and you don’t get it! Just accept that I am right!” Oftentimes race issues require so much unpacking – privilege, history, demographics, sociology, the list goes on – that a seemingly innocuous topic or opinion actually takes a monumental effort to resolve.

Of course my “job”, as someone who blogs explicitly about race as I do, is to do such unpacking so that anyone can walk their way through the argument. Most of the time I am game for this, particularly if I can refer the person back to some article or another that I’ve written in the past. I recognize that the conversation doesn’t get completely explored in the span of a single blog post, and I get e-mails from people telling me that my work here has helped them change their minds about some race issue or other (those are really appreciated, by the way).

But there are periodically points in this conversation where I just want to cop out and say “because I’m black and I’m right, dammit!” One of those times has just reared its nuanced and complex head:

The Toronto District School Board approved the concept of an Africentric high school at a heated board meeting late Wednesday. The next hurdle, one that proved nearly fatal to the idea last spring, is for the board to identify a site for the school. Education director Chris Spence said he is hopeful the school will open in the fall of 2012 or 2013.

So there was a lot of buzz a few years back when some educators and parents wanted to open a school for black students. Faced with high dropout rates and low achievement, the idea was to have a school that explicitly catered to black students, and taught based on a curriculum designed from an Africentric point of view. The thinking was that by doing so, they could cut through some of the subtle racism present in the education system and give black students the encouragement they needed to succeed.

Liberal-minded folks across the province were left scratching their heads, caught between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, helping black students get a quality education is good. On the other hand, segregation is bad, and if we put all the black kids in one school, how will they learn to hold hands under a rainbow with the white kids? To be less snarky about it, isn’t segregation bad because it isolates students? Didn’t we fight against segregation of black students just a few decades ago?

As much as I want to just declare Africentric schools “okay” by black man’s fiat, I will attempt to break down the reasons why I support this initiative.

1. The Empirical Argument

This one, technically, should be enough. Among a population that has typically low levels of achievement, the Africentric elementary school has produced above average outcomes. Whether or not you trust the tests as a reliable measure of future success, they’re what the board uses. The fact is, the approach works in a high-risk population. Whatever it is about the Africentric approach that gets these achievements, it is sorely needed.

2. The Segregation Argument

The problems with segregation of students wasn’t simply that students didn’t have a chance to mix, it’s that the schools reinforced an underlying power divide between white students on the upper hand, and black students below them. Funding for these schools mirrored the power divide as well, such that black students didn’t get a fair shot at success, for no reason other than their skin colour. Africentric schools do not reinforce any such power divide; to the contrary, it seems that the standard schools, while technically integrated, put black students at a disadvantage.

3. The multicultural argument

This one is probably the most difficult to parse. There is a belief, among some parents, that a school for black students robs those students of the opportunity to be exposed to their non-black peers. Presumably, this means that black and white students benefit equally from being around each other. I can certainly speak to that, having attended an extremely multicultural high school. Mixing with students from a variety of backgrounds exposed me to many perspectives that I would not have had if I had attended, for example, an all-black school.

The problem with this argument is twofold. First, there are many students who, due to simple demographics, do not attend multicultural schools. I can hardly imagine that the Medicine Hat school board is going to begin bussing in children of Pakistani immigrants from two provinces away simply to ensure that every child has a brown friend. Multiculturalism is good for schools, but it is not a good in and of itself – not, at least, to the point where having a monocultural school is evil by definition.

The second problem is that this objection fails to grasp the difference in status and demographics when it comes to white vis a vis black students, versus black vis a vis white students. What I mean by this is that while there is a good chance that a white child may not interact with black people outside of school, there is a far smaller chance that a black child will not encounter white people. Despite our progress toward equality, we still live in a white-dominated country. Black kids will have multiple interactions with their white peers, even if they do not attend classes with them. This is one of the frustrating realities of race dynamics: the arguments don’t work equally both ways.

I’m not insensitive to the optics of this story: black kids getting special schools while white kids are stuck without a “Eurocentric” option. I can understand how it seems unfair under casual scrutiny. It requires a fairly high level of parsing of privilege to understand the multilayered nuances of the issue, and not everyone is there yet. Let me, in closing, offer an analogy that might help it make sense. Think of the Africentric schools as triage in an emergency room – yes, there are people who have been waiting longer, but there are others whose needs are more acute.

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25 comments

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  1. 1
    michaelnicholson

    I think I might be one of those head-scratching liberals right now … but I will go away and think about this.

    Let me present a possible future scenario though, as I would like to see how it should be handled:

    The new school does really well. All students get high grades, and start to get into high-profile instututions for further education. So far so good – that was the purpose, right?

    Now comes the problem. The school is seen as so good that _all_ parents now want their kids to go there. Unsegregated local schools do not get the same results, and it is obvious that this is the best school in the area.

    Do you then continue to deny access? If so, how would you justify denying other local children the best education available to them?

    There are other questions: would you employ non-black teachers? How would the curriculum be tailored to the students? But I think these are more minor issues.

  2. 2
    Riptide

    The only real objection I have to Africentric schools is that, as far as I can tell, “white” students *can’t* attend them. I wonder if exceptions are made for Caucasian children adopted by Afro-Canadian parents (which theoretically should happen unless there is a strong systemic or cultural bias against it), but ideally I’d think it could be good to have at least a few Caucasian and Native kids go to these schools, especially if they fit the demographic of “urban youth” in every way but their skin colour.

    This isn’t some arch-liberal “Let’s all be fair” bullshit; after all, if the Africentric schools are teaching the same basic facts as “normal” schools, kids of other cultural backgrounds wouldn’t be disadvantaged by the education–on the contrary, they could be enriched by the idea of cultural exchange as children, as I was in Kindergarten when we read stories like “Why do mosquitos buzz in people’s ears?” that clued me in to a whole wide world of people who didn’t look like me or anyone I knew at the time. I credit those kinds of experiences in public school as the primary reason I didn’t wind up as a stereotypical “Old South” racist who used “the N word” virtually every day, like the vast majority of my immediate family.

    That probably sounds too incoherent. I blame the tonsillitis.

  3. 3
    chrisj

    My (white, British) gut response is that this looks like a good thing(tm), but the District School Board need to be watched carefully in the medium term to make sure that it doesn’t turn into “separate but equal”. But I’d guess you’re well ahead of me there.

    (I’m not sure how Canadian School Boards work, but when I was at school in the UK, the Local Education Authorities were allowed to fund one school more than another on a “temporary” basis. The idea was that this allowed things like construction of new buildings with the minimum of complication. The actual effect was that one particular school in the town I grew up in reliably got shortchanged every year as a large chunk of its budget redirected to the others.)

  4. 4
    Crys

    I’m not 100% sold on this, but I guess it’s because, as a European, I don’t know enough about the school system in North America. Please educate me more on the subject.

    If a school is in a predominantly black district, doesn’t it become an “Afrocentric” one by default? Wouldn’t it be simpler, less controversial to make sure that those schools have better funding and that they are catering to their students needs, as opposed to creating an entirely new school that puts so much emphasis on race, thereby (in my opinion at least) stressing that kids are different because of their races? Is it therefore necessary to exclude kids of other races from attending such a school even though they live in a predominantly black neighborhood?

    I suppose basically I’m saying take the good things about such a school and direct them to the schools that exist already, making them better. Is that stupid?

    Also I was wondering how much what you see in movies is true, insofar as (typically in the US) you have public schools in some areas which are totally shit and other areas where they’re great, but they’re all public. In my country all public schools suck, and the main difference between schools will come from how corrupt the administrators are and how engaged the students are (thereby not inclined to occupy and wreck the place) but at face value they all get the same funding from the government. Why is it (or is it true that) some schools in N.America get/have more money than others? How is that justified, and doesn’t that just fuel the rich-get-richer-poor-get-poorer problem?

  5. 5
    jamessweet

    Yep, count me another white head-scratching liberal :) but I have softened on this sort of thing over the years and all I can say at this point is that, despite the points you make in this post, it still just doesn’t quite “sit right” with me. I don’t think it’s some disaster in the making, it’s probably not even counter-productive to race relations (at least not significantly so) and is possibly even a net good. It still doesn’t feel quite right.

    The only concrete point I want to make is that the empirical argument is not in and of itself good enough, or else we could use that argument to support religious schools. The problems with the empirical argument are a) an improved outcome is not justified at all costs, and b) the exact causes of the apparent improved outcomes are difficult to tease out (e.g. it could be mere selection bias, in that the type of students and their families who seek out Afrocentric schools tend to be better students than those who don’t).

    The empirical argument is a good one, but it’s not sufficient in itself. Your other two arguments do a lot to address concerns for why it would be a bad thing, but aren’t strong points for why it’s a good thing.

    So what I’m left with is that it looks like this probably is beneficial academically, and socially/culturally it is probably fairly close to harmless… so I can’t really say I oppose it per se — but I’m definitely “scratching my head” as you say :)

    On a side note:

    I get e-mails from people telling me that my work here has helped them change their minds about some race issue or other

    Your comments on my blog helped me finally make peace with the phrase “person of color”, and I really appreciate that. Thanks!

  6. 6
    Stephanie Zvan

    James, we don’t really have any good evidence for religious schools. We have evidence for well-run private schools, but there’s no information that suggests that just adding religious instruction to the schools we have now would do anything but clutter up the day.

    The situation is different for those who are pulled out of situations in which they are the majority and all the instruction treats them and their heritage as other. If you’d like more of a hint at why the empirical argument is what it is here, try this post: http://www.theatlantic.com/personal/archive/2011/11/it-was-never-that-bad/248826/

  7. 7
    Flimsyman

    Hm, I got nothin’; your arguments work. Particularly the empirical argument, as you say.

    Which would have been my first objection; way, way too easy for subsequent governmental bodies, especially at the local level. The empirical argument addresses that, and it’s not like predominantly black schools don’t ever suffer hacked funding as it is.

    Really, the only trepidation I would have is that I think that white students who have less contact (or no contact) with minority students could grow up more racist than they would if they were exposed to other cultures (which might cause some harm to those minority students in the long run). Though the school’s direct benefits to minority students could easily be more than enough to offset that. I’m the first to point out that this white American obviously knows next to nothing about this situation compared to you.

  8. 8
    Crommunist

    Don’t get it twisted – my upbringing was probably closer to yours than it was to the kids at these schools. I spent my childhood in a mostly-white mountain town in British Columbia, where the population of an Africentric school would have been maybe 5 kids.

    As I point out in the post, there’s lots of precedent for white students not going to school with many (or any) visible minorities. While it might result in them having less sensitivity to racial/cultural issues, that’s not really a sufficient argument to say that other students shouldn’t be allowed the chance to succeed in a special program.

  9. 9
    Michael Swanson

    Why is it (or is it true that) some schools in N.America get/have more money than others?

    Schools in the US are funded in parts by the federal, state and local municipal governments and are then even further divided into school districts. So schools just a couple of miles apart can wildly different funding sources.

    A school near where I grew up (in the 80s) had a state of the art theater, a burgeoning music and arts program, a ton of foreign language and exchange programs, several trades programs, and a well-funded athletics department. My school didn’t even have a cafeteria — we ate in the hallways.

  10. 10
    jamessweet

    I was thinking more the religious schools in the UK, where they do consistently do better than the regular schools. I don’t believe for a minute the reason is because they are religious, but there you have it.

  11. 11
    Alyssum

    I started looking at the Toronto School Board website and this program looks like it will be just one alternative program among others. It also looks like there is already a strong elementary to junior high stream. The School Board just needs to put the High School part of the program in place.

    Maybe it is because I am from Edmonton, (open boundaries, lots and lots of alternative programs) but this program seems perfectly reasonable to me.

  12. 12
    aspidoscelis

    Regarding the empirical argument–my knowledge about the situation (which is, of course, minimal) suggests that there are a few holes here. All else equal, yes, if a given approach to education gives better outcomes, it’s a good thing & should be pursued. However, I wonder if all else is equal. In explaining higher performance at Africentric schools, it seems there are four obvious possibilities:

    1) Africentric education works;
    2) schools with better students do better (this is mentioned also by jamessweet above);
    3) schools with better teachers do better;
    4) schools with better funding do better.

    Maybe the information is already out there to reject the last three possibilities, I don’t know. It seems that the easiest empirical ways to address these would be to assess, first, whether increased student performance at Africentric schools is balanced by decreased performance at non-Africentric schools. This is what we would expect in the case of “2″ or “3″, assuming that both students and teachers are drawn from the existing pools that otherwise would have been at non-Africentric schools. Second, how much additional money is being directed toward the Africentric schools. If there is no additional money, then 4 can be discarded; for other values, perhaps there is at least a rule of thumb estimate of how much increased funding increases student success out there, and we could ask whether the increased performance at Africentric schools does or does not fall within the expected range due to increased funding alone.

    Personally, I’m not that comfortable with the premiss that the appropriate means of educating a student can be determined by skin color, so I’m a bit skeptical of the concept of Africentric education. Further, if this premiss can be justified, it seems to put lots of arguments against racism on thin ice.

  13. 13
    mlh

    This seems to be an interesting idea. I would be extremely interested in seeing an outline for their curriculum. I would also like to know how students are chosen to attend these schools. It should be open to all that are interested in attending the school.

    In my neighboorhood lies the Khalil Gibran International Academy, the first Arabic immersion school in the country. Many had their eyebrows raised that this would be a ‘madrasa’ run with tax dollars. The then principal got into a media frenzy which caused the Board of Ed to fire her unjustly 4 years later, the school has made plans to move from the predominately Black area it is in now to an area with a large Arab population and hopefully more interest.

    From this example, I think it is important to be very clear to parents of prospective children and media (given most of the comments of the article you provided) the goals for such an education, and that anyone can benefit from such instruction. I had the privilege of being taught Black history (beyond Rosa, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King) in elementary school. Needless to say, it totally transformed how I have viewed American history and the inaccuracies in the general perspective of how it is portrayed (I’m watching you Michelle Bachmann).

  14. 14
    Michael Swanson

    aspidoscelis says:
    Personally, I’m not that comfortable with the premise that the appropriate means of educating a student can be determined by skin color…

    It’s not the skin color that ultimately makes the person, it’s the culture. Members of a culture will identify with their shared heritage and appearance, members outside of that group often just use appearance as the criteria (as any post 9/11 American Sikh can tell you). I think of it in a historical reference: a North American black woman in 1860 is treated poorly (understatement) by whites, and shares a common culture with other blacks. Her daughter has more legal rights, but is treated similarly and, again, has a shared heritage and culture with other blacks…and on down through the decades until you get to a 15-year-old student today. Her family has a history that is distinctly different than whites, Asians, Hispanics, etc., giving her, to a greater or lesser degree, a distinctly different world view than you or me.

    There are distinct black Canadian and American cultures and subcultures, further differentiated by geography and socioeconomic status, that are based on various levels of shared history, tradition, religion, food, clothing, music and – yep – racism. You grow up in a black family, you’re going to (likely) have black friends, and whites and everyone else will (likely) have certain expectations of and preconceived notions about you. Your black friends are likely to have their own notions on what you should be like, too.

    Different cultures view the world differently, of course, even if they’re next door neighbors, and if there is a way to effectively educate children by understanding and utilizing their world view, then it’s an avenue to be explored. Identifying candidates for an educational program solely by their skin color is flawed, but I think it’s a valid start.

    I live in Portland, Oregon, a city that touts itself as a bastion of liberalism. While this is mostly true, and Portland is very progressive in many ways, it’s also frighteningly segregated. Until the gentrification of Portland kicked into full swing in the last ten years, I was shocked, as a San Francisco Bay area transplant who went to a hugely multicultural school, by how distinctly segregated it was. I’d never been in a city that had a “black section,” — along with the warnings from white co-workers and acquaintances to avoid “that” part of town! (I lived and worked in Casa Verde Crips territory in San Jose in 1991-92; I laughed at the whites who were so afraid of black Portland, Oregon at the turn of the 21st century!) But I think of Portland’s black students then and now, and I can’t help but think, as Portland still likes to act like no blacks live here, that an Africentric educational program here would be nothing but a good thing.

    [waiting to get called on something stupid I said, since I'm a white guy who hardly knows any black people!]

  15. 15
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    No. Separate but equal does not work. It didn’t work in the past. It won’t work now. This is a Bad Idea.

    Besides, the schools aren’t at fault for the student’s failing — it’s the parents. We don’t need special schools for black kids. We need black parents to step up and start PARENTING.

  16. 16
    Crommunist

    When you understand the reasons why separate but equal didn’t work, you’ll see that this bears absolutely no resemblance to that policy whatsoever. And I’m not sure where you get the gall to tell black parents that they need to “start parenting”, but wherever it was, please go back there.

  17. 17
    Somerville

    Here’s the viewpoint of a white guy who grew up in a majority black place but at a time just as the local power structure was changing to shall we say a more democratic one from the earlier colonial structure.

    Our host mentions that the Africentric elementary schools have shown positive results for the kids. Good.

    But – if the kids are doing better than average thru Grade 7 or 8 by attending all black schools why should it be necessary to keep them in a cultural environment that in some ways separates them from the real world? Shouldn’t the students be ready to meet the society in which they will live as adults by the time they are 13 or 14?

    I also have questions about “Africentric”, my own life in the West Indies, America and Canada has shown me that there is not a single “Africa Ancestry” culture. Antiguan friends who had gained, somehow, American or Canadian passports, refused to send their children to school in Newport RI or Toronto – they didn’t care for the local blacks in those cities.

    Toronto has a large number of inhabitants with recent African ancestry but my personal experience has found the divisions between relatively recent immigrants from places like Somalia and those from Jamaica or those whose ancestors have lived in Canada for a hundred years or more are quite deep. So how can these diverse groups accept one definition of “Africentric”?

    I have a Jamaican daughter-in-law, her attitude toward Haitians is nearly as bad as that seen in old white folks toward young blacks. The reason I mention her is that her attitude makes me question the utility of an Africentric high school. If the students have lived in one type of environment up to high school, they will often hold prejudices against other groups, even when those ‘others’ share the same physical characteristics. Educating them from an early age, 4-5 or 6, in a group with people from several African-based cultures does provide an affirmation that they are all good, it gives the kids positive reinforcement but shouldn’t they be ready to mix with European and First Nations people by high school?

  18. 18
    Medivh

    The school is seen as so good that _all_ parents now want their kids to go there. Unsegregated local schools do not get the same results, and it is obvious that this is the best school in the area.

    Do you then continue to deny access? If so, how would you justify denying other local children the best education available to them?

    Yes, you continue to deny access. In as far as you need justification for segregated schools (I don’t see too much complaining about the existence of single-gendered schools, for instance), you justify this based on the fact that you’re helping a minority overcome bias. What might be an adequate compromise between the kids benefiting from the Africentric school and the euro-decended parents wanting the same benefit for their kids is that you allow the sylabus from this school to be taught at multicultural schools.

  19. 19
    Crys

    We have school districts too, but that does not influence the funding. Taxes are collected from the city and thus partitioned back out to the schools equally, not by district. There may be some differences between far ends of the country, but none as radical as you describe.

    Here’s a crazy thought, why not do exactly that, and give all the public schools (at least in the same city) equal amounts of money? I bet a whole lot more people would actually give a shit about the quality of education and cutting federal spending for it.

  20. 20
    astrosmash

    Oooh, link this to your series on system justification. that may be what some of the commentors here are missing.

  21. 21
    Dhorvath, OM

    Our dominant culture is inescapable, why would it be bad to have a school to focus on things that are brushed aside by the massive influence it has? It’s not always enough for those who fit the dominant cultural pattern to be exposed, we also need be sensitive of how dominant that culture is and the effect of silencing that has on those who don’t fit that pattern. A safe space where the dominant pressure is eased, (I doubt one could eliminate it) for young people to get their footing sounds intuitively very helpful.

    it seems that the standard schools, while technically integrated, put black students at a disadvantage.

    This is telling. Yes, we should seek to fix this problem with the existent schooling system. I would like to think that at some point in the future we will have this issue sorted out such that that systemic problem is gone, but right now it is not fair. If we have a tool that works to help erase that issue, whether it’s a bandage, a suture, or avoiding the damage in the first place, how can we not use it?

  22. 22
    Peter B

    I’m late in responding because I read FTB in big chunks every week or so. I am a 70yo white guy so take what I say with the appropriate grain or big chunk of salt as needed.

    My granddaughter attended our city’s highest performing elementary school for one year. There was a lottery for the one fifth grade opening that year.

    I commented to the principal that one of the reasons the school was high performing was that they had better students to begin with. She was in denial. “We take everyone who wins the [mostly kindergarten] lottery without regard to economic or racial status.”

    However she chose to ignore that her students parents . . .
    * had to care enough to enter the kindergarten lottery
    * had to provide transportation for their child
    * had to volunteer to work in the school

    Parents with economic hardships would be all but eliminated based on the last two points. Although some school district information was published in Spanish (the most common second language in our area) it’s easy to see how lack of information contributed to the mostly Anglo student population.

    Totally missing from the school my granddaughter attended for one year was the gang influence that impacted the elementary school in the most economically disadvantaged area of our city.

    Now to my point:

    >the Africentric elementary school has produced above average outcomes.

    What contributed to this success?

    Was this because the curriculum was taught in an Africentric environment? Was this because better teachers and administrators were involved? Was the cost per student comparable? How much of this above average outcome was because white students were not around to denigrate black students? How much of it was because of the student selection bias my granddaughter’s principal failed to admit?

    Even if the Africentric elementary school skimmed the best black students it provided those students a better chance to excel. Although I am far from having a vote in this matter, I hope the Toronto District School Board is able to go from approval in concept to implementation.

  23. 23
    Mark D.

    I’m surprised that nobody seems to have a problem with your “Empirical Argument”.

    Contrary to what you might think coming from someone who respects science, I do not think empiricism should be the number 1 reason for any humanities decision. Why? Because that means believing that “the ends justify the means”.

    On top of that:

    “Whether or not you trust the tests as a reliable measure of future success…”

    That’s not really a point that can be brushed aside like that. If you’re going to argue that Afro-centric schools work better, you need to have a reliable, objective measure of “what works”, whatever that “what” may be.

    That sort of thing is just a wee bit important, don’t you think?

  24. 24
    Crommunist

    The problem with the whole “ends justifies the means” argument is that sometimes the ends do justify the means. Cutting into someone’s flesh is bad, but sometimes the end of removing a cancerous tumour justifies the means of the surgery. The times when the ends cannot justify the means occur when there is a moral stricture against whatever means you’re talking about. Operating on someone against their will is wrong because it violates the principle of autonomy, not because surgery is bad.

    Besides, education policy is not entirely a humanities decision. The government has a duty to provide education, and it has a vested interest in seeing its efforts succeed.

    If you’re going to argue that Afro-centric schools work better, you need to have a reliable, objective measure of “what works”

    I am reflexively skeptical of standardized testing, especially when drawing comparisons along racial lines. There are several examples (IQ tests being among them) of these “objective” measures being run rife with subjectivity. According to the news item, students at the Afrocentric schools performed better on the tests. What that actually means in terms of long-term outcomes is very much an open question. My point was exactly yours – this is the only standard for comparison that we have, and it seems to favour the Afrocentric approach.

  25. 25
    Mark D.

    I do so love your words. Even a couple paragraphs can have enough to chew on for a while.

    Still, the problem with “The ends justify the means” is that it can lead to a redictio ad absurum via slippery slope:

    Is it justifiable to kill 100 people to save 1,000?

    This is not just an abstract hypothetical. There is a very real situation that can correspond to this: organ donation.

    People die because of huge waiting lists for organs. Many of them could be saved with a policy of choosing healthy adults, slaughtering them, and harvesting their organs. A single person has two lungs, two kidneys, a liver (which, I believe, can be divided), a heart, bladder, prostate, and various other extremities that I don’t know enough about medicine to list.

    If we estimate that a person has enough organs to save 10 people, we have come back to the original question: Is it justifiable to kill 100 to save 1,000?

    There is a significant difference between your surgery example and mine: With surgery, the person who receives the benefit (being fixed up) is the same as the one who paid the cost (pain, risk of death, and torn flesh. With my organ example, the person who benefits did not pay the cost.

    This is way off course from the original post though, and doesn’t really apply to this situation. I only bring up this example to show why I don’t think “The ends justify the means” should ever be the sole, or even primary justification for something.

    My skeptical mind also takes issue with the fact that it was not mentioned what this school did that made it Africentric. Is it just a school exclusively for black people, or is something else done with the curriculum? Is this really an “Africentric” method, or is it something that could be generalized to all schools?

    Most importantly, if integrated schools are a problem that can be solved by Africentric schools, what happens when reintegration happens in college or the job market? Has any difference been made then? Or did the segregation just postpone the pain of reintegration.

    I don’t give a damn about whether this school helps some kids score better on worthless tests. I care about whether it helps them have a better life.

    NOTE: As you said, it seems a deep understanding of privilege is necessary to fully understand this stuff. I’m still trying to learn how my privileges (white, male, cis, and hetero, only thing I’m missing is Christian) affect my life. I say things as I understand them, even if I think they are wrong, because I like being corrected as directly as possible.

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