It was with considerable interest that I read the editorial on “Diversity and The American Idea...” If anything, the editorial suggests a full support of white supremacy as a legitimate concept, which—let us face it—is a foundation principle of America, whereby any and all concessions for people of color and women (through a complex mesh of subsequent amendments, bills and acts of legislation) are already seen as excessive.
As an educator of color, I found the writer’s ‘bridge too far’ concept fascinating and representative of eugenicist’s logic: where the plethora of educators of color in circulation are either mythical creatures, or our accomplishments, abilities, and credentials as educators are invalid and/or inflated.
This is far from the first time that I’ve heard any of this from the mouth (or pen/computer) of what appears to be an otherwise intelligent and rational human being.
The point of view expressed is far from original. It is similar to the point of view held in the early 1900s, when my grandfather was sent from Mashpee to New Bedford to attend high school as native and Black children from Mashpee were not permitted to attend the high schools in Falmouth or Barnstable.
It was the same point of view that my grandparents had to fight when my father came of age, and the practice was to place students of color in the vocational/technical schools as opposed to the academic high schools, like Lawrence or Barnstable, as the notion of “colored” students attending college was apparently “a bridge too far...” in those days, as well.
Through hardcore lobbying by his parents, my father went to Lawrence, ended up as a part of the championship football team (largely composed of several Mashpee guys) and went to (and graduated from) Virginia State University on a scholarship.
Fast forward to four years ago as well-intentioned educators told me that my (then-8th grade) son was “likely” not college material, to the present, where he just completed his first year in the dual enrollment program, thus also completing a significant portion of his freshman year of college as an honor student.
In all three cases, the opportunities were the result of the parents pushing past the types of gatekeepers that the writer apparently supports.
These scrawlings are a clear indication of how little concepts of race and race relations have changed and that white supremacy is a normal place from which to process things in print.
It is also a clear indication that as parents of color, we need to start looking realistically at our public schools, school committees, and recognize that from conception, Falmouth’s public school system was not designed to provide our children with an education that will serve them, but one that will make them serviceable. We as parents need to augment the social and academic experiences of our children until such a time that inequity in the school systems are honestly addressed and corrected.
I would like to thank the author for his frankness in providing the readership of this paper with a significant glimpse into the kind of thinking that has plagued these lands since 1620. The fact that it appeared as an editorial makes it clear that his point of view is a reflection of a more pervasive mentality that will prevent any true social progress for nonwhite “citizens.”
Morgan James Peters