This reading/listening is hard for me to reflect on. On the one hand, I like the way text readings are broken up my title and sub titles, etc. But on the other hand, hearing the people's voice in the interview gives it one more level of "realness."
Part I of the video sounds SO harsh to me. The things that these grown up says about children had me simply overwhelmed. The Francis Howell parents talk about the arrival of the Normandy students like they are wild animals - as do the school officials. At one point the administrator of the school speaks to the parents and instead of calming them down she seems to incite them even more. She says, "those students' scores will become our scores." (24:54) And following this, the crowd gets all hyped up! One parent stands ups and asks where metal detectors and drug sniffing dogs are going to be and closes her argument with, "Because I shopped for a school district. I deserve to not have to worry about my children getting stabbed or taking a drug or getting robbed. Because that's the issue." (26:27) If this statement does not define white privilege (and ignorance) I'm not sure what does. This woman truly believes that because she had the LUXURY (b/c that's what it is!) of "shopping around" for a school district that she liked/approved of that the Normandy students should not be allowed in the school. I'm sure if the Normandy families had the luxury of choosing their school district, they may not have chosen the district they were in. This again speaks to our discussion of achievement gap vs opportunity gap.
It would be interesting to see how things would have worked out with the integration had the Francis Howell parents/administrators handled the integration differently; in a more welcoming manner. I've mentioned it in class and I will mention it again as I am a big believer in the self fulfilling prophecy. I just imagine all these Normandy students and parents sitting at home listening in on the meeting that was aired on the radio and them feeling so unwanted and belittled. As a teenager if I were hearing an adult say the things about needing metal detectors and drug sniffing dogs its, it would only make me want to do those things to "prove her right." I would have the mind set of living "down" to their expectations. Potentially, if they were welcomed into the school, and felt supported, they would enter with a happy/positive attitude and the opportunity gap could be lessened for at least one small area.
The second part of the audio was a little more relatable for me as a parent. I have been blessed that my parents have done a lot of the child care for my kids but we did send my daughter to pre-school part time, just to get her used to the socialization and structure of it. When we sent out birthday party invitations for her she asked me if we invited the one little boy in her class, when I told her we did not (he was new and the only boy), she asked why and I explained that she had been with the other kids for 2 years and he had just come to school like 2 weeks earlier. Her immediate response was something like, " oh. I thought it was cuz he's bad." I asked why/how he is bad? Does he have to go in time our a lot? does he not share? I listed a bunch of different logical reasons, she may have though this little boy was "bad." Lo and behold, she finally came out with it. "he is bad b/c he's black." My jaw dropped! I could not believe she had said this! We had a long discussion about it and sure enough a friend at school told my daughter that. That was in June and I still talk to her about this almost every day.
As an aside...not related to the text - but very related to class...
On Saturday morning I was at my daughter's dance class and my mom was there with me. We were discussing something we had seen on Facebook posted by an old teammate of mine and my mom whispers quietly to me, "I think she is married to or dates her roommate." Now the statement itself didn't really bother me as it was just a fact. What bothered me was how she said it. My mother is by no means a quiet person, but she lowered her voice super quiet when making her statement, and when I asked why she did that she replied with "I don't know....you never know who is listening!?" I again challenged her....so what if they are listening, you are not saying anything wrong, you are simply stating what you think to be true. But the fact of the matter is, our society is one where being gay is not the norm and therefore it may not be accepted in place and people feel nervous talking about it -- but we must talk about it! We must get the "elephant" out of the room and actively talk about the things that make us most uncomfortable!