Saturday, August 28, 2010

Middle School Racism

Nettleton Middle School reversed its course and has eliminated its policy allotting student offices in accordance to one's race. Superintendent Russell Taylor said the policy, which allotted the student presidency and treasury to a white student and the vice presidency and reporter to an African American, was designed to ensure minority representation.

I doubt it. For starters, the school administration did not consider the aspirations and representational needs of any Asian American, Native American, or Pacific Islander. Students from these groups were not allocated any of the twelve seats, forcing them to compete with each other and any white or black seeking a seat not specifically allocated to people of their race.

But even if the administration's motives were purer than I suspect the administration would still have to explain why it awarded the more prestigious positions with more responsibility to its white students. White students represent the entire student body at important school functions (as president) while black student could only do so as a stand-in (as vice president). White students could handle money (as treasurer) while a black student could relay what happened at such meetings (as a reporter). This only reinforced the lingering feelings of prejudice some within the rural south still harbor towards racial minorities and confirmed, in the eyes of many blacks that there still remains a glass ceiling that deprives them of "being all they can be."

This school district's policy was repealed after public exposure. One has to wonder, however, if Nettleton is/was the only school district with a policy like this and if the prejudice that leads to school districts to enact such drastically flawed remedies (or avoid the prejudice) are still out there.

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