Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
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Sun, May 16 2004

Economic Segregation Is Still Segregation

There was an interesting article in the SF Chronicle today on school segregation. I can see the "cookie cutter" building syndrome in most areas of California, and the large, gated communities one sees spring up are, in some ways, just more of the same cookie cutter mentality, in spite of the homes having more variety to their curb appeal, with more expensive building materials, in some cases.

What concerns me is the way society tends to use children to perpetuate a dysfunctional view of life. As a child, I attended a Roman Catholic parochial elementary school, and we were once taken on a lovely field trip to tour the state Capitol building in Jefferson City, Missouri. When we we got there we were given little yellow pin-on buttons (I still have mine) that said "Buses or Bust", and were introduced as visitors in the representative chambers. Someone announced that we were some of the very children who would benefit from the public school buses being allowed to give us rides to our parochial school. Even as a seventh-grader, I realized that we were being used. We were little lobbiests that day, and we hadn't even given our permission to be thought of that way. Our community's busing issues were not racial, or even economic, but were religious and political in nature. I suspect a lot of the same type of thing still goes on when children's issues are dragged out and placed at the forefront of today's campaigns by adults.

Kids learn best and do their best when we adults don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk. As long as we work and live in segregated ways, we teach children that this is the preferred way to live. Will the next generation be the one to be smarter and braver than ours (and those before ours), and to choose the best of all ethnic and cultural blends to learn together? I have to keep hoping so!

posted at: 16:55 | category: /Politics | link to this entry

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