Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ignoring a problem won't make it go away - Take 2

Yesterday, after reading My Sister's Farmhouse's new post on how Christian Private schools are just a euphmism for White Flight, I got all hot under the collar and posted about how Pioneer Woman's plans for teaching diversity to her chidlren were just wrong. They were wrongity wrong. Oh, and also? THEY WERE WRONG!!!!!

The comments at MSF devolved, oh, how they devolved. And some real racists came out. Of course, most people today don't look at them as racists, after all, where were their burning crosses? For example, just because they referred to non-Whites as people who have a new baby's daddy every month, that's not RACIST . . . they're just talking about their experience. Right? Anyway, reading those comments made my head explode so I had to stop.

Today I deleted my blog because it was just a rant and what good was it doing? Going back to MSF to check on the new comments ('glutton' might be my middle name) I see someone's link to their own reaction to Pioneer Woman's diversity blog, back when it was originally posted. And what she had to say, and what her commenters had to say, was everything I wanted to say yesterday, but couldn't, because my fingers wouldn't type properly (due to the rage).

So, here. Read what Megan and her friends have to say. It's what I wish I'd said.


Anonymous said...

Hi - I wish I had never visited that discussion, though the site is most intriguing. I keep wondering why we're (me included) all so mad at each other. I see diversity as interesting, but similarities as what ultimately unite us, as Christians, and otherwise (isn't it funny that so many of the worlds religions are so similar, but we go about the business of technicalities?) and Americans, a vast pool to be sure. Much to learn from and much to honor. One of the main reasons we opted to homeschool was opportunity for diverse experience...sitting in public school with 95% of the people being pretty much just like us didn't sound like learning, more like jail. Follow the tape line to the library....arghh!!!

I think I see worshipping at the Altar of Diversity being as big an issue as ignoring differences. When I step back and look, everyone ultimately has a god. It's funny how the intolerance flares when everyone is just trying to figure out how to best manage one of the best, most complicated, trying, corrupt, potentially transcendent human experiences - recognizing true equality of value.

To my mind that's just Satan tinkering...not to be simplistic, but he sure loves an embattled legislature, especially among women it seems.

As I see it, the PW is a kind thoughtful woman, with kids who appear to be kind and thoughtful. For them, color is not as central an issue as is love, and she's right. It's how her immediate community hangs together. And other women with perhaps different exposure to circumstance immerse their families in other cultures, experiences, happenings. Where color does matter, not for any nefarious reason, but for reasons of potential mutual understanding. Both positions are valid and necessary. Everyone approaches life differently, yes?

Sweetpea, pick your head up off the desk...you're one of the good guys. Remember the words of a much wiser woman than me...we do the best that we can.

Ashley said...

Hmm. I think it’s admirable to focus on love instead of color. She has the luxury of doing that. And I guess I don’t advocate that anyone *focus* on color especially not over love. But a practical step in loving people is truly knowing them, and it’s hard to know people when you’re never around them. So this is, for me, where I see the danger in being so separate from others who aren’t like you, whether it be race, religion, whatever. It’s hard to really know a person, their experience, their culture – if they only exist to you on TV or in books. What if they only exist to you in little dolls and the primary educators in your life have chosen not to talk about them?

The less exposure you have to a culture, you’re more likely to be misinformed about that culture – you won’t have the “real deal” to compare your information to. That’s certainly not unique to the U.S., that’s just human nature. When we separate we begin to forget about the humanity of the people who are separate from us. It’s how all the mass-killings in our world’s history have happened – separation, dehumanization and then extermination.

I definitely don’t want to worship at the altar of diversity. I do think knowing people who are different from you will enrich you, but I also see it as a way of serving others. Specifically dealing with race here, Whites are in control in the U.S., both in numbers and in power/wealth. We’re in control institutionally. And the fact is that it’s not puppies and unicorns for everyone else. I feel that because there are still massive inequalities and injustices because of race which is tied to class which is tied to earning potential/education/housing/etc . . . we who are in power have a duty to do what we can to serve those who are negatively affected by the very system that privileges us. So for me, a focus on diversity, or learning about people from different backgrounds isn’t just to be PC or whatever – it enriches US, yes, but if we never get to know the people who are different from us, the ones who suffer in our system, we will never know their stories, we will never work to turn things around for THEM.

I guess I should say that I don’t want people to focus on diversity because it’s important to know how different we all are. No – it’s important to get to know PEOPLE and the likely outcome is that we will learn how alike we are in certain respects (which helps us love them), but also how unequal our resources, access to resources and opportunities are – and because we now love them, we can’t sit quietly while they’re harmed.

So, taking PW’s example – if she gave her kids some dolls to play with, never really talked to them about people from other backgrounds and they don’t have much exposure where they live – where are they going to get the seeds of love for people not like them when they grow up and go out into the world? They can learn along the way, sure, many of us have to, but how many people might they hurt in the meantime? And how much harder will it be for them to learn as an adult?

Ashley said...

I just think that we who are in power take advantage of our luxury of not knowing others. We don’t *have* to, not to advance in our country. Minorities don’t have that luxury, they have to learn about us and how to navigate our world. So when I see a woman who has a huge following and more importantly, a huge influence on other women – most of whom are raising our future generations, it’s really disheartening to see that she doesn’t think it’s worthwhile to teach her kids these things. Not teaching these things doesn’t just leave a hole in that child’s education – it usually manifests into hurting someone else.

Here’s a good blog that gives an example of children of color interacting with White kids whose parents likely have not said much about race at home.


By the way, over in my (locked) journal where I write with friends, I'm developing a series of posts about the importance of talking to your kids about race . . . the importance of being a model for your kids regarding race and practical steps and resources you can use to educate yourself and your kids. Once I get these fleshed out I'll put them here and I'd love your feedback.

I really feel your point on homeschooling partly due to these issues. My kids have an extremely racially diverse school but we do a lot of stuff after school to give them a broader education and experience than what they get at school. I'm not just referring to race, I mean history, geography, science, culture, etc. All that stuff.

Anonymous said...

May I just say in reply that there are at least 5 points you've made I might take exception with, but would just rather not, at the moment. I would love to read anything you write, and am honored that you've even asked. Can't wait.

Ashley said...

I understand!

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