Monday, July 02, 2007

Institutionalized racism can be very subtle.

I received a map of the rezoned high schools in my area which showed the old zone and the new zone for each high school AND a breakdown of race in each school. It looked like this: (numbers fictitious)

W: 54%
B: 41 %
H: 5%

W=White, B=Black, H=Hispanic. Why the racial breakdown was necessary, I don't know, but is not, in itself, racist - it's just information (though poor information; how are students of mixed heritage represented? Is the son of a white mom and black dad white or black? I'm thinking he would be considered black, but why? Because any other color is considered a dilution of white? Maybe it is racist - especially since Adam and Eve were most likely black.)

It's the ORDER that's racist. The mapmaker could say it's in order of majority to minority, except that Edgewater High School has a majority of black students, then white, and finally Hispanic. Was the order changed? No. The mapmaker could say that would be confusing; you don't change the order for a single listing.

No, you use a different classification for your order. Alphabetical, not majority, which would make it consistent for each list.

B: 41%
H: 3%
W: 54%

One has to wonder why the list was there to begin with. Does knowing the racial mix serve a purpose? Too many of one "kind" and you'll yank your kid from that school?