Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Race Race

My son came home from school the other day and said his freshman geography teacher had some advice for filling out college applications. She said those who were white males stood a better chance at getting into a college and obtaining some form of financial aid or scholarship if they checked OTHER under the heading of RACE. Technically, she said, this is not a lie. Not many white people are really white. We are German, Polish, French…Other. My son has a friend whose mother is black and his father is Asian. Blasian is the term he uses at times. And for fun he says he is “Blackie Chan.” Would he check whichever race box that seemed more advantageous?

My son’s teacher had a point but I think trying to dupe the system would fail. I’d like to see the RACE heading completely eliminated. If we truly believe we are all equal and that employers and colleges and friends see not our skin color, then why still insist we pick one? I know it’s the law and history established the precedence. Equal opportunity. Affirmative Action. Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. But since public schools no longer restrict access based on race, shouldn’t all children seeking college admission be judged equally?

I know my neighborhood school has more resources than schools in poorer neighborhoods. But the issue of race isn’t the determining factor. Children of all races are educated alongside my white children. Perhaps instead of a place for race on the application, why not indicate the ZIP code of your high school? Colleges could then factor in the quality of your education based on resources made available to you.

The issue of race came into play during our recent election, and it bothers me to hear our president-elect referred to as our first black president. His father is black but his mother is white. Doesn’t that make him white, too? Or biracial? If my children’s father were black, I would want them to think that my heritage was as much a part of their makeup as their father’s.

For Obama’s sake, I hope he is remembered as a great president who achieved success that had nothing to do with his race. It’s like an asterisk forever beside his name. Wouldn’t he prefer that no concession be given to him based on his heritage? Conversely, will people shrug off his missteps, nodding to the fact that, Well, he is a black president. Therefore our expectations are lower? I certainly hope not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A terrific article........maybe your best yet! Our pledge even states that we are "one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice to all"
Amen, Sista...............