My friend Elita, of the incredible breastfeeding blog Blacktating, is a passionate sistah who has a voice and isn’t afraid to use it. She’s also particularly skilled at finding internet ignorance she knows will get me worked up. All she has to do is drop a link in my Twitter feed or on my FaceBook page with a, “this is unbelievable” or “this makes my head hurt” comment and, dangit, Bobby, I’m whipping up posts to counter the ignorance.
Such was the case this week when Elita hipped me to this Babble.com blog, Public Schools in Gentrifying Hoods: Who Wants to Go First? In it, a white mother wrangles over whether to let her youngest child go to the neighborhood school near the “urban” home she “adopted” five years ago, or whether she should send her kid to private school or get permission to transfer her into a richer public school with higher test scores.
To be fair, the writer does say she feels awful about embracing city life and moving into the funky houses and talking the talk about “diversity,” but, in the same breath, suggesting her kid is too good to sit next to the children of the people who’ve long lived there. The irony and elitist thought process apparently isn’t lost on her. But then she goes on and on about how ALL of her friends are fellow transplants to the neighborhood and NOT ONE sends their kid to the neighborhood public school, with their not-so-great test scores and not-great facilities.
As earnest as the writer is, as desperate she is to sound like the good guy who just wants the best for her child, I can’t help but feel a little dirty after reading her piece. Like she’s suggesting that the natives in her “urban” neighborhood are boogymen she’s either too scared or too good to talk to to ask what they think about the schools their children attend and the teachers who teach them and the parents who run the PTAs and genuinely want the best for their children and are trying hard to get a good education for their kids from the very schools the transplants turn up their noses at.
Ironically, I get this mother. Because I thought the same thing when I moved into a predominately white, conservative neighborhood in the South, where trailer parks are a mere two miles from my new home. The difference, though, is that Nick and I stopped going by what the transplants had to say and actually investigated our neighborhood, Title 1, not-so-great test scores school for ourselves. And I wrote a post about what we found over on The Parenting Post, called “In Defense of Poor Public Schools.”
Check it out if you’re so inclined.
And have a fantastic weekend!
Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.