On January 11, 2016, blogger Jeff Linn wrote in his piece, The race factor in the challenge of socioeconomic integration,
“Students from Brighton, Penfield, Webster and any number of suburban communities are raised with the expectation from parents and teachers that they will attend college. And those schools and families do everything in their power to provide these students with the connections, schooling and experiences for this inevitability.
Contrast this with the expectations of poor African-American students from Rochester, among the poorest cities in America. These students have no social capital, few connections with someone who has attended college and parents who are struggling to make ends meet. These parents cannot provide their kids with the experiences that prepare them for college level work and their teachers, many of whom work tirelessly to serve them, often don’t have ownership in the neighborhoods where they live.”
Without realizing it, Mr. Linn has fallen prey to the racist notion that the expectations of the parents of “poor African-American” students are any different than those of parents in suburban communities.
Like most others, Mr. Linn is confusing money with educational and personal success. His belief, along with others, is that without money, children have little to expect from their parents, teachers, education, and society.
It is racist to assume that because “poor African-American” children have no financial capital they have no social capital. And, while it is true that parents who are struggling to make ends meet have few funds to afford memberships to museums and art galleries, public education certainly has the funds to provide these experiences in their stead.
Unfortunately Mr. Linn, like too many others, believes that “socioeconomic integration” is a goal we should strive for instead of human integration.
Too many believe that our children’s worth can be measured in dollars which makes no sense.
Every child, in the world, is born gifted and talented, regardless of their parents economic condition.
When we acknowledge the gifts and talents of all of our children our expectations for them will be to achieve love and respect.
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