Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Segregation and Space

From the Wall Street Journal :
A public-school principal in Ann Arbor, Mich., organized a segregated field trip. No, this isn't breaking news from 1953; it happened just last week. The twist is that only black pupils were invited on the trip
Except there's rather more to it than that. Let's hear both sides of the story.

From AnnArbor.com
“In hindsight, this field trip could have been approached and arranged in a better way," Madison wrote. "But as I reflect upon the look of excitement, enthusiasm and energy that I saw in these children’s eyes as they stood in the presence of a renowned African American rocket scientist in a very successful position, it gave the kids an opportunity to see this type of achievement is possible for even them.

“It was not a wasted venture for I know one day they might want to aspire to be the first astronaut or scientist standing on the Planet Mars."
Wonderful! Marvellous!

But on the Gripping Hand... from one of the comments:
Madison writes, "The intent of our field trip was not to segregate or exclude students as has been reported, but rather to address the societal issues, roadblocks and challenges that our African American children will face as they pursue a successful academic education here in our community."

But the field trip was by invitation only and only black students were invited to attend. Madison used skin color as the sole criteria for determining who could experience this special field trip. When there wasn't enough room for all the black children to attend, he "uninvited" some of the black girls.
And of course Girls, especially little Black Girls, couldn't want to be Astronauts, could they? Or Scientists. Especially not Rocket Scientists.

This is a sore point for me, for obvious reasons. It was bad enough in 1968 to have to deal with such sexist patriarchally privileged nonsense. In 2010... no. Unacceptable. African-American kids have "societal issues, roadblocks and challenges", but African-American girls doubly so, you (unprintable epiphet). If you were supposed to be targetting those most in need, the girls should have been last on your list to omit.

Girls can be Rocket Scientists, you (unladlylike language) little man. Black girls, white girls, whatever.

Hmmm... this story really pushed one of my buttons. I suspect there's more in my past that I haven't dealt with yet, it's not rational to be so upset... no, actually, it is rational to be so upset. But I'm not just upset, I'm incandescent over this (uncomplimentary adjective) "educator".

2 comments:

Cynthia Lee said...

Hugs Zoe.
Perhaps you are taking on too many battles? I understand how you feel about your field of study and women. Just getting yourself worked up like this over something literaly on the other side of the world can not be good for you.
Yes the man is an ass. and yes the sexism/rasism is abhorant.
As a body worker I am going to go out on a limb and sugest that perhaps you have built up too much stress..? You need a nice Sweedish massage followed by a good meal with someone who you love.
I have never seen you so worked up and pissed off. Please take care of yourself. You are one of our champions and we need you in good form.
Hugs and luv
Cynthia Lee

Zoe Brain said...

Thanks Cynthia.

Stress from my PhD, financial woes - my partner's job evaporates soon - and looking at the phase of the moon, yes, it's that time of the month.

I do have a cycle, just a mild one (no ovaries etc), and have to adjust my HRT accordingly. My implant's expired, so I have oestrogen lack now.

And part of it is dealing with a psych issue of long standing - see my vent on BL. I'm my own therapist, you see, I try to be self-aware of what causes my own feelings.

I'm human too. Fallible. I'm allowed to be, now. Don't have to pretend any more.