Diversity is important to us. When we move into a neighborhood and look at schools for our children we want the demographics to represent the real world. Some people may prefer the opposite. That’s ok, but it does make me wonder. Having a true representation of the real world as children grow will help later in life. I mean, you will encounter at least one person who doesn’t look like you at least once in life. Well, I hope so.
I grew up in a predominately white town. I still remember the year I left for college to attend the University of Memphis and wanted to go home after my first week because there were too many black people. Yeah, I actually said that. The school wasn’t predominately black, but there was indeed a presence. And no, I wasn’t prejudiced against my race but allowed the stereotype seen on T.V. to affect my thinking as well as falling into the cloud of thinking that being surrounded by too many of a particular race was better or worse. Sad truth, but being honest with you. I will expound on this in a future post. I know, it sounds really bad. It was a learning lesson for sure. And yes, I stayed in Memphis and graduated. It was my first view of the real world for sure.
When shopping for homes and schools many research schools first. I’ve had many conversations about why or why not living in a particular area is good. It usually comes down to the school’s demographics. What I’ve noticed is when white people are the minority, the individuals I’m in conversation with always say, “That school is BAD!” This makes me give a head tilt. The conversation continues and usually ends with, “I heard it’s horrible.” Hmmm….so you do not even have the first-hand experience? And it usually slips out they are uncomfortable with being the minority. Something along the lines of, “Everyone there is just so different, and I don’t get their ways. Oh, don’t misunderstand, we aren’t racist. One of my best friends is from Puerto Rico, and my sister is married to a black man.” Boy oh boy! Please DON’T EVER SAY THAT!
The old me would just smile and nod. The new me now wants to know more and will explain that this is the story of our lives. Is it racism? No, I don’t think so. I think in many cases it’s people showing their ignorance. And that ignorance is in all races and cultures. But, we are going to stick to Black and White today cause that’s where most of my experience is.
Let me explain something to you. When you refuse to send your children to a school because they will be the minority you are hindering your child’s education. Education expands way past the schoolhouse doors. Maybe you didn’t grow up around others who didn’t look like you, and that may be the cause of your fear. But don’t continue that fear with your children.
If I can be real with you for a quick moment….what happens in the schools that you work so hard to keep your children out of is happening at yours too. Cause that’s your fear. You don’t want them to get hooked up with the “wrong” crowd. Many say (cause I’ve heard it all) the education isn’t up to par, but the test scores aren’t that different. Hmmmm…….
We are all people. We all have feelings. We all bleed. We all breath the same air. We all are on this earth for a purpose. Diversity is important to help the world grow. Diversity is important to help your child succeed. This world is full of so many great people that do not look like you, talk like you, live like you, etc. Open your heart and mind and embrace diversity.
As a military family, we have had the opportunity to interact with so many races and cultures. The one thing Procrastination Jonz asked for as we prepared for our upcoming PCS was to move to a diverse neighborhood and school. She enjoys experiencing the different cultures and food. Yeah, she is all about trying different foods. Gotta love her!
So, embrace diversity. Learn from others and allow your children the opportunity to learn and embrace differences.
How diverse is your life? Do you welcome diversity or is there a bit of fear? It’s ok if there is. Just open your heart and mind, I promise, you don’t know what you are missing out on.