Archive for the ‘April’ Category

Diversity in schools.

Posted: April 5, 2011 in April, Uncategorized

How important is cultural diversity in your school?

(watch before reading)

Currently, I attend a public high school, right in the minority-laden district of a densely populated Southern California city.

As a minority myself, of Mexican/Amerindian descent, I may with utmost certainty say that “diversity” lingers around campus thought and policy. “Diversity”, in its idealistic form, hovers around the campus as if questioning the premise would entail you clamor for the return of segregation, or worse, slavery.

Diversity plagues our textbooks, with pages and pages full of people of all different skin colors and varying cultures; all neatly arranged holding hands in a proverbial group circle as if our interracial and cultural history resembled a bonfire on one of California’s many sandy shores. Diversity, of course, also manifests itself in the student body; blacks, whites, Asians, Mexicans (who make up the most), Filipinos, Indians, and even some native Americans are thrown in for good measure, all walk the campus.

Diversity and the message of “equality” among the student body acts as a daily prayer preached by the principal and the army of administrators. The students are given a collective, scholastic identity through the school and her mascot; the common drivel we are persuaded to accept is that since all of us attend the same school and receive the same education, we share some type of bond, and out of this bond somehow an ethic arises. The ghastly ethic of dishonest equality rears its head, or the claim: “we all ought to view each other as equals”. We are supposed to accept forceful integration; we are forced to act and remain content with associating with folks that we probably wouldn’t have any intention of associating with given the choice.

Yes, on my campus, “diversity” is viewed as an end in itself, a goal, a purpose, or a telos; although the name might change, the idea does not. The schoolwide SAT scores plummet, yet, our administrators are at a loss for an explanation outside of “the kids don’t study hard enough”. Constant fights and rumbles between gangs – mostly graffiti enthusiasts and vandals – break out, and yet, the remedy is a menial cascade of anti-violence and pacifist lectures? The major cause of unrest within the school remains ignored, however.

I am not over-simplifying the issue either, obviously other factors may come into play. But for the most part, forced integration (or diversity) seems to take on the role of an obstacle or weakness more than a strength. All that one needs is a brisk walk across the quad areas during the lunch break; one panoramic glance reveals mini-colonies of kids all separated from each other, mostly separated by similar appearance and race. You can name it a tendency of teenagers to clique up because of a stereotype threat, you can call it an adolescent desire to belong to a group; I call it the natural predisposition to segregate with those whom you feel most comfortable around, and my school administration aims to suppress this very natural instinct, to achieve an unattainable moral ideal.