2007-11-16 / Letters

Shame on PS 225

Dear Editor,

Last week's Wave headline has exposed the ugly realities of racism and out-of-control students in our very poorly managed and failing public schools. Mr. Schwach's article leaves open the burning question: Is there really anti-white racism?

Let's go way back to the beginnings of the struggle for civil rights by African-Americans in our country. During the days of slavery, the ugly treatment and enslavement of black people was rationalized and excused by most people based on a myth that was believed to be "scientific fact" in those days: dark-skinned persons from Africa were not quite "human" and therefore only useful as slaves and servants in positions of low intelligence and low responsibility. Therefore, from the get-go, the struggle of blacks in America has been basically the struggle to be counted as fully human as everyone else on this planet - and therefore entitled to the same human and civil rights and dignity as all others.

Fortunately, science has, for many years now, retracted its old ignorant theories, and affirmed that basic humanness, intelligence, and potential have absolutely nothing to do with race.

So there you go…all God's children of every color are equally human. And to be human means many wonderful things.

However, the last time I checked, the human race - each and every one of us - is flawed and imperfect. Each of us has parts of our personality that are not very nice, not very notable - a selfish side, an ignorant side - including a strong tendency toward racism and prejudice. Like all of the inherent, unpleasant aspects of humanity, racism and prejudice can only be eliminated by beginning in early childhood, in the home, with careful teaching and example from the parents. By the time a kid enters public school, he or she has already been taught a great deal about what kinds of thinking and behaving are OK, and what's not OK.

Schools can only try to work with what comes from the home. However, it is the responsibility of the school to manage and control the behavior of all students, while they are on the school property, in order to insure that each student who is willing to learn, can do so in a safe, peaceful environment free from fear, bullying, racism, and violence. Shame on PS 225 and its entire staff for failing its children and the Rockaway community so miserably.

Is there anti-white racism aimed at white children and adults, by some black children and adults? (well, aren't we all supposed to be equally human?) Of course there is. It exists right under our noses. Let's get real and do something about it. And there is no other place on earth to begin fixing this ugly business than the home. The black home, the white home - every home.

WILLIAM FOREST

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Prejudice is usually something that is taught at home


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