• Joanne Jacobs

We didn’t choose integration for our kids


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As a second grader, Tanzi West Barbour, a black girl living in a white neighborhood in Fort Worth, was bused to an all-black school as part of a desegregation plan, she writes on the Wayfinder Foundation blog. Her white neighbors went to private school for second grade.

In third through fifth grade, black kids were bused into her neighborhood school.

Only a few of my Black friends were really able to do well in their newly integrated environment. Most of them, however, struggled. They hated the school. They hated getting on and off of the bus. They hated being across town from their homes. They couldn’t wait to go to middle school so they could be back on their home turf and have a choice of whether or not they had to put up with blatant racism and slurs they had to face every day in the name of integration. They look forward to the day when they were finally free.

After fifth grade, Barbour’s family moved back to Washington, D.C., where she was placed in gifted classes. “Life began to equalize.”

With many choices for their children’s education, Barbour and her husband chose a Catholic school in their community where most students and teachers are black.

(They) see students who look like them, educators who look like and care about them, administrators who welcome them with open arms, and with extended family members who quickly take on the role of being their parent when my husband or I aren’t around to advocate for them.” They know they have a village. They don’t have to worry about being separate and apart from their peers because of the color of their skin. They don’t have to worry about being a minority who is looked at with pity, disgust, or sometimes fear.

It’s a high-performing, high-quality school, she concludes. Her children are in the majority.

#busing #choice #integration

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