Sunday, February 9, 2014

ASSIMILATION, INTEGRATION, EDUCATION

“American Promise” is a documentary that tells the story of two African American males and their experience with education in America. It deals with issues of race, class, gender, and education. It shows how the males have to adapt to being different from their peers at Dalton and their peers when they are not at school. They have to assimilate and integrate in order to receive an education that is deemed acceptable in American society.

 Babby Krents, the admissions director at Dalton made a comment that really didn’t sit well with me. She said, “I won’t accept a child if I don’t think he or she can handle the work, but diversity is a big commitment of ours.” It just seemed as if she was saying that the majority of children of color cannot handle the work level. It really wasn’t what she said, but the fact that many children of color cannot handle the work at Dalton. While it might appear that race is what distinguishes us from one another, it really is a class issue. A lot of black children cannot even afford to go to that school or they would be there. Many children cannot handle the work load because they do not have the resources and do not have the support to keep up. Often times those without the resources, are the children of color. Every child in America should be able to receive the same level of education and it shouldn’t depend on class or race.

For example, let’s say that I as an African American female had the same resources as one of my white peers from the day that I was born, I know that life would have been a lot different for me. That isn't to say that it would have made me a better person. I also believe that the impact of race and class depends a lot on location. As a resident of Arlington, Virgina I am able to see the impact of race and class. There is a lot of diversity here but class still separates the races. Education is important and diversity is important. Yet, you shouldn’t have to lose your identity to obtain a proper education. The boys dealt with emotional issues because they felt so different from their peers. Idris says, “I bet if I was white, I’d be better off.” No child should ever feel that he is not good enough, especially when it comes to race.

I commend the parents for sending their children to Dalton. They didn’t do anything wrong, they did what they felt what was best for their children. Every child should be encouraged to work hard no matter their race, their class, or where they live. My parents supported and encouraged me to be a good student. As the product of the public school system their commitment and devotion made me the woman that I am today. 

Another message that was conveyed throughout the documentary was that you cannot judge a book by its cover. Many of the children at Dalton dealt with the same issues as Idris and Seun. Also, without knowing Seun many may have called him a thug because of the locks and the way that he dressed. Honestly, I would have never guessed that he went to Dalton by his appearance. As a society, we judge a person by their appearance before we take time to get to know who they are as a person.

I really enjoyed the documentary. These are issues that our black males are dealing with in America today. Unfortunately, many times we are not aware of what is going on with others around us until it is brought to our attention.

 Check out American Promise at http://www.pbs.org/pov/americanpromise/full.php#.UvRe3kJdXNA.

What did you think about the documentary? Would love to hear your thoughts.


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4 comments:

  1. Well while I thought the documentary was very interesting, to me it was very depressing. I myself being a product of integration in 1967, I would not continuously being aware of the integration process admit my children to that kind of humiliation if I had the option to other wise. To me integration revealed some things that I would not know without that experience, but the experience robbed me of my black history and heritage, Some things that I can never get back. In the predominantly white school system I never learned any positive black history, which means the images of black people were often representations of slave images, nothing aspiring for a young black boy to be proud of. I do not recall one positive image represented of a black person, so I have no point of reference from the integration experience where I could look back to and say Thank God for what that system instilled in me. What I did learn is that all white people are not racist, and not all black people uncle toms. I love all people, especially my own

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    1. Thanks for the feedback Dad. I truly understand. There is a lot of work to be done :-)

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  2. Naomi you are right if the issue is not address African Americans would not know about the issues that black young men are facing. Tori stated that this documentary is true because their was not any black young males at the University of Virginia. additional a forum on multiculturalism should be available for all parents, students and instructors when accepting individuals into the school. I concur, that every child should be encouraged pursue a top notch education and be judged according by the color of their skin, status in society or where they live. Opportunities, resources,should be available for black males the same as their white counterparts. Mom

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