To cap off this week, we thought we'd switch it up and link to something borrowed, but nonetheless super important to the conversations we're trying to have at 2BG.
As college students and uber-responsible older cousins, we care a lot about black children and their education. In current conversations about the intersections of schooling and race, there's a lot of talk about brain drain and how it deprives communities of color of their "best and brightest" (or, I'd argue, luckiest) students. The practice of black children leaving their neighborhoods and comfort zones in hopes of getting the education many white children take for granted has been around at least since integration, if not longer. This doesn't, however, make it justified by any means.
This practice is doubly important to us as Southerners, specifically South Carolinians, since our state usually ranks in the bottom five of all national education standards. Specifically when it comes to college, many students in our state are led to believe that their post-secondary success is directly tied to their ability to go miles away. This creates a double brain-drain, both racial and regional. While we've both been affected (and probably influenced) by this culture, we both see it as a huge problem—neither black kids nor Southern kids should have to leave their homes to get a decent education. We're always encouraged when we see other people who share this opinion.
Nikole Hannah-Jones' piece in ProPublica documents the fight of black parents and students in the Normandy School District (where Michael Brown went to school) for better educational opportunities after their school system essentially collapsed. Their journeys into presumably "better" communities were met with severe backlash from the white citizens who believed their kids had more right to decent school systems, since they paid taxes for them. It's a really great piece about black resilience and also black hopelessness, and it makes it very clear why Nikole Hannah-Jones is high on our list of black female writers everyone should be reading. I also think this article raises some good questions about whether leaving home is really worth it, and why, at the very least, it shouldn't be required of black kids who want equal opportunities.
For Nikole's website, click here.
For her This American Life episode on school segregation, click here.