I recently took a Wealth and Poverty class and read the book "Blue Chip Black" written and taught by University of Michigan's very own, Karen Lacy. This book brings up the controversial topic of residential racial integration and the idea of living in a "black sphere" compared to the "real world" (also known as the white world). The book delves into the issues that black families face when they decide to move into a primarily all black neighborhood or an integrated one (more-so white).
On one hand, there were families who felt that it was important for their children to live amongst other blacks so that they could learn and practice their own culture. Yet, they emphasized the importance of going to school and learning how to be able to enter the "real world" one day as well. On the other hand, there were families who felt that it was important to live amongst and go to school that is primarily white so that they could obtain a "white education" and be able to easily interact in what is considered the "real world." These families used outside organizations such as Jack and Jill to teach their kids about their own black culture so that they could still have a foot in both the black and white worlds—Jack and Jill of America is an African American organization formed during the Great Depression. It was formed in 1938 by African American mothers with the idea of bringing together children in a social and cultural environment.
The biggest difference between these two ways of life is the level of racist practices that such kids endure at a young age. Living in a primarily black neighborhood would not expose kids to racist sentiments in the same way it would to black children living in white neighborhoods. Due to this early exposure, it is said that these children can better interact in the "real world" when they are older because they have that previous experience. With that being said, I am curious to know whether or not it makes more sense to expose kids to such racism early on or let them handle it later in life when it becomes more apparent? In my opinion, I believe that it is crucial for kids to grow up amongst diversity so that they can learn from other people and about different cultures. So, I would not opt to live in the all black neighborhoods that are given as the examples in “Blue Chip Black.” Although the prospect of fostering new legislation that would require elementary, middle, and high schools to diversify each classroom by implementing a district wide rule that requires classes to be diverse by a given percentage of each race, we need to find a different solution as this law would not apply to private schools, and thus not all children would be benefiting from the program. Instead, we should create programs and functions that teach parents how to introduce the idea of diversity and racism to their children. We could host town hall meetings once a month, bring in speakers, or hold events for children in all statewide districts. The point of doing such is to try and eliminate possible bullying seen throughout elementary to high school that has any correlation to race and diversity. How do you think this controversial topic should be approached? Do you see a possibility of creating some sort of statewide legislation to address these problems or ones similar?