Buyers Guide: Are We Properly Addressing Diversity and Racial Disparities in Schools?
Guest Article by Regina Seabrook
At a diversity and inclusion conference I attended years ago, I asked a pragmatic question and I received a surprising response.
The keynote speaker shared her diversity journey from having slave owning ancestors and growing up to accept racism as a part of life to moving to a metropolitan area where she developed friendships with people from diverse backgrounds and solidified her committment as an ally to those of us who don't have White privilege.
As I listened to her story, which was centered on personal experience, I wondered how it would help me as an educator dedicated to supporting student success in the classroom and in the community with an understanding of the importance of economic development in communities of color. In hindsight, I was ready for a different kind of conference and that was made apparent in the question I asked.
I asked the speaker, "Is there a buyers guide specifically for people of color that ranks communities in terms of quality of life for people of color? She responded, "If there was, I wouldn't have a job."
I have spent a considerable amount of time reflecting on her response and have concluded that she made a living off of racial disparities and that given the disparities as they manifest in our nation's schools, she was able to live quite comfortably sharing a personal story but not necessarily having to engage in the hard work of creating change.
If I were to pose this very same question to a diverse group of students as part of an activity that allows them to engage in design thinking, I wonder what kinds of indicators they would develop and measure to show that a city was a good place for people of color to invest their time and/or money.
I asked the wrong person the right question at the wrong conference but gained some tremendously valuable insights.
About the Author: Regina Seabrook Inspires, Challenges, and Empowers as the SAFE Program Coordinator/Community Partnership Liaison Rochester Public Schools in Rochester, MN. This program provides first generation college bound students/students of color opportunities to explore and prepare for college and career. She is an ambassador for and writes about social justice issues present in today's education and communities. She can be contacted via her LinkedIn page.
Please share this article and comment on your diversity experiences in school or community. What insights do you have? Thanks for reading and remember: You Have the Power. Use It.