Finally Integrating Public Education Is All The Reparations We Need

James Baldwin - Books, Life & Quotes - BiographyOPEN LETTER TO THE STAKEHOLDERS OF OUSD (1).pdf- public and private- is all the reparations we as a people would need for this country to finally reach its potential for ALL our people. As superb writer and intellect James Baldwin and many others have known for generations, an "educated people, of any color, are so extremely rare that it is unquestionably one of the first tasks of a nation to open all of its schools to all of its citizens."

We did this historically with the unprecedented opening of our schools early on in our country's history for our European "huddled masses yearning to be free." But what we didn't anticipate was that these once European downtrodden peasant dreamers would then turn around and do to Africans, Latinos, and other minorities, what had once been done to them in Europe- in aid of nurturing their own now inflated egos and feelings of superiority. They now saw themselves as the new American ruling class, even though they were now objectively and regrettably no different than the earlier European incarnation they and their ancestors had once despised, suffered under, and escaped from.

"Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a [delusional] dream he has long cherished or a privilege he has long possessed that he is set free- he has set himself free- for higher dreams, for greater privileges." Now is clearly what might just be our last chance of finally rejecting the self-deceptive and destructive ego trip White America and some "house Negroes" and Latinos have been on for far too long, which clearly must end, if this is to remain a viable country.

Given the historically unprecedented success the United States has achieved in its relatively short history, one must wonder today how much even greater our achievements might have been on a national and even international level, if we had used the untapped potential and cooperation of all our people. However, rationalized generational racism has gone on for so long in this country that all races have to some extent bought into the negative stereotypes as to who is educable and who is not in a yet segregated public education system that literally makes no attempt to educate large segments of our population.

So why has true integration of our public schools been scrupulously avoided? Because there is no way to maintain racial fantasies and cultivated inferiority for the benefit of a few, if you deal with all different kinds of people of all ages and backgrounds on a daily basis in integrated schools. This is why those in power will never integrate public education unless we the people- and the majority in this putative democracy- force those in power to do so.

"The question is not what we can do now for the hypothetical Mexican, the hypothetical Negro. The question is what we really want out of life, for ourselves, what we think is real."

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