Confronting Racism in Education

Historically, civil rights issues have been a struggle. Yet solvable they are. My epiphany after last week’s unexpected tsunami of racist comments on SJI in response to my post was, sadly, that we have not come as far as I thought we had as an enlightened community. However, the bright rays of hope that we can still succeed in the goal of eliminating the achievement gap were built into the altruistic beliefs spoken by the students who are engaged in their quest to become teachers for the children in San Jose.

This is just one of the “teachable moments” I have chosen to emphasize here this week. Teachers are the key solution set to the problem we have identified. The credential program at San Jose State University is producing some of the best young educators I have had the privilege to teach. In economic year downturns, the university cannot cut the momentum the program has to prepare the best and brightest for our local classrooms. In fact, SJ2020 should look at ways to ensure the SJSU pre-service training excellence. Nothing less will do.

President John F. Kennedy said, “Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” As I said last week, our children, all of our children, legal residents or not, must be treated as this city’s treasures. Our planet is an infinitesimally small dot on a huge tapestry of galaxies that comprise our universe. The children of this small planet must be cared for as treasures wherever they reside. That is the world I want to live in and the mission I will continue to strive to accomplish as long as I have the privilege to teach, lead and write.

We are but one species, Homo Sapien Sapien, or Wise, Wise Man, and wise we must be in order to eliminate the achievement gap.

In San Jose we have one of the wealthiest places on the planet in which to grow, live and thrive. We can intelligently and courageously plan to see that all children in San Jose progress to become proficient on California’s content standards. I agree with those posters who said our most gifted children among us must achieve at their highest levels too.

Teachable moment number two: While working to eliminate the gap we must seek and implement instructional methods that challenge our most gifted students in all academic subjects as well.

My last week’s post was not intended to create a “war” on race on San Jose Inside, rather it was to laud the goal we have established as a government and educational community: to end the achievement gap in 10 years. As a 58- year resident of this great city I am very proud of the goal and wanted to applaud the leadership in setting the course. The goal should not be controversial from my perspective, yet I see that it is. This will make our work more difficult, but all civil rights issues are. Together we shall overcome here, too.

I know there will always be critics to any bold initiative. Sometimes as in Brown vs. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court needed to show us the way to a more enlightened path that ultimately benefits us all. Unfortunately, as Jonathan Kozol points out in his 2005 book The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America, we are re-segregating our schools to the detriment of children and the goal of closing the achievement gap. No, I am not advocating forced busing, there are many more creative ways today to address the segregation of our schools and not force anyone to do anything that they wish not to do.

Another teachable moment here for all SJ2020 leaders who signed the compact at the launch: We must be aware that the cards are stacked against us to meet our objective when money is not equally distributed among districts for students. The difference between the dollars per pupil in Palo Alto Unified vs. Franklin-McKinley Elementary is $6,000-$7,000 per year. Kozol points out this disparity for many of the largest cities in the nation based on 2002-03 school year:

Contrasting Two Districts in Chicago

Highland Park and Deerfield High School District
Black and Hispanic Population: 10 percent
White and Other: 90 percent
Low income: 8 percent
$17,291 per student per year

Chicago Unified School District
Black and Hispanic: 87 percent
White and Other: 13 percent
Low income: 85 percent
$8,482 per student per year

Contrasting Two Districts in Boston

Lincoln School District (K-8)
Black and Hispanic:19 percent
White and Other: 81 percent
Low Income: 11 percent
$12,775 per student per year

Chelsea School District
Black and Hispanic: 79 percent
White and Other: 21 percent
Low income: 80 percent
$8,291 per student per year

I know money is not everything; however, I ask, are we providing equal opportunities for learning for all children in San Jose with the disparity in per pupil expenditures that exist today? Do all San Jose’s children have access to quality music, visual and performing arts programs?

It would be a good first step for the leaders of SJ2020 to put up the numbers and demographics for the districts in San Jose as Kozol did for Chicago and Boston. It would also be instructive to compare co-curricular programs and electives offered for each San Jose district. I would also like to see this for all school districts in Santa Clara County for it is public information that should help guide our discussions.

Here is what I know as a life-long educator. We can eliminate the achievement gap. The will, expertise, and knowledge is here. There are many schools public, charter, and private that are doing so against all odds with the poorest of children. I have written about many of them this last year in my blog. As a last “teachable moment” here is my top ten list of what I know must be done for us to achieve our mission:

• Create the highest quality preschool programs for all 3 and 4 year olds in San Jose.
• Hire teachers who believe all students can learn, just not in the same way on the same day.
• Employ teachers who have consistent high expectations for all students in every classroom at their zone of proximal development.
• Provide a rigorous and relevant curriculum for each and every student.
• Pay extra for the best teachers to teach in the lowest performing schools.
• Utilize quality assessment data to drive instructional planning.
• Keep children with their teachers for multiple years in order to forge strong relationships.
• Increase the school day and school year by at least 10 percent.
• Get all San Jose districts up to the level of funding per pupil of Palo Alto Unified’s Basic Aid District so the all district can hire the best teachers.
• Ensure that all parents are involved in the education of their children.

Joseph Di Salvo is a member of the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s Board of Trustees. He is a San Jose native. His columns reflect his personal opinion.

44 Comments

  1. Very good list.  However, I see a tremendous challenge in getting funding levels per pupil to match Palo Alto.  I imagine that property taxes are the main reason why there is a $6k+ gap in funding between Palo Alto and San Jose.  So either we have to raise the average value of San Jose real estate to match Palo Alto (good luck with that), or tax each household at least an additional $4k+ a year.  Unfortunately, I don’t see a practical solution for this situation… hopefully someone in the comments will have some ideas.

  2. Thanks Joseph for your thoughtful response to the nasty rhetoric of last week.  I applaud your leadership on providing opportunities for all to succeed in our schools and applaud the education community for coming together at SJ2020.

  3. Di Salvo’s essays today and last week conceal as much as they reveal.  For example, one thing he doesn’t tell you is that white American students are failing miserably in county schools, having only a 69% success rate according to county stats released in October 2009.

    On the other hand, Asian Americans are succeeding at a rate of 85%.  This means that 16% points separate Asian American students from white American students.  That’s a lot of difference in success rates.

    [This is not to denigrate the critical needs by the young African American students and American Latino students to succeed.]

    Many of Di Salvo’s statements are predicated on your believing that white American kids and Asian American students are succeeding at an acceptable rate.  But it’s not true for the white American kids, at least.

    White American students are way behind Asian American students, and are definitely part of an underperforming classification, not the top tier classification.

  4. > “teachable moments” . . .  Teachers are the key solution set to the problem we have identified. The credential program at San Jose State University is producing some of the best young educators I have had the privilege to teach.

    > Teachable moment number two: While working to eliminate the gap we must seek and implement instructional methods that challenge our most gifted students in all academic subjects as well.

    > Another teachable moment . . . . We must be aware that the cards are stacked against us to meet our objective when money is not equally distributed among districts for students.

    > As a last “teachable moment” here is my top ten list of what I know must be done for us to achieve our mission:  . . .  Create the highest quality preschool programs . . .  Hire teachers who believe all students can learn . . .  Employ teachers who have consistent high expectations . . . Provide a rigorous and relevant curriculum . . . blah . . . blah . . . blah . . . .

    Translating from bureaucratese to English yields:

    1. Use SJSU teachers to teach in schools;
    2. Teach bright students as if they were bright;
    3. Distribute money equally among districts;
    4. Do ten things that the public assumes educators should already be doing.

    Seems like a fairly pedestrian list.

    I don’t know why all of this couldn’t be achieved in charter schools or in private schools with vouchers or tax credits for a lot less tax money and academic beard stroking.

  5. It’s different out here in the real world, isn’t it Joe? You’re probably better off staying in your inulated subsidized little world of academia where you are safely surrounded by colleagues and students who all think and act alike and all crow knowingly about the marvels of “diversity”.
    I’ve never seen a less “diverse” group than your bunch of graduate students. Heaven help our K-8 school children. They don’t stand a chance.
    “Barack Hussein Obama- Mmm Mmm Mmm.
    Barack Hussein Obama- Mmm Mmm Mmm.”

    • John Galt has already achieved fame on http://www.thescienceforum.com where they have started a thread asking whether John Galt is a boring flamer (flame posts).

      Looks like the posters there are weary of his style:

      “…in my experience each of John Galts post are made with a sole purpose: to win. To that end, he will stoop to any low and circular logic. Often times making out as the superior person by a slew of non sequitur insults or straw man arguments, while never acknowledging any wrong doing or even the inherent contradiction in his posts. To discuss anything with John Galt is impossible. For debating, I’m sure he’s a debate teams wet dream.

      For someone possessing all of my vices (times two and then some), while possessing no virtues, John Galt is the worst member of this forum. Much less his warped perception of “logic” and his consistent egocentric appeals to authority. Of course, not that it matters anymore since he is (hopefully) gone for good.”

      http://www.thescienceforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=18701&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30

      BTW Mr. Galt, you’ve never met me and have no idea what my beliefs surrounding diversity are.

      • You must have me mixed up with somebody else. I’ve never participated in any blog but this one.
        Too busy trying to earn enough to pay the salaries of the DiSalvos of the world so they can complain that it’s not enough.

      • Chris,
        I have read many of your posts. You and I see eye to eye on many things, but this is uncalled for. Please refrain from making comments that attack people personally. John Galt is a good man who stands by his convictions, as we all do. Mr. Di Salvo deserves commentary on the topic of his column. Writing weekly blog columns are hard work, and as such deserve our respect when commenting.

        You’re an intelligent person, fight for your position from your heart like John, and from a point of fact, you’ll never go wrong, but please, leave out the meanness~

        • “Please refrain from making comments that attack people personally”

          Perhaps you might like to re-read “good man” Mr. Galt’s post and ask yourself who is attacking people on this forum.  I come from 20 years in the private sector and am studying alongside a tremendous group of bright, thoughtful students in the credential program who are interested in making a difference in the field of education.  Many of these students work full time and yet put in the hours to take on the enormous task.  Mr. Galt, who seems to have a chip on his shoulder with unions, taxes or whatever it is he’s upset about, should take his beef to legislators if he want the tax codes changed rather than making snide remarks about young people that don’t carry his jaded view of the world. He has never met these people and I’m betting he has no experience as an educator.  Thanks for reminding me to stand by my convictions.

          BTW, I’m a nice guy.  I swear!  smile

        • Oh that’s OK Kathleen. To be fair, Chris’s remarks about me are not substantively much different from the personal criticisms I’ve leveled against him as a student in DiSalvo’s class, DiSalvo himself, or any number of individuals, maybe even including you! I guess I don’t regard personal criticism as a nonvalid component of a discussion.
          It seems that we’ve become way too sensitive to criticism and too quick to label any criticism as a “personal attack”. Remember Nam Turk’s prickly, haughty reaction to Hugh Jardonn’s observation that his new airport runway idea had a technical flaw? So in the face of such hypersensitivity people are inclined to tiptoe around subjects for fear of hurting someone’s feelings.
          It seems as though people have lately become conditioned to not only not say what they think but to not allow themselves to pursue certain lines of inquiry. This has led to the development of gigantic blind spots in the national consciousness.
          When I was young, one of the main mantras that we were hammered with was “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” A silly kid’s rhyme to be sure, but as true today as it was back then.
          I value your support and opinions Kathleen, but in this case I really do believe that Chris’s comments are fair play. (Even though he had the wrong John Galt.)

        • Chris,
          Lead by example. Posting hurtful comments only takes a way from your credibility. I know, I used to do it myself. Even at 52 I’m teachable! wink

        • Well John I must commend you on your stand. I know your heart after all these years, so I will respect your position on this. I guess after blogging over the years I’ve come to a place where intellectual stimulation, and exchange of ideas is more important to me than winning the argument.

          I’d like to discuss things in a way that doesn’t hurt others or deter readers on this blog. I guess an old childhood saying I tend to lean toward more is, it isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it that counts.

          Having said that, I agree though that people do shy a way from important conversations that need to take place. I noticed that the issue of discrimination against whites got swept under the carpet in Joseph’s last column, when people who objected to being treated badly because they are white, turned into people being called racist for expressing how they feel. I wonder why that happens every single time? I guess it is HOW it is being expressed, or that the refusal to have the conversation dominates the topic. I believe this issue is very important to discuss especially by teachers and educators.

    • “I’ve never seen a less “diverse” group than your bunch of graduate students. Heaven help our K-8 school children. They don’t stand a chance.”

      All I have to say is wow..

  6. I agree with your list. But anything that costs taxpayers money is likely to meet resistance.  Perhaps we might add to this list a few ideas that wouldn’t considerably add to the tax burden.

    Volunteer Programs: There are many retirees, parents and students willing to offer their time to help children learn. Perhaps a more developed system for them to do so would offer a low-cost labor alternative when budgetary issues restrict the hiring of new teachers.

    Community Service College Credits for students of disciplines other than education.  Why not offer universally accepted college credits for any student willing to contribute to America’s schools?  There are all kinds of ways they could help educators from in-classroom work to setting up and maintaining computer labs etc….

    Older student/younger student mentoring partnerships.  Many schools already have these programs in which older and younger kids are paired, offering learning and teaching opportunities while showing children the value of serving a cause.  This costs nothing and offers lots of possibilities.

    Increased corporate sponsorship of schools.  You often see the “Adopt A Highway” signs touting a corporations effort to keep that stretch of the highway clean.  Actively promoting corporations to sponsor struggling schools is a win-win for both.  The corporation gets the promotional and philanthropic value, while the school gets a shot-in- the-arm from the sponsor in the form of funds, services, technology or volunteer time. 

    These ideas are not new.  But if focus is placed on them, I believe you might be able to create a snowball effect, where no corporation wants to be left out, where retirees know they have an avenue to help and where students get credit while learning what it means to give and learn how to be mentors moving forward.  Win-win-win-win.

    And, its CHEAP for those who view the educational system as bloated.

    • > These ideas are not new.

      Enough said.  We KNOW why these ideas won’t work.

      > Volunteer Programs: There are many retirees, parents and students willing to offer their time to help children learn. Perhaps a more developed system for them to do so would offer a low-cost labor alternative when budgetary issues restrict the hiring of new teachers.

      Low-cost labor alternative . . ? 

      LOW-COST LABOR ALTERNATIVE??!!!

      ARE YOU CRAZY?!!!  WE DON’T WANT NO LOW-COST LABOR ALTERNATIVE!!!

      WE DEMAND HIGH PAYING UNION JOBS!  WE AIN’T GONNA ALLOW NO LOW PAID SCABS TO TAKE AWAY OUR UNION JOBS!

      What are you?  Some kind of union-busting Republican? Get out of here while you’ve still got knees.

  7. I know two employees of the county office of education, and they snicker at Joe’s day-dream to star in a re-make of 1955.

    This is just another jobs program with perhaps five administrators (@$100K) and nine or ten outreach specialists (@$85K), and its purpose is to push back the Latinos and African Americans who complain about achievement disparities.

    This is basically a ten year program which gets all the politicians and school personnel off the hook for that long.  The people running our public schools could raise achievement rates, but it is hard work, and it is easier to throw dust in your eyes for ten years.

    (Joe, don’t take it too badly, you know this is how things are done at SJSU, too.)

    • Jay,

      Not sure about a re-make of 1955, however I do know without a focus on this critical issue nothing would be done to reduce the “gap”. The status quo is good enough for too many of us. We must challenge ourselves to build a City that places ALL our children first, as our most important treasures.

      I totally concur with your assertion that “the people running our schools could raise achievement rates, but it is hard work…” I do not want to throw dust in anyone’s eyes, rather I want all eyes to see clearly the potential that is here to be transformative about seeing that ALL students achieve at the highest of levels.

      An all court press must be placed on reading and writing on grade level skills by the end of third grade. If a student is struggling by 4th grade the research is indicating it might be too late for many. The county office of education (as you describe it) is putting together a collaborative plan to ensure quality preschool for all the county’s children. This is a proper step to take on the mission to eliminate the achievement gap in 10 years.

      Jay, join the effort and roll up your sleeves and let’s get it done. All of us will benefit the fruits of our toil.

      Joseph Di Salvo

  8. The unequal division of school funding between districts is at the root of the inequalities in performance and constitutes a concrete barrier to the opportunities of students in poorer districts. Pooling school funding at the state level and distributing it evenly according to the number of students in each district is the only way to ensure equal opportunities for all students.

    For decades the right has been advocating that public schools should be privatized. Privatization would only worsen the class disparities that currently keep low income families from being able to live in richer neighborhoods where the best schools are. Also once schools start being run for profit, the schools would be accountable only to their shareholders whose only concern would be maximizing their money, not students’ interests. And if you thought it was hard to get heard by public schools were hard to hold accountable or give input to, imagine petitioning a businessman who OWNS the school your child goes to and who can never be voted out.

    • “Pooling school funding at the state level and distributing it evenly according to the number of students in each district is the only way to ensure equal opportunities for all students.”

      Spoken like a true Obama believer.

      Throwing money at it won’t make lazy people ambitious (actually it will have the opposite result, as decades of welfare make quite clear); it will not make indifferent people enthusiastic, and it won’t make stupid people smart.

      You confuse equal opportunity with equal outcomes.

  9. The future of using SJSU as farm team for diversity is in serious thanks to
    rookie president Jon “whitless” Whitmore’s decison to restrict enrollment claiming he
    is saving money.  This needlehead from Texas actually claims that the students from
    Redwood City and Salinas have no business at SJSU.  The best and the brightest
    Urban Planners are coming to SJSU from San Francisco.  The progam mentioned here wil be so crippled by Whitmore’s lack of vision,which is rumored to be why many faculty are writing letters demanding his resignation,that it will disappear in two years.

  10. “President John F. Kennedy said, ‘Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.’ As I said last week, our children, all of our children, legal residents or not, must be treated as this city’s treasures.”

    I agree with what you have to say Joe, but I will reference something I posted last week(which didn’t post for some reason), we are sending really mixed messages to those who are illegally residing in our community. We promise to educate their children, but will deport them if they are found… where does that leave their children? In the system? I am all for educating all, but you really shouldn’t be breaking the law in order to do so…

    Tax payers are paying to better our soceity by providing education for all children- but it comes at a cost when we are educating children whose parents aren’t contributing (paying taxes). It’s a very confusing and hard to justify.

    • Sarah says, “Tax payers are paying to better our society by providing education for all children- but it comes at a cost when we are educating children whose parents aren’t contributing (paying taxes). It’s a very confusing and hard to justify.”

      I agree 100%. It is naive to think that money used to educate undocumented children isn’t draining resources for legal children. I love kids and while I agree these undocumented children deserve health care, an education, etc., what are their parents teaching them about being law-abiding citizens when they aren’t here legally?

      Also, I honestly do have concerns about some these children who do not speak English slowing down classes, and using resources that could be used for disabled students, the arts, etc. I met a young man and his mother at Stanford Hospital yesterday who told me that because he has Tourette Syndrome, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turrets_syndrome, teachers didn’t want him in their classroom. His mother was very worried about his future and his education. I honestly don’t understand how a teacher of all people would not want this bright young man in their class, would not use this young man’s disability as a teachable moment, but will fight for the right of an undocumented child here illegally to receive an education.

      • Sarah,
        I’m happy to be proved at least partially wrong.
        It’s a relieve to finally read a “divergent” thought expressed by one of DiSalvo’s students.

  11. Why must there be so much negativity? What is wrong with people expressing their opinion? We should respect one another’s opinion. People’s opinions are what make the world so diverse. Even if you DO NOT AGREE it is OKAY, but DON’T put the person down. If we were all adults we would come to compromises instead of trying to start a war. John, I respect your opinion but why are you against everyone? What does it matter who is DiSalvo’s student? Get over it!
    For the people who can not even put your REAL name, your comments mean nothing. If you truly believed in what you say, you would post who you are. You can say whatever you want, call people names, put people down, but you know what? It does not hurt those people, it ONLY hurts YOU!
    I admit I am not a perfect person, but who is? People may write down their racial “thoughts” which we call racial discrimination in most cases, and that’s okay because those people are entitled to their opinion. Nothing we can do will change that because they have probably grown up that way. But for the people who believe they are wrong, just ignore them. First, they don’t put their own name and second they want to start a fire. I have a very strong feeling, that some of these people who are so negative work for San Jose Inside. Maybe jealous that DiSalvo has more posts? Could be….not saying it’s true. It’s just a feeling I have.
    I know that even after posting this, there are still going to be the people who post negative comments and may even make negative comments toward me. But I want the people to know that YOU do not have to be negative to have a place in the world. Stop your anger and jealousy! If you believe in something, make a stand and fight for what you believe in! But, DO NOT intentionally put other people down along the way.

    • <Why must there be so much negativity?>

      It’s puzzling that so many people focus on the negative comments of ordinary citizens just engaging in a discussion, but never a word do they say about the negativity of the people who are making the decisions and setting the policies that actually affect our lives.
      I happen to believe that Tiffany Coles-Barrera has what it takes to be an exceptional teacher. I think that with your God-given ingenuity, intelligence, liveliness, and determination, you have everything you need to take a classroom full of kids and teach them what they need to know, and to be a positive role model that they will remember their entire lives.
      DiSalvo doesn’t think so.
      He doesn’t think you’ll be motivated unless you’re paid more money. That’s been the theme of just about every one of his articles on this website. And he’s not just some anonymous, powerless blogger expressing an opinion, like I am. He’s a person in a position of power and using that power to transform negative attitudes and pessimism into real political actions- actions that I believe will harm our society, not help it.

      Try to understand which Joseph DiSalvo I see. From my perspective he’s not the kindly, caring, conscientious teacher that you know. What I see is a paid lobbyist representing the interests of his industry- interests that aren’t necessarily consistent with those of the nation as a whole.

      Lobbyist Joseph DiSalvo doesn’t think you can be an effective teacher unless certain prescribed decisions are made in faraway Sacramento and Washington.
      John Galt believes you can be a great teacher no matter what.
      So who’s the negative one here?

  12. As soon as people start calling each other racist, my eyes glaze over.  It’s a sure sign that no one is listening any more, and that the productive part of the discussion is dead.

    Sadly, that happened in the title and first paragraph of this week’s blog.

    • Anon, and Tiffany Coles-Barrera,
      Thank you both and very well said! Respecting differing opinions without resorting to calling people racists is something a lot of people on here don’t get. Using hate speech is one thing but expressing your honest feelings is another.

  13. I’ll agree with Anon, this is definitely a loaded topic and thankfully this thread is winding down.  I just want to put a little bit of optimism in here.  I’m 29 years old, can be categorized as white (although I go by Portuguese), and spent my entire childhood in San Jose. Growing up, I would say that less than 30% of my friends were also white. By the time I was 18, I was eating at taquerias in east San Jose, Pho restaurants where no worker spoke English, Falafels at rare middle eastern joints, and hung out at SCU’s multicltural. Usually I was literally the only white person at these places and I didn’t even think twice about it.

    San Jose is technically one of the most diverse cities on the planet (statistically even more so than San Francisco). This is part of our culture and we simply have to accept it, embrace it, and enjoy this fact… and after people step out of their bubble, there is in fact much to enjoy.

    So where is the optimistic part of this story? It is easier for younger people to accept the fact that they live in a very diverse society than previous generations that had to change mental notions drilled into them during their upbringing. I was probably part of the first generation where racism and segregation in San Jose were not very pronounced.

    My wife teaches kindergarten and her class is almost a perfect cross-section of the entire planet. I don’t think that a single ethnicity represents more than 20% of the classroom. When you group up in an environment where you look around and everyone is different from you, you don’t think to yourself “hey that person is black, and that one’s asian, and that one’s filipino”. No, you think this is my classroom, these are all my friends.

    I can’t help but think that the closest this upcoming generation in kindergarten right now will ever get to true racism, is the history lessons they will be taught in school and perhaps remarks from their parents (which they will likely ignore early on as it will be a contradiction to their school experiences). The bigots will eventually die out and future generations could care less about the color of people’s skins (and hopefully religious background, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, etc. as well). These children will be growing up in a society where an unprecedented amount of information will be available to them to make their own decisions and they will be immersed in multiple cultures. 

    Regardless of what pontificators try to shove down their throats about white culture bad, this bad, that bad, blah blah… I’m confident they this new generation will be able to make good decisions on their own and create a unified culture that is more open minded and accepting to ALL than the one that exists today.

    • > Regardless of what pontificators try to shove down their throats about white culture bad, this bad, that bad, blah blah… I’m confident they this new generation will be able to make good decisions on their own and create a unified culture that is more open minded and accepting to ALL than the one that exists today.

      Can you cite one example—JUST ONE—where the “ponitificators”, the educrats, or the dominant utopian elitists (probably including you) have had something POSITIVE and AFFIRMATIVE to say about white people, or “white” culture, or persons of ACKNOWLEDGED European ethnicity.

      It NEVER happens.

      We have Hispanic Heritage month, Cesar Chavez Day, Black History month, Martin Luther King Day, Cinquo de Mayo, Tet festivals, Chinese New Years, etc, etc.

      Never anything that honors or “celebrates” “white” ethnicity, or “white” heritage, or “white” culture.

      Oh, but Fourth of July is a “white holiday”.  And Columbus was “white” so Columbus Day is a “white holiday”, and all the Presidents were white (or at least those born in the United States) so Presidents Day is really a “white” holiday.  The extent to which the “multiculturalists” accept and repeat this nonsense is a measure of the extent to which they reject the founding principles of America as a land of the free, a land of individual identity, a land of opportunity, and a land of personal responsibility and accountability.

      “Multiculturalism” as it is practiced in Obama’s America in 2009 is a fraud and a sham.

      “Multiculuralism” is a form of SILHOUETTE RACISM.  It purportedly “celebrates” the ethnicity, the heritage, the culture, the RACE, of people from ALL origins. 

      But it doesn’t.  It creates a Rorschach-like mosaic of many bits and pieces of ethnic sterotyping, but the shape of the “mosaic” is a silhouette.  Even though it panders to the ethnic narcissism of a large fraction of “the masses”, the silhouette outlines, for those who have been “sensitized” the one ethnotype who is EXCLUDED from the multiculture, the one ethnotype who is the enemy of all the “diverse” peoples of the multiculture: people of white.

      There is no question that many ignorant or self-loathing “white” people accept the pretense of “multiculturalism”.  But they simple haven’t been told that “multiculturalism” is not “omniculturalism”.  It’s not about “all” cultures, it’s only about “many” cultures.  And the difference between “all” and “many” in the age of Obama and political correctness is . . . people of white.

      When non-white people look at multiculturism as a picture of society, they probably can identify themselves and selected parts of their culture in the picture.  When people of white look at the same picture of a multicultural society, they see themselves portrayed only as shallow, false, or negative stereotypes.

      Multiculturalism equals silhouette racism.

      • I suppose that I celebrate “white culture” anytime I go to a Portuguese community event.  There are many in San Jose and Santa Clara (parades, crab shappinos, etc.) and non-Portuguese people do attend.

        Let me also clarify that paragraph that you quoted. I think that this next generation will take the aspects of white culture that are positive (and there are many, this country was founded on many of those) do the same with other ethnic cultures, and integrate them into modern American culture as that generation picks up the baton. The ideal goal would be to celebrate diversity and commonalities simultaneously, and it is possible.

      • Multiculturalism is a word.

        The word implies a relationship between multiple cultures who live together in a society. That relationship would be one of tolerance and mutual support among groups with relatively equal power and resources. Multiculturalism would be compatible with the ideals that the U.S. was founded on:  the universality of freedom and equality for all. Unfortunately the relationships between racial groups in the U.S. are not remotely equal so multiculturalism isn’t helpful to describe how things are.

        In our society, wealth determines access to resources, power, and quality of life. Wealth is distributed unevenly along racial and ethnic lines in the U.S.

        Median Household Wealth in 2004 (assets minus debt)
        White $140,700
        Black $20,400
        Latino $27,100
        According to “Survey of Consumer Finances, Federal Reserve Board, 2006” http://www.federalreserve.gov/Pubs/OSS/oss2/2004/bull0206.pdf

        Numbers like that make discussions of multiculturalism seem a little irrelevant. The fact that white families have 5 times as much wealth as Latino families and 7 times more wealth than Black families suggests that the white supremacy that the founding fathers practiced (slavery, genocide, conquest) was passed down and is still very much with us.

        Black, Native, Asian and Latino people, aided by White allies have fought heroically against white supremacy because it is a denial of human freedom and dignity, to whites as well. White supremacy has conceded many things under fire from people of color and their white allies including:

        -ownership of Black people’s bodies
        -exclusively white public accommodations (schools, transportation, housing)
        -the ability to lynch Black men on the street
        -the right to explicitly exclude people of color from a workplace as formal policy
        -the ability to openly use government functions to enforce white supremacy by denying benefits or rights to people of color

        Each gain represented a struggle by people of color and their white allies against a majority of white people claiming to be objective and scientifically or morally or traditionally entitled to deny people of color what they needed.

        Today, the fight to defend funding for public education is a struggle against white supremacy as much as the fight to integrate the schools after Brown v. Board of Education after 1954. Once Blacks and people of color could no longer be excluded from public schools, white supremacy has been defended by those who seek to “starve the beast” by cutting tax money to the public education system.

        DiSalvo’s argument that we as a society must eliminate the achievement gap between better funded mostly white schools and underfunded mostly Latino schools makes sense in terms of living up to the ideals of freedom and equality for all. I think it is also important to remember that there is a name for policies that deny basic needs to people of color:  white supremacy. Simply calling it racism allows white supremacists to equate their political project to the racial prejudices of Blacks, Latinos, or Asians who do not have generations of inheritance gained at the expense of white people.

        Reading the comments from last week’s DiSalvo column, it should be pretty clear that that is what a number of commenters were doing:  equating white supremacy to any other form of prejudice. So, people who oppose white supremacy are better served by calling it by name than just saying they oppose racism. Or maybe that they “oppose racism, but especially white supremacy because that is the cultural heritage of the U.S. where we are right now.” Don’t get me wrong, the minute a Black or Latino or Asian person proclaims that their race is superior to others, they need to be checked, but until people of color demonstrate that they intend to enslave and genocide white people in the U.S., I will spend my time trying to abolish white supremacy.

        • > Median Household Wealth in 2004 (assets minus debt)
          White $140,700
          Black $20,400
          Latino $27,100

          . . .

          > White supremacy has conceded many things under fire from people of color . . . 

          So, your explanation of high “white” incomes is “white supremacy”.

          Is your explanation of high Jewish incomes Jewish supremacy?

          Is your explanation of high Asian incomes Asian supremacy?

          When people of white move from the cities to suburbs, it’s labeled “white flight”.

          When black people move out of San Francisco, reducing the number of blacks in the city, it’s labeled as people just “seeking better opportunities” or an “improved lifestyle”.

          Under “multiculturalism”, the STEREOTYPE of “white people” is people who have UNJUSTIFIABLY ENRICHED THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS. 

          Hello! You have dredged up and pushed that exact sterotype into this dialogue.

          This is a false and malignant stereotype and suppresses the many wonderful things that have made “white culture/values” work to the benefit of the economic success and high incomes of people of white as well as people of other ethnicities.

          How well have Mexican culture/values worked for Mexicans in Mexico?  Ten percent of them have moved to a society marked by a prominence of prosperity and harmony enabling “white culture/values”.

          These are the same “white culture/values” that are maligned and found to be “problems” by DiSalvo’s students, and WITHOUT any apparent concern, demurral or judgementalism on the part of DiSalvo.  Even when it was brought to his attention multiple times, DiSalvo could discern NO TEACHABLE MOMENT when his student expressed to him his belief that “white culture/values” are a “problem”.

          There is no question:  from the perspectives of many authentic, self-respecting and self-affirming people of white, “multiculturalism” equals silhouette racism against people of white.

          People of white simply cannot have any confidence in the institutions of public education and teacher training when this kind of “benign neglect” and insensitivity to people of white, their children, their culture, and their values is accepted and tolerated.

  14. downstater sayeth:

    > White people have unjustifiably enriched themselves at the expense of other groups since they arrived on this continent, except when restrained by fear of loss of profits.

    There you have it.  Smoked out another anti-white bigot.

    Multiculturalism is silhouette racism.

    I rest my case.

  15. Nothing wrong with white people or white culture. Big problems when white people deny the history and continuing legacy of white supremacy in the U.S.

    • Downtownster,
      When reciting history please include the fact that whites, in many cases, lead the call for an end to discrimination and started non-profits like the NAACP, the ACLU, the Dr. Martin Luther Kling Jr. Association, and many other such organizations dedicated to defending the under represented regardless of color. Through out history and in present time, whites who believe in justice, human rights, and equality do participate in marches, and are/have been badly beaten, shunned, harassed, or lost their lives fighting for the rights of minorities. Much of the progress made towards equality for ALL has been achieved through out the decades due to whites collaborating with people of color in an effort to end the horrific treatment of people of color, and people being discriminated against due to their sexual orientation. 

      There is supremacy in EVERY race even amongst people of their own race. Stop trying to make this a black/brown/white thing. We all bleed red, and to lump everyone into one category based on race, and a history long past is really doing human kind an injustice. Stop and think about all the races that banded together to end discrimination, and to bring forth Civil and Human Rights for everyone. Take off your bias glasses and start judging people as individuals, and by their actions, NOT the color of their skin.

      • Kathleen,

        I agree with you that white allies have contributed greatly to the struggles of people of color and in advancing the ideal of freedom and equality for all that this country was founded on. For that we should be proud.

        When you say “there is supremacy in EVERY race even amongst people of their own race” I am not sure how to take it. I think that there are inequalities and hierarchies in every culture, and there are those who believe that their culture is the best (supreme), but they do not control the economy, government, or media in this culture. All of those things are owned by the richest people in the U.S. and those people are overwhelmingly white. I am talking about how wealth and power are distributed in the U.S. because of the legacy of formal white supremacy which is still being struggled against by people who value human freedom. I think you would count yourself among those who oppose the legacy of white supremacy and its ongoing effects on people of color in the U.S. because I know that you value human freedom. I would simply caution you against the notion that white supremacy has been defeated. Look around you and you will see that people of color in this society still suffer from the legacy of slavery, genocide, and Jim Crow racism. We are nowhere near done with undoing white supremacy.

  16. >So, your explanation of high “white” incomes is “white supremacy”.

    No, I am talking about the differences in wealth (what people own) between racial groups because wealth is handed down to one’s children so the economic legacy of the white supremacy practiced in the U.S. historically can be seen more clearly in terms of household wealth than income of individuals. Also, income shifts faster than wealth because hiring and wages have shifted dramatically in just the generation after the 1960’s. Business owners have found it cheaper and more profitable to stop favoring white people the way they had always done before due to lawsuits and government sanctions if they make it official policy to continue white supremacist hiring practices.

    >Is your explanation of high Jewish incomes Jewish supremacy?

    No. Jews have not and do not own or run this country for their own benefit.

    >Is your explanation of high Asian incomes Asian supremacy?

    No. Asians have not and do not own or run this country for their own benefit.

    >Under “multiculturalism”, the STEREOTYPE of “white people” is people who have UNJUSTIFIABLY ENRICHED THEMSELVES AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHER ETHNIC GROUPS. 

    White people have unjustifiably enriched themselves at the expense of other groups since they arrived on this continent, except when restrained by fear of loss of profits.

    >Hello! You have dredged up and pushed that exact sterotype into this dialogue.

    I would call it an historical and contemporary fact, and hiding the history of white supremacy is one of the biggest problems in this society because it allows white people to whine about losing their favored status when all that people of other races are doing is demanding fair treatment and full access to every part of this society.

    >This is a false and malignant stereotype and suppresses the many wonderful things that have made “white culture/values” work to the benefit of the economic success and high incomes of people of white as well as people of other ethnicities.

    No, challenging white supremacy in U.S. culture does not suppress the good things about white culture and values. It actually does a great service to white people by validating the universal ideals of human freedom and equality for all espoused by the founders of this country while rightly criticizing the dishonesty and vanity of some whites who cannot accept that, in the name of those treasured ideals, they are going to have to learn to share this country with other races.

    >These are the same “white culture/values” that are maligned and found to be “problems” by DiSalvo’s students, and WITHOUT any apparent concern, demurral or judgementalism on the part of DiSalvo.

    White culture and values are not the problem. As I have been pointing out, the problem is the subjugation of other cultures and races by white culture and white people. The quote from last week’s article from one of DiSalvo’s students that chapped so many white hides was that the student’s biggest problem with the 2020 project launch was:  “I think the biggest part of the problem is that we’ve become so used to white culture/values dominating so many arenas that we fail to see how prevalent it is and how much it clashes with other cultures.” As a white person, I agree with the student completely because we cannot expect to live up to the ideals of human freedom and equality for all espoused by the founders of the U.S. if white culture and white values are taught as the best/only/greatest way of thinking and being. That would mean that every other culture would have to be subordinated and people of all races would have to accept the supremacy of white culture. White culture and white people are not supreme and asking anyone of any race to act as if white people or culture were supreme is asking them to engage in a lie and a fantasy that is damaging to their minds, their dignity as people, and to the ideals of human freedom and equality that this country was founded on.

    >There is no question:  from the perspectives of many authentic, self-respecting and self-affirming people of white, “multiculturalism” equals silhouette racism against people of white.

    When white people complain of being under attack for being white, I think back to the times when I have been hurt by people of color, and while it was no fun, I can’t think of a single time when the person of color who mistreated me had any authority to deny me a job, a loan, admittance to a school, health care, housing, or anything else that wasn’t reparable. Ego, pride, self-esteem, “ruining my day”; yeah those got hurt. And there have been times that the curriculum in a class included writings by people of color that I disagreed with, but I wasn’t told that if I didn’t agree or “get it” that I would be stupid or barred from getting what I wanted. But people of color receive those messages of being seen as stupid and being blocked from what they want (college, housing, loans, jobs) if they don’t at least act like they accept white supremacy.

    >People of white simply cannot have any confidence in the institutions of public education and teacher training when this kind of “benign neglect” and insensitivity to people of white, their children, their culture, and their values is accepted and tolerated.

    White people and white culture in the U.S. are in no danger of becoming victims of benign neglect or insensitivity in schools. The bulk of the curriculum is still based in white culture, but it is now taught in schools that white supremacy is not true, and I think that that is what makes the adherents of white victimization so nervous and so eager to de-fund public education. And there is nothing benign about the neglect that poor children of all races would suffer if white supremacists succeed in de-funding public education.

  17. > White people have unjustifiably enriched themselves at the expense of other groups since they arrived on this continent, except when restrained by fear of loss of profits.

    > I am talking about how wealth and power are distributed in the U.S. because of the legacy of formal white supremacy . . . .

    > I would simply caution you against the notion that white supremacy has been defeated. . . .

    > We are nowhere near done with undoing white supremacy.

    And these are the people who insist that children of white sit in the same classrooms with children of color while the hirelings of the public education establishment spew these defamations about the heritage, culture, values, role models, parents and heroes of white children.

    Ugly. Sick. Toxic. Malignant.

    The people who do this to children of white are bigots and child abusers.