When white and/or privileged families enroll their kids in schools serving a majority of students who come from different racial, linguistic, and socioeconomic backgrounds (as many of us across the country are doing!), we often replicate a kind of white supremacy in these schools. Even if we are well-intentioned, even if we are social-justice-minded, even when we care deeply about equity, we don’t always realize the impact we are having in a school. In many communities, we find significant pushback from current families feeling like they are being ‘colonized,’ ‘gentrified’ or being devalued, pushed out, etc.
Stepping in to these schools is the necessary first step to desegregation, indeed. But after stepping in, we need to step up. Meaningful integration is not about ‘adding whiteness or privilege’ but requires valuing all children, classrooms and families. Meaningful integration is about equity and respect and inclusion, it’s about justice, thoughtfulness, and belonging.
In an effort to lay out some of the better ways to get from desegregation to integration, Integrated Schools has been developing a Handbook for families who are opting in. And now we need your help!
We are looking for parents who have been involved in this work and are who willing to share stories. We want to hear from parents of color and white/privileged families! Teachers – you too!
What have been the challenges at your school, where did you make mistakes or find successes? We would love to include your story in our Handbook (anonymously, of course). Feel free to share them here in the comments , through FB/Twitter direct message or via email (IntegratingSchools@gmail.com). You can write an essay or a sentence or we can arrange a phone call… we’d just love to hear from you!