I know some of us are tired of hearing about black people. I know some of us are tired of talking about racism. “Oh, no!” Why don’t they just shut up about it!” “Hasn’t it been over for a long time now?” “That justs happens in the south!” “Didn’t they get affirmative action?” “I’d rather hear about the holocaust or women!” “Why are they so negative?”
But I promise, you will not be dissapointed if you watch this HBO special. And for those of you that haven’t watched it, it’s a reunion that marks the 50 year anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central. This school (like most others) was segregated until the 1955 Brown vs. Board law passed which lifted the segregation band on all schools. Although the law was lifted, racial tension was at it’s highest point in Little Rock Arkansas. The “Little Rock Nine” were the first black students who stepped foot into the school. However, on the first day of school they had to be escorted by the national guard because their lives were in danger. This documentary reveals the conditions of the school fifty years later, as to analyze any progress (if any) that has been made throughout the years.
I admit, this is not Shakespeare or the Kennedy assasination, or even young adult Lit. However, it is very important to know our history; not black history but American History. It is even more important to see how American History is involved concerning our schools and our classrooms. It is a marker to show where this nation has come and maybe a prediction of where it may head in the future. Keep in mind that just because the documentary is in Arkansas doesn’t mean that this is not happening in all schools across America. This documentary may help open the eyes of many Americans who are allowed to live in a “racial cocoon” and speak the words “affirmative action” or maybe even ask such questions like “what racism?” when they talk in casual conversations. Just because there are class desparities (and issues involving class) does not mean that racism in America does not exists and the more we turn a blind eye to it, the worse it will get.
My question that I will pose to my senior high class is the question concerning the “color line” and the importance or non importance it has in education. Just in case you are interested (and if you have hbo) here are a list of times when the program will be airing:
Mon 10/1 8:15 a.m.- HBo2-East
Thur 10/4 12:30 a.m. HBO- East
Thur 10/4 12:30 a.m. HBO Latino-east
Thur 10/4 09:00 HBO-East
Remeber, this may not be about English but it does involve classrooms and education. If we are going to make a change “realistically”, then this is not a bad place to start.