This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

August 13, 2009

B(l)ack to School

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , — pprscribe @ 7:31 am
"School Bus Coming." PPR_Scribe

"School Bus Coming." PPR_Scribe

It’s going to happen, I see, every year. The back-to-school social, the fall open house, the first school-wide choir performance. We will see Them out of the corner of our eyes. New faces…new families. New Black faces and families. We will experience a rush of inner thrill. We will try to determine from the child’s hair style or clothes what grade she is in. We may determine that there is a chance that he will—out of all the classrooms—be in one of our children’s class.

Our child may not be The Only One this year.

We lock eyes with a mother, with a father. Definitely with a grandmother. The grandmother, in particular, seems relieved and overjoyed to see us there. Guess you were right, Junior, there are some Black folk up in this lillywhite suburb…. We lock eyes. We share a mutual smile. (Once, we actually hugged, even though we had never seen each other in our lives.) There is still that Other family, the family from previous years, whose mother never meets our eyes, whose father never answers our hellos. But even they and their nasty attitude is easier to take as we take note of these new Black faces.

It is a steady annual trickle in which we do not make the only appearance. One additional family from Korea this year…a surname on one class roster that ends in -ez that we are hopeful about even though we did not meet the parents or child at the open house…three additional families from the Middle East…the sound of accents and languages spoken other than English…

Each new black and brown and beige and cream colored face fills us with joy and hope.

If we were paying more attention, we’d see that we are not the only ones noticing the new faces. They are noticing, too, and some do not seem quite so thrilled. We’d see a few of them are doing some internal calculations, more complicated than rocket science. How many is good for a little added flavor and how many will be too spicy? Where will be the tipping point that will make private school or putting a house on the market come up on the good side of the loss-gain column?

But we do not notice them. We are too happy about the rainbow.

It is going to be a great school year.


  1. “Also Sprach Zarathustra” always makes me think of 2001 – the movie written by Anthony Burgess and Stanley Kubrick!
    Thanks for stopping by and sharing my memories of being at Woodstock:

    Comment by Pop Art Diva — August 14, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

  2. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, a looking glass of sorts. I remember my son saying my teacher is just like me – she was just really tanned that early in the school year. I’ve given up believing same faith or same culture implies anything about how we treat people or how we are treated, but I’m smiling. This year more than others I’m looking for those faces and some comfort that there are others who look like us too.

    Comment by Aimee Laramore — August 15, 2009 @ 4:53 pm

  3. PopArtDiva–thanks for your OSF comment. I wish I knew a fast and easy way to put this on the right thread, but do know that I have seen it.

    Aimee, you know your little ones at my kids’ current and future schools is one of my main sources of happiness. I did not express my wish for your switch prior to now because I wanted to be respectful of your and A’s wishes for your own children. But now that you have made the switch I have no qualms about rejoicing aloud in my selfish glee!

    Comment by pprscribe — August 16, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  4. What a heartfelt piece. I could feel it. Here, even when there is a diversity of students, the people at the front of the classroom and in the administrative offices and the superintendent offices are still white … change needs to be more than just among the student body.

    Comment by more cowbell — August 23, 2009 @ 7:06 pm

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