Dumb and Dumber, The High School Years
I've been trying to make sense of this story about my former high school, and it's current Principal, Nathaniel Rouse. He held an assembly called "Black Lives Matter" to cap off Black History Month.
The dialogue was to include a discussion of race relations, and how it feels to be a black student in society. I was intrigued by the frank topic, and thought he may have been on to something. No white students (or for that matter, students of other races) were allowed in the assembly. I didn't quite understand that, but I read that Mr. Rouse said the decision to allow only black students was based on an idea known as affinity grouping, according to an article in the Washington Times. Affinity grouping allows students to speak more freely in an atmosphere where people of other races aren't present. So now I understand his reasoning, but I find this idea without merit. In my experience the only real progress comes from critical thinking and evaluation of any idea from many perspectives to reach an understanding. So while Affinity Grouping participation may be initially more robust, the conclusions remain untested, and therefore just kind of lay there. Picture the difference between bitching to your co-workers about stuff in the lunch room, and conversing about an issue with a different department. Only through communication will progress ever get made. Rouse, by excluding any students from this assembly, prevented the kind of real change-inducing dialogue from taking place, and possibly added to an antagonistic atmosphere he was hoping to dilute.
His plan includes (Or may have been changed to include, probably after the reaction to this assembly, and some immediate reflection) similar assemblies that will also exclude other races from attending. More of the same exclusion here will not help.
It's my opinion that putting any color before the words, "Lives Matter," is an isolationist way of thinking. Perhaps it's time for our school leaders, and all of us, to start believing that ALL lives matter. That's an assembly I would like to see.