#UpbeatAuthors: Tolerance & Stereotypes

My children attended an “inner city” high school I don’t think they ever thought of it in that light, though, unless the media made a big deal about school performance. They’re both proud alumni. They were active in band, chorus, drama, National Art Honor Society. Both got into good colleges with no problems. There were advanced placement classes available–maybe not as many as in some of the wealthier suburban districts, but some.

They attended religious education with students from some of those wealthier suburban districts and were stunned when they were asked, “Aren’t you afraid? Don’t your school mates come to school with weapons?”

“Where did they come up with that?” X-Chromo asked.

Stereotype. Inner-city school with minority students = danger.

I was working in local TV at the time and was part of a committee that decided which Public Service Announcements (PSA) would air on our station.  This was not long after Columbine. There had been a few other school shootings. One organization sent us a PSA deploring gun violence. The problem with the spot was that all the “students” with guns were black. The assistant news director–who happened to be a black man–and I both immediately vetoed the spot. For the same reason. The people who put the spot together used stereotypes to scare people, when in fact every school shooting at that point had been done by white kids.   After vetoing the spot, I went on to list a bunch of local situations in schools that had all been perpetrated by white students.

I am glad my children grew up in a multi-cultural environment. Their friends are of many races, colors, religious backgrounds, and sexual orientations. They’ve moved beyond tolerance and even past acceptance, to normal.