The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Rights of an American include equal education

The American stance on education today seems to be a huge stage and we are great actors. Our politicians have nice and neat little platforms on education and we make it seem like our schools are so important to us but really, on a day-to-day, show-me-the-money level, we simply don’t care.

We all know education is, in most cases, the key to success, yet the dynamics of quality education is not something that is evenly distributed. Those that have gone to a decent high school have a better chance of getting into a university and those who have gone to a decent university have a better chance of getting a decent job.

For many of us, high school education is just no big deal. Either we lived in nice neighborhoods where the public school was pretty good or our parents sent us to private schools. Either way, we had the ability to apply for almost any school we wanted because of our education.

But the truth is that not everyone can afford to live in a nice district or pay for a nice, private school and so we force some kids into a certain socio-economic pattern.

Many kids that are bright and driven, when placed in a poor, urban community with pathetic schools, never have a shot at making it. Our equal education stance is a hoax.

Perhaps, these kids didn’t have parents who would pay for college or teachers who loved them and encouraged and believed in them. They didn’t have homes they could sleep comfortably in at night whether it be for fear of abuse or simply because there was a leak in the roof.

Maybe they didn’t do so well in school because they were worried about how they were going to make rent as a 14-year-old or maybe they were just listening to their stomach growl. And we expected them to go out and make something of themselves?

Get real.

We should be outraged to see the campuses of schools in poor, working class districts rundown and overcrowded and we should be even more floored to know that most of these students are minorities. How can this be? In a country where we have fought so hard for civil rights and desegregation, how can a kid’s race, location and quality of education be so closely correlated?

There are obviously many reasons that minorities so often are financially challenged and still more reasons why many groups of minorities tend to live in the same areas, but why should this have any connection whatsoever to the quality of education the child receives? The question is really, does the school have a low quality of education because the community is poor or does the school have a low quality of education because the community is black?

Yet we close our eyes to indications of racism and wonder why there is so much hostility between different ethnic groups when really, to everyone except us, it is obvious.

Many white people feel that the plight of the underprivileged minority is not our fault. We didn’t enslave a group of people. We didn’t group them all together in bad neighborhoods. We didn’t commit hate crimes. Why do so many of them hate us?

What so many people fail to recognize is that we are, as white people, in many cases, more privileged because we are white. This does not just mean that we are privileged and minorities are not. This means that because we are privileged, minorities are underprivileged. This is not at all to say that every person of a minority is underprivileged or uneducated, just that many-even if they had the IQ of Einstein-would not be given the opportunity to succeed.

There is obviously no easy answer here. So many of us have distanced ourselves from each other so much that we cannot relate to one another. We don’t know one another. And we don’t care. We have built the middle and upper-class neighborhoods and schools by cutting the budgets of the inner city schools. We have built our four-bedroom homes by cutting the pay of the workers willing to build them. And then we claim that we ourselves are not the oppressors.

Thus far, we as the majority white population, have separated ourselves from the inner city. If we can afford it, why would we want to live near dilapidated housing and high-crime areas? We don’t. So, we move to our nice, comfortable homes and forget about the plight of our fellow man that wasn’t given the same chance.

It is imperative that we begin to make steps to eradicate social segregation because only when we know, respect and love one another on an everyday, down-to-earth, neighbor-to-neighbor level can we fully recognize each other as equals.

There are reasons many people don’t want to live in certain areas. But isn’t there even more reason to put our money where our mouth is? If public education really is that important to us, why don’t we send our kids to the inner-city schools? If equality really is that important to us, why don’t we live in diverse neighborhoods? If we really care, why are we so blind to those who aren’t like us?

The answer is because we don’t really understand. Many of us think that we are “too good” for poor neighborhoods and we have so far removed ourselves from that which makes us feel uncomfortable that we don’t ever see the whole picture.

The only way to see the whole picture is to live amongst each other regardless of how uncomfortable it may make many of us feel. Because only after we’ve faced our discomfort will we be comfortable. And only after we’ve become comfortable, will we become wholly desegregated. And only after we’ve become desegregated, will we become equal.

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