Celebrating diversity has become one of the main goals of American schools. Students are being taught to think of themselves primarily as members of different ethnic groups, while being discouraged from developing an American identity.
Consider the case of Mount Diablo High School in Concord, California. Mount Diablo's website states that students will "celebrate diversity by being respectful to all walks of life." In keeping with that ethos, last month the school divided students by ethnicity for separate assemblies.
School officials explained that the purpose of segregating the students was to talk about test scores, recognize achievements and celebrate different cultures. Spanish was presumably spoken at the Hispanic assembly because student Ronald Mares said, "When I went to the assembly, I'm Hispanic, but I don't know how to speak Spanish, so I couldn't connect." Freshman Jason Lockett was disappointed with the African-American assembly, at which the words "Black Power" were projected overhead. "It was to compare us and say how much dumber we were than everybody else," Lockett told the Contra Costa Times.
Mount Diablo is not the only Golden State school to experiment with this sort of segregation. California High School in San Ramon decided to hold pre-test assemblies for only the black and Hispanic students at his school last year. The school asked the students, whom they divided by the race marked in school records, to meet in separate locations during school hours.
The school's principal explained that the meetings were "much like a coach would talk to you before a game. It was all motivational." But the sports analogy is easily refuted by a simple question: Is there a coach alive who would ever dream of separating his players by race before a big game?
The stories listed above are the ones that make headlines, but the battle against assimilation is being waged in schools throughout the country every day and forced segregation is just one of the tactics. Schools in California, Arizona and Colorado have banned the display of American flags and patriotic clothing. The Virginia Beach School Board has created a Diversity Task Force and included diversity as one of its seven strategic goals. (Teaching American values isn't one of the other six.) The Seattle Public Schools stated on its Equity and Race Relations Website that "emphasizing individualism as opposed to a more collective ideology [and] defining one form of English as standard" were all forms of racism.
Principal Hansen of Mount Diablo High says, "In this country, race is a very uncomfortable topic, and it's time we got over it." Until that day, apparently, she'll go right ahead making her students feel uncomfortable by reminding them of the color of their skin in segregated assemblies.