May 12th, 2012

Black Advanced Learner Struggles to Fit in with Her Peers

An article titled “‘Why Don’t We Have Any White Kids?’”, by N. R. Kleinfield, takes an in-depth look at the trend toward resegregation in the public school systems of cities across the US, despite efforts to counter it.  The author interviews an advanced middle-school student who struggles to fit in with her peer group.

Here’s an excerpt:

“It’s a bit weird,” Amiyah said of the school’s racial composition. “All my friends are predominantly black, and all the teachers are predominantly white. I think white kids go to different schools. I don’t know. I haven’t seen many white people in a big space before.”

Would it be better if it were integrated?

“I think they would stop calling me white girl if there were white kids,” she said. “Because my skin is a little lighter and I can’t dance, they call me that. Some of them can’t dance, either.”

What else?

“I could talk the way I talk.”

Other students speak street slang that she repudiates: “They will say to me, ‘You are so white.’ I tell them, I have two black parents. Do I look white?”

She had been having trouble making friends. This year, her mother noticed a speech change. “She’s slacking off more to fit in,” Ms. Kingston said. “She’s saying: ‘I been there.’ ‘I done that.’ ”

Amiyah confirmed this: “I speak a bit more freelance with my friends. Not full sentences. I don’t use big words. They hate it when I do that.”

She said she had become more popular.

The complete article is here.

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