Behavior starts at home
My parents served a combined total of 42 years in the army, and I moved with them everywhere they went: 30 moves, 14 schools. Eighteen years of being a military dependent will open a person's eyes and mind; you begin to think outside of yourself. I've lived with multiple nationalities, ranging from high-class to the inner city. My short stays allowed me to become more of an observer than a participant. I noticed a trend every placed I lived: the desire to fit in. When a person mimics another individual's behavior, it's a strong indication the mime favors the person they are copying and hopes to keep up the behavior within their self. Even though it is not the obligation to be a good example to a complete stranger, it seems to be carried out without effort; it's naturally executed.
This brings me to the parents of the white children who view the attendance of inner-city youth with their own kids in a negative light ("Separate. Equal?" Aug. 28). One of the statements in the article said, "Middle-income families don't want their kids to be exposed to poor kids or adopt behavioral qualities or characteristics from poor kids." I read this to say that a white parent did not want her child exposed to the black children out of fear that their tainted behavior would spoil her incredibly perfect, lily-white child.
I must tell you: The white parent who believes their child will be spoiled by the mere presence of a black child from a low-income environment needs to look no further than their own self for the unwanted behavior.
The decision to keep these children away from a better education is an insult to the parents who are trying to give their child a better life. I don't know why or how the parents ended up on that side of town, but it's certainly not the fault of the child. If there are better opportunities for the young student, why keep them hidden? Agreeing to keep non-whites out of predominately white environments promotes a desire to sustain the idea that non-whites are not equally important. If this school board cared about honest research, they would have come across a little gem titled Man's Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race by Ashley Montagu. Inside is the conclusion of years of research that go against the widespread panic of racism. The author makes a clear conclusion: There is no relation of a person's race to the level of a person's intellect; it simply does not exist.
There is, however, a relation of a person's environment to their level of self-esteem. It only requires common sense to acknowledge that a loving and caring environment begets a nurtured individual who will begin to see their own self-worth.
I applaud the parents who are sending their kids to a school that has a better environment: It shows how much they value their child. As for the students who share the classroom, they will not be harmed in any way. There isn't any proof that a student on welfare has caused damages, subtle or significant, to a child who grew up in a stable home. Their grades do not go lower and their behavior does not become undesirable due to other children in the room. In most cases, a child's grade is lowered due to circumstances at home, not in school.
I disagree with keeping innocent children in unsatisfactory conditions, considering there is help available. This help is not in the form of an iPod, a flat-screen TV or lots of junk food; instead, it's an opportunity for success, and I would like to see the continuation of this success.
Sheree Monay Wiley
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