By Livia Carroll
So, in the April 28 Concordy’s Man on the Street—someone said it out loud, “If you just look around at the tables (at lunch) you can see a little segregation by race.” It is always that way in the lunch room and elsewhere on campus. It’s just the way it is. We accept it as normal. It’s the status quo, and it is probably how it will remain.
Here is my two cents. I’m not sure if it’s true, but I think that trying to ‘desegregate’ at the college level is way too late. It can only happen in close neighborhoods and in city public schools with the very young. It cannot happen in the suburbs where everyone runs home at night, shuts themselves in and does all their learning and “interacting with humanity” through electronics. It’s what the suburbs are for. It’s where you can hide. These electronics that we have all become so fond of have trained us to be afraid, and often we are not even sure what it is that we fear. Generally, you are never forced to deal with your neighbors. If and when you do choose to, you invariably are interacting with people who look pretty much like you do. How and why anyone expects young people to just automatically begin interacting and desegregating just because they arrive at college is a real mystery to me.
You want kids to communicate better and interact more with all kinds of people? Then move back to the city. Everyone would gain from the experience. Cities would be revitalized with the return of a well-educated citizenry and all public facilities—especially public schools—would get the attention that they have been missing since the end of WWII when all the funding followed white folks to the suburbs. It would even be enormously beneficial to the environment. Interacting with humanity would be accomplished by just stepping out on your stoop and engaging in conversation with your neighbors. The suburbs could be returned to what they once were: empty open spaces, and healthy farm land.
Until we do this, you can forgetaboutit. Lunch rooms on all school campus will remain just as they are now. Who knows, perhaps it is all very deliberate.