Tag Archives: Segregation

RARE Documentary Looks at School Busing in Seattle

by Jane Harris Nellams

(An earlier version of this article was previously published on the RARE blog and is being updated and reprinted in the Emerald by permission.)

Joe Hunter and Tony Allison are talking about the same things that they talked about 50 years ago — that is, if they talked then at all.

The two former basketball teammates, one Black and one white and cofounders of Roosevelt Alumni for Racial Equity (RARE), agree that not much has changed regarding the racial climate at Roosevelt and they wonder why. So as one of the founding projects of RARE, a group of alumni formed to work against racism in Seattle high schools, they decided to make a documentary about Seattle’s efforts to desegregate the schools.

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My Child of Color Is ‘Highly Capable.’ Now What? — Part 1

by Jasmine M. Pulido

In this first of a three-part series, Jasmine M. Pulido explores Seattle Public School District’s programs for children designated as gifted.

As of May 10, 2021, my 8-year-old daughter became eligible for the Highly Capable Cohort (HCC). This feels unsettling considering that a week prior an article by Seattle’s NAACP Youth Council came out demanding dismantling of the program citing it as racist, segregated, and grossly inequitable.

They’re not the only ones. In 2019 former Garfield High School student Azure Savage, in their book, You Failed Us: Students of Color Talk Seattle Schools, called out the Seattle Public School District (SPS) for its racist practices, including preferential treatment by teachers, racially segregated classrooms, and discipline practices disproportionately applied based on race. Savage goes into great detail to break down their personal experiences from elementary through high school in HCC, interspersing their narrative with quotes from other SPS students of color. Nationwide, the debate about programs like HCC has been under intense criticism, especially in the last couple years, for the exact reasons Savage and the NAACP Youth Council have so clearly outlined in their writing.

As a former student of this same national program, portions of Savage’s text like, “When I look around the classroom and see that I’m the only student of color there, it’s common for me to not try as hard because the possibility of succeeding seems slim,” reminded me of what it was like to be the only student of color in my “seminar” classes. At almost 40 years old, I’m still trying to internally dismantle the ways achieving has been tied to my self-worth.

Continue reading My Child of Color Is ‘Highly Capable.’ Now What? — Part 1

POETRY: Fat Plaits and Ashy Knees

by Kathya Alexander

My Mama say when she a girl and she go to school, 
way back when, sometime back in a whole ‘nother century, 
that only the white children get to ride on the bus.  
Colored children have to walk.  And the white kids pass by and chunk mud rocks at them.  
She say the school that she go to is bout 10 miles each way.  
But every time she tell the story, the school get further and further.  
I done heard this story for so much of my life, 
I could tell it by heart.  I am dusting the floorboards 
in the living room.  And oiling our beautiful old wooden upright piano.  
These the two things that I have to do every Saturday  
along with wringing the clothes from out our new wringer washer 
and hanging them out on the clothesline in the backyard.  
Mama sitting on the couch sewing my new dress for school.  
The television is on filled with black and white images 
of little colored children trying to desegregate schools.

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OPINION: Segregated Seattle — How Our Racist and Exclusionary Past Has Shaped Our Present

by Alycia Ramirez

Looking back through the last five months of current events and daily protests in Seattle, one might think that the wheels have finally come off. However, the truth is that Seattle has a long and deep history of racism, white supremacy, police brutality, and protesting that goes back to the city’s founding. 

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OPINION: So-Called Affordable Housing is Still Out of Reach for Many Seattleites

by Tyler Adamson

Considering the Seattle City Council’s recent conversations on zoning laws, it’s particularly pertinent to dig a little deeper into the topic, especially as it applies to accessibility and the racist and segregatory intent which these laws were originally designed. However, the notion that zoning laws are at the root cause of our disparate housing system is simply short-sighted.

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