Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Slipping back

Today I stopped by the community center where I volunteered last summer. As soon as I walked into the room where the children's after-school program was going on, the supervisor embraced me and had me at the table helping the kids with their homework before I knew it. They were all writing essays on Martin Luther King, Jr. - at least in theory. The boy next to me was occupied in drawing pictures of a bear eating a mouse. "Come on," I asked him a dozen times, "Read the handout and write me something about him."

"I already know about him from school! I don't need to write about him again," he insisted. After some querying he put forth, "Martin Luther King made a law so the black kids and the white kids would go to the same school." I corrected him on the fact but looked around the room and wondered if he realized the irony of the statement. Every single child there was black, and I doubt the local schools are much different. Like other US schools, they're probably more segregated than they were twenty years ago. Slow progress would be easier to stomach than actual regression.

No comments: