By: Isabella Carson
Racism in school is still very much an issue. There are some schools that still appear to segregate their students. One private school in New York City is launching a new program that separates the kids in third, fourth, and fifth grade classrooms and groups them together by race. While this sounds like a horrible program, it is actually an unconventional way to teach the students about racism.
Fieldston Lower School has developed a program where they take the students in these grades and the group them all together by race. They call them “affinity groups”. While the students are in these groups with others who are the same race as them they talk about their culture and what they understand to be true about their race. Once they have talked amongst their groups all of the students are brought back together. They discuss the points that they have come up with about their race to teach the other children about the diversity that every one of them brings to the table.
After the discussions about the different cultures that make up the student body they come up with solutions on how to make they can create a more diverse environment and be understanding of everyone’s different background. It is a very unconventional method but it seems to work well. Some say that it looks like they are segregating the students when they are doing this but Raising Race Conscious Children blogger Sachi Ferris says that this is a very important step in ridding the schools of racism. Ferris, who is white, states that this program is especially good for white children. They have a chance to look through the eyes of their black counterparts and see how racism affects them every day. Ferris also says that it gives white students a better understanding of how many more opportunities their race affords them.
While there are many critics to this approach it is helpful for the students to be broken apart into affinity groups and then put back together. It gives them a much bigger picture of the world around them and how the color of someone’s skin can truly affect their lives. Hopefully it encourages the children to make our future more diverse and tolerant.