I saw this growing up with kids in private high schools who had never been to public school. They really thought public school kids spent their days drinking paint before inevitably heading off to juvenile hall for an extended stay. This is a slight exaggeration, of course, but if the base assumption is that your private school is better, and some of your classmates aren’t exactly perfect, then Those Other Kids must be soooooo bad.
So imagine my surprise when, thanks to the Facebook page for an upcoming high school reunion, I learned the school is getting a new $5.7 million stadium. The stadium will have artificial grass and a new track for WIAA events. The report I saw didn’t mention metal detectors, but it would be a good idea.
The new stadium is part of an $11 million improvement in athletic facilities for Milwaukee Public Schools (MPS), presumably so the little convicts can have the best facilities before being sent to the penitentiary.
I went to a Catholic college-prep high school, after 8 years of Catholic elementary. I did this because my family was Catholic, and religious schooling was important to my not-rich parents and grandparents. And a hell of a lot of my fellow students did the same because their families were wealthy, and the Catholic schools were predominantly white.
This isn’t unusual. The Catholic Church in America benefitted immensely from the fears of white-flight parents who didn’t want their children attending segregated schools after Brown v. Board. These were the days before anyone with a haircut and a handshake could open a charter school. Holy Mother Church offered a network of private schools, already in existence, segregated by income rather than by law. Sign us up, suburban parents said, and their kids followed suit with their children.
And the propaganda they subjected themselves to was that all the city schools were horrific shitholes where you’d as likely be shanked by a gang member as take a math test. Poor kids went to those schools. Nobody ever flat-out said black and Hispanic kids went there, but the implication was pretty clear: public schools were for trash. OUR education was superior.
I dated a boy, late in high school, who went to a public school. He was a sweet kid who wasn’t unintelligent, but the way people reacted, you’d have thought he was a knuckle-dragging thug unqualified to work in a car-theft chop shop.
That’s the mindset the blogger quoted second up there, talking about Milwaukee Public Schools, is parroting. Poor kids, kids of color, can’t be educated, they’re just future criminals and should be treated as such. Of course, since they should just be warehoused until juvie can take over, we don’t need to adequately fund them or treat them like they matter at all.
And then we can hold ourselves above them, and pretend our drinking and rapey escapades are sophisticated fun because we go to the finest academies and learn from the best teachers in the cleanest buildings. As if it’s a law of nature and money and will had nothing to do with it at all.
For such people, people like Kavanaugh, of course it comes as a shock that not everybody thinks he’s hot shit just because he went to Yale. He’s been sequestered away from THOSE PEOPLE his entire life, and now he has to answer to them. To us. To all of us.