Black Hair and White Racism

Comments

1
Some really distasteful things are about to be said here, Charles, so allow me to send a non-physical internet hug to you in advance.
2
The teacher sounds like a bitch. You should smack her in the face with a doll.
3
I'm with you, man. I think it's easy to think about these things ironically/theoretically/philosophically (cough, cough, Rand Paul) when you don't have to confront issues of race and identity every day. There's also this odd knee jerk thing from the right where they seem to resent when people point these things out.

One quibble though: are you sure there are Advanced Placement classes in elementary school?
4
Well stated Charles, but sadly I agree with Baconcat 'cause here comes the racist shitstorm... (though I have my fingers crossed that folks will see the truth and tragedy in your daughter's situation). Peace.
5
Have you considered the possibility that something in her hair was making the teacher feel sick? There is a not-so-small possibility that your oversensitivity about race is making you jump to the 'victim of racial discrimination' conclusion when you could just accept the easiest explanation...

If you really think this is a case of discrimination based on your daughter's race, make a BIG stink out of it with the schoolboard. Don't just toss out accusations on a blog in an effort to make people forgive your bad thought process on another article.

If you expect to be discriminated against, you'll start seeing discrimination everywhere...
6
Holy shit. Agree with #2. Smack her.
7
That's terrible, Charles. I'm shocked that her teacher handled the situation in a manner practically designed to cause shame and embarrassment.. I hope the situation can be resolved in a way that leaves your daughter with good memories and a story to tell. Please let us know how it works out.
8
So... does your daughter use a hair product that has an odor? Acknowledging that most people use scented shampoo of some kind, is it possible that (and I use this as an example -- I obviously have no idea if your daughter uses this stuff) a hair-straightening chemical actually has a different effect on someone with chemical sensitivities than, say, Head and Shoulders? Would that necessarily impute race, qua race?

If it was the hair product then, actually, white people do have to put up with shit like that. Two co-workers of mine, both white, had a running battle for two years about the fact that one of them had extreme chemical sensitivity and the other one was from Texas, and felt it was her constitutional right to wear tons of perfume and hair spray.
9
Amen, Charles.
10
was this in a seattle public school charles?
11
@10, yes. seattle public school.
12
I'm assuming you've contacted the school principal and the superintendants office about this? There are appropriate ways to handle a teacher's allergy issues --- and this was not the way. An apology and and a Teachable Moment where the teacher tells the class she made a mistake and that one person's allergies do not take precedence over another's civils rights..
I'd make this a BIG DEAL in the teachers face, now.
13
@5, it is impossible to separate the issue of hair and race in this situation. For African American women especially, the differences between their hair and caucasian hair are a constant reminder to them of racial disparity. In any case, the teacher should have handled the situation differently. What she did probably traumatized that little girl in a way that she will remember for the rest of her life. Though, this sort of thing will probably happen to her again and again, which is the point Charles is making.
14
Psycho teacher, racist teacher. If we assume it's unavoidable that people be subjected to this sort of treatment, we can at least hope with fairy dust and sparkles that they won't have to deal with it at age 8. Very sad at any age, but esp. so young.

But the first post about asian girl with the blonde doll missed the larger point dramatically, as did many of the comments. Yes, your post came across as callous, and many people pointed that out. But Charles. You who so often rail about class and authoritative economic structures. Charles. It's a homeless, abandoned child. What the hell sort of resources do you think she or her now-absent parents have for picking out a doll? She probably got this free in the gutter or from a neighbor or from a church toy bin or her parents got it for 1 buck at goodwill before disappearing. What do you expect of her or her parents? What planet do these expectations come from? How did you totally miss the poverty issues at work here? And pick your battles man. The race politics of self-identity, externally-imposed self-worth, and societal perception are important, potent things. But do this in a separate post. Not from a news story about an abandoned impoverished child with no parents and no resources to choose her toys. Just wish her well, decry the state of the world, blame the banks, and move on.
15
I haven't read the post about the doll. But this post about your daghetr's dimwitted teacher really steams me.
16
Oh jeez. Yup, that was a really crap thing to happen to your kid, and I hope you come down on her teacher like a ton of bricks. FWIW, we all have our filters. Yours is race. Mine is gender, followed by class. So you saw the Asian girl with a white doll and thought of all the ramifications that came from that. I saw a girl with a scruffy toy who was likely too poor to have had a choice in what toys she got. I like the way you always go for the meta/macro jugular, but sometimes we can get to different places using similar tools. Hope your kid feels ok.
17
Charles, does your daughter use a hair product that would explain this situation? Or are you just going to pretend, for the purposes of this post, that that's not a possibility?
18
It's all about race, all the time....it's all about race, all the time....it's all about race, all the time....it's all about race, all the time....it's all about race, all the time....it's all about race, all the time....it's all about race, all the time....it's all about race, all the time....it's all about race, all the time....

Any other voices in your head Charles?
19
"happens" to be? are you accusing your daughter's elementary school of bias against high-achieving african kids? "AP" placement (an 8-year old is in 2nd grade, right?) is theoretically supposed to have a basis in achievement. so, the african kids test in but aren't allowed, or the african kids can't test in because of the inherent racism of the test?

please explain.
20
BTW, the reason that Asian girl had a white doll, rather than a black doll?

Asians in the US/Canada would rather be associated with whites than blacks. Simple fact. Just look at all the Cambodians in jail.
21
Of course he didn't take it up with the school, he knows this is bullshit masking as a grievance.
22
@17, you can't see already that if a hair product was the problem that teacher could have brought it with the parents, made the parents aware of the her difficulties?
23
@13, I agree with you. The teacher could have handled it better. But if Charles believes that a public school teacher intentionally singled out a child based on race and had her removed from class, then he shouldn't be blogging about it. He should be on the phone with his lawyer.

But if this isn't about race, and is instead about a hair product making a teacher feel nauseous, then what?

Seriously, Charles, if you think this is about race, then name the teacher in a lawsuit. Put your money where your mouth is and risk a libel countersuit.

Otherwise, this looks like nothing more than a boy who cried wolf trying to distract people from a string of poorly thought out posts on race.
24
I am originally from a southern city. I find the attitudes of Seattlites toward race to be very strange. In southern cities, you are forced to confront the issue of race all of the time. Here, people are able to push it out of their minds. Most whites believe it simply does not exist here. "Seattle is different."

Then I ask, why are there so few blacks in N. Seattle? Apparently many do not know the legal history of this city. I also cannot help notice the way white businesses charge much higher prices than similar Asian-owned businesses. When you ask, you begin to hear stories about why minority business owners had to leave their corporate jobs because further advancement became unlikely.

Make no mistake. Racism is here. It just exists in a much more subtle, taken-for-granted form.
25
Since you find living around Whites and the civilization that Whites created to be so oppressive, Charles, perhaps you might be a lot happier living in some black-run paradise like Zimbabwe, South Africa (world's #1 rape and murder rate), or Haiti.

Oh yeah, and black males (less than 3% of Seattle) commit half the murders in Seattle every year! 14 of 28 in 2008 and 12 of 21 in 2009. Most of their victims were also black. At least 94% of the roughly 8000 blacks killed in the USA every year are killed by another black.

White racists like me have absolutely no need to oppress blacks or to "keep them down". They do an awesome job of that all by themselves!
26
"he shouldn't be blogging about it. He should be on the phone with his lawyer."

Maybe even his lawyer has a good bullshit detector?

"In southern cities, you are forced to confront the issue of race all of the time"

That's may also explain why Seattle has so little crime and murder compared to, say, Baltimore.

"why are there so few blacks in N. Seattle?"

To help us stay liberal! Have too many urban blacks here an you can kiss northside liberalism good bye.
27
"why are there so few blacks in N. Seattle? "

Cuz it's hard to stay liberal when you get your shit stolen all the time.
28
I just checked, and the Stuff White People Like website does not yet have an entry for "Chemical Hypersensitivities". I should suggest it to the author.

The teacher was a bitch for singling out and removing your daughter in the least tactful way possible.
29
I do know that racism is a huge issue, however, not everything is always about race, and sometimes the quick accusation of racism creates problems where previously they did not exist.
I once had a child who came to school wearing some kind of cologne that caused me to have 2 asthma attacks in the space of 30 minutes. I sent him out of the room and opened the windows before I passed out. When I had used my inhaler several times and could breathe normally again, I went out into the hall to tell him to go to the bathroom and wash himself everyplace he had put the cologne. When he returned, the scent was still pretty strong (it had gotten on his clothes), and I had yet another asthma attack. I sent him to the nurse to get some different clothes; both parents worked and it would take too long for one of them to leave work, come get him, let him change, then bring him back. We talked later and he agreed never to wear that cologne again while in my class (and that 3rd graders really didn't need to wear cologne). He was fine with that, and even apologized for wearing it.

That afternoon when kids were dismissed, and before I'd had a chance to call home, mom showed up screaming at me because I'd humiliated her child by sending him out of the room and making him wash up and having him wear someone else's clothes and that I was a racist and I wouldn't have done this to a white child.
Did I mention the child was part Latino/part Native American? No, because that wasn't the issue; the cologne was. The child knew this, but the mother could not see it. Afterwards, the mother proceeded to fill her child's head full of all of the ways I was a racist, and totally destroyed the good teacher/student relationship I had with this child. She demanded that he be moved to a new classroom, threatened to sue the district, and I had to undergo "racial sensitivity training".
My boyfriend of 4 1/2 years - a black man, go figure - even tried to speak to the parent, the superintendent, and other district administrators about this farce, but was dismissed. I was given a letter of reprimand for my file, and finally had to move schools because parental rumors had me pegged as a racist.
So forgive me my skepticism, but I'm willing to bet there is more to the story. If not, then I am sorry this teacher has done this to your daughter and hope the teacher is reprimanded appropriately and that you and your daughter have a long talk about the issues of race, white privilege, narrow minds, and expectations.
30
" I had to undergo "racial sensitivity training".

I love seeing liberals getting bit by their own dogs.
31
"why are there so few blacks in N. Seattle? "

Because there's only so many cute Haitian babies with French names you can adopt.
32
Blacks secrete way more apocrine, the substance of BO stink. That's why blacks naturally smell bad. That is why they marinate themselves with crap perfumes and coco butter and smellygood shit.
33
Hair relaxing chemicals do smell, although I can't say that I've ever felt sick because of them, and I'm damn sensitive to chemicals.

The teacher is likely one of those lunatics who freak if you're wearing unscented deodorant and pretend to pass out over it.
34
And that better be such a small class that the teacher couldn't simply stand at a reasonable distance from your daughter. Even in the worst cases, I can only smell hair relaxant if I'm standing right next to the person.
35
Charles. I am so sorry that happened to your daughter.

#3, #19, the program that this happened in is (I'm assuming) Seattle Public Schools's Accelerated Progress Program, and it is indeed for grades 1-8. And there sounds to be in an inherent problem with the program in that, in Charles' daughter's class at least, it still looks to reflect the city's massive, historically based problems of structural class and race discrimination.

What I mean by this is that enrollment in the program is (if I remember right) contingent on a parent's ability and willingness to have their child go through a battery of testing to prove that their "cognitive ability" is in the 98th/99th percentile, and the 95th percentile range or above in both reading and math achievement. These are things that middle- and upper-middle-class parents are significantly more likely to have the awareness, social support, time, and resources to pursue on behalf of their kids.

My lone year in Seattle Public Schools, in first grade some 25+ years ago, was spent in the APP program. And my memory of the class (then at Madrona Elementary) was of a small island of (most likely middle-class) white kids and a few Asian kids--segregated out from a school with a large percentage of African American kids. Even I, a white kid already learning the lessons of being part of a privileged majority that doesn't ever have to experience life through the lens of race and racism, was aware at the time that there was something fucked up about the situation. And from my memories of getting shoved in the halls I wonder if a lot of the other kids were aware, as well.
36
I'm sorry for your daughter, Charles, but it is momentarily amusing to see the troll hemorrhage out even more of its splintered personalities and crackpot theories than usual.
37
No question that if this went down the way you describe it, regardless of whether it was racism or allergy, that teacher handled the situation extremely poorly. Maybe you should bring this to the attention of the school board. If it was racism she should be fired. If it was simple allergy someone still needs to talk to her about how to handle these situations better in the future.

Given your past posts I'm going to give the benefit of the doubt to the teacher and say this was an extremely insensitive way of dealing with the problem of a kid using a product that made the teacher feel ill. You should probably start by talking to the teacher, explaining how her actions appeared to you and talking with her to see if she's got any allergies or sensitivities. If you could solve this problem by simply giving your daughter different hair products you come out looking like the rational party instead of the hypersensitive blogger seeing racism under every bed in America.
38
@22

Charles, your imputation of racism implies the condition precedent that the teacher would not have treated an Anglo child the same way he or she treated your daughter. Possible motives for the teacher's forbearance would be (1) concern for the well being of the child and (2) fear of the parents/possible disciplinary action. The first motive is a matter of the personal idiosyncrasies of the teacher and, within certain limits, is outside the scope of inquiry for institutional racism; teachers dislike and mistreat children for a wide variety of reasons that may have nothing to do with race. This leaves the second motive.

In order for the teacher's treatment of your daughter to be different than the teacher's treatment of an Anglo student under similar circumstances, and therefore quantifiably racist, the teacher's fear of consequences for general rudeness would have to be greater than the teacher's fear of consequences for an action with obvious connotations of racism, which seems unlikely. The alternative would be that the teacher is simply unaware of his or her racist conduct but, having taken the ethnic awareness course mandated for teacher certification in Washington State, I can say that such a lack of awareness is unlikely.
40
THIS IS RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS.
41
Wow, @1 was right. I posted to berate Charles on being obtuse on the immediate, micro (as opposed to macro, long serving systems) economic issues with the doll post, but the shit people are posting here...my god.

It's cowardly to post hateful bile under a pseudonym on the internet--that's an obvious statement of an accepted norm; we all do it to some degree. But all these unregistered users? not only is their bile off the chart, but to post it under unregistered names is a double dosing of cowardice. The incredible and shocking amount of overt racism is so deeply sickening and pathetic. And it takes all the fun out of poking charles in the same thread.

My only doubt about Darwin: these people should fit the standard of "too stupid to breed", yet I bet they manage it just fine. Then they can commit child abuse by suffocating the grubs with their world views. I've met feces with more character.
42
Actually I think the biggest indicator of success in African American communities is whether or not you name your first name starts with D'-something or De-something.

You want to hear people who really hate African AMericans in the US? Talk to some real African immigrants. Ask a Somali or Ethiopian how they feel being called 'black'.
43
"The incredible and shocking amount of overt racism is so deeply sickening and pathetic"

LMAO, ask a Somali parent what they think of African-Americans.
44
@41 blah blah blah whine whine whine.

Black males still commit half the murders in Seattle even though black males are less than three percent of Seattle. Blacks also secrete more apocrine, which makes them stink. Those are the facts. Evolution means that there is no equality, anywhere.
45
These are things that middle- and upper-middle-class parents are significantly more likely to have the awareness, social support, time, and resources to pursue on behalf of their kids.


Middle- and upper-class kids are also more likely to test higher, not necessarily out of innate intelligence, but because they've had greater/better exposure to reading and mathematics.

And from my memories of getting shoved in the halls I wonder if a lot of the other kids were aware, as well.


Or those kids were just bullies and considered a white girl an easy target.
46
@41,

There's nothing about Darwin's theory of natural selection that says stupid people can't/shouldn't be able to breed.
47
"These are things that middle- and upper-middle-class parents are significantly more likely to have the awareness, social support, time, and resources to pursue on behalf of their kids."

As opposed to spending all our time sitting on the stoop, splitting sun flower seeds and yelling at the 4 kids we had with 5 different fathers while playing video games all day and partying all night?

I think the biggest indicator of success in life is your ability to unwrap a condom and slide it over a cock.

Tough, I know, but I'm pretty sure you can train a circus monkey to do it.
48
Most of the anonymous comments on this thread are stupid or racist or both. However, if anybody has anonymous comments filtered out automatically, go back and read #29. For the people who have been saying that the teacher handled the situation in the worst way possible, what do you think of #29's experience? Were there better alternatives?

(I have no idea who #29 is, can't vouch for them, I know exactly as much about them as is given in the comment, etc. Just saying, it's worth the thirty seconds it takes to read.)
49
@48

The story @29 seems a little too on-point, but not really beyond the realm of possibility.
50
@23, I don't think Charles is claiming that his daughter was singled-out because of her race as you describe it. The issue is that the teacher handled the situation in a manner completely ignorant of the racial implications of her actions. His daughter is already the only black child in her class, which alone is isolating, and she is likely already self-conscious about her hair being different. She was singled out in front of everyone, shamed for a racially-defined trait, and moved to a room that had more black kids in it. The _effect_ of her actions is what's important here. This is about ignorance and awareness, not litigation potential.
51
" but not really beyond the realm of possibility."

Impossible! Only accusations of racism towards white people can be taken without any doubt or questioning!!

Any other accusations of racism towards non-blacks are only in the 'the realm of possibility'.
52
The issue is that the teacher handled the situation in a manner completely ignorant of the racial implications of her actions.


So, the best way to deal with racism is to make sure that all white people think about it all the time and that their actions are always reviewable for possible racist interpretation even in the complete absence of intent?

Yeah, no.
53
@35 & @45

I was in the APP program all the way through elementary and middle schools and I agree with your assessment. But it wasn't just black kids bullying white kids for sport; there were serious racial issues and class issues simmering beneath the surface that we as children might not have been able to speak about but understood nonetheless. I mean, shit was pretty obvious. The relatively wealthy white kids in the "advanced" classes, the relatively poor black kids in the "regular" classes. Not all that different from how it goes down in our broader society, but we had the advantage--in terms of apprehending the truth--of seeing the drama play out right in front of our eyes.
54
@50, that is exactly what Charles is suggesting. Not only that, but he titled the entry, 'white racism.' He unequivocally called the teacher a racist.

I totally agree that the teacher could have found a better solution to the problem, but, seriously, Charles needs to find another way to phrase this. Shouting 'racism' isn't really the right move on his part.

I really recommend he follows through on this one. Make your charge of racism official, Charles, or retract it. 'Ignorance of racial implications' alone isn't racism, and that seems to be what this is boiling down to.

Someone thought the smell of your daughter's hair was too overpowering, and you, being far to quick to see racism everywhere, assumed this teacher was a racist without much further evidence than that. This isn't good for you, the teacher, and especially not your daughter.
55
Judah, you're tripping. The best way to "deal with racism" is to remember that race exists (in the sense that race has implications for individuals within society), and to behave sensitively, sensibly, and responsibly in light of that fact. Pretending shit doesn't exist is a recipe for disaster.
56
@55

How is your recommended course of action materially different from the one I described?
57
@48, I am normally a registered commenter, not a troll (and yes, their comments are despicable, but predictable), however I am not on my own machine at the moment and using a guest account and every time I try to log in to anything (even my e-mail), I get a keychain issue that then demands an administrator password that I don't know.
Personally, I would love to know how else I should/could have handled it, given that I could have easily died from an asthma attack had I not had my inhaler handy.
I freely admit racism is alive and well - even in schools in supposedly enlightened Washington - but not every case like this is about race, thus I would like to hear the other side of the story. Ironically, there was a racist teacher in the grade above me whom I always made sure not to give some of my minority kids to, yet I was the one accused of racism...
58
@52 my assertion does not imply that solution. Awareness of race and its place in society does not require that we "think about it all the time," as you so glibly put it. But I do believe that I am responsible for the effects of my actions when they cause harm, even if I did not intend that harm.

Racially insensitive acts performed by those who perceive themselves to be racially neutral are a real problem, one that is impossible to address until those responsible are willing to admit that they are not as racially neutral as they think.

59
@54, racism is not inherently malicious. Racism can be implicit. Look up "microaggression."
60
Racially insensitive acts performed by those who perceive themselves to be racially neutral are a real problem, one that is impossible to address until those responsible are willing to admit that they are not as racially neutral as they think.

I think most people are willing to admit that they are not as racially neutral as they think if you can provide them with some kind of empirical data to support that assertion. Otherwise you're basically asking them to substitute your judgment for theirs on the question of their conduct, which is a completely unreasonable demand.

But I do believe that I am responsible for the effects of my actions when they cause harm, even if I did not intend that harm.

I'm reasonably confident that this isn't true. Maybe it is, but I doubt it. For example: are you responsible for the effects of your actions on religious adherents whose cultural biases would require you to alter your conduct? Most Stranger readers would say no, and probably rightly so. If I wanted to spend time on it I could probably think of more examples.
61
@59

Microaggression, to the extent that it exists, exists universally and extends well beyond race. Every subtle clue about who a person is can trigger a microaggressive response -- accent, clothing style, posture, height, class markers, religious markers, place context (law officer versus gym), etc.
62
"microaggression" = whiny blacks desperately searching for anything, no matter how trivial, insignificant, or evev nonexistent, that they can use to shriek "racism" at whites.
63
Charles,
Regrets all around to the distress this has caused you and your daughter. It is at best insensitive and at worst racist behavior on the teacher's part. We may never know exactly. It has been suggested to bring the issue/incident up to the school board and see what happens. Let's hope it doesn't happen again. Both you and your daughter, stay strong.

BTW, speaking of dolls, I read this piece by Leonard Pitts yesterday:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/ed…

I understand your grievance.
64
Charles, I am very saddened to hear what happened to your daughter. Whether from racism, or just bad reaction/decision on the part of the teacher, it truly is abhorent and I hope it is resolved. Please keep us updated.

My experience with AP classes in elementary school was as follows:

All kids are required to take a placement test for math and language. They scored the test for several different indicators (reading, comprehension, math equations, etc). Everyone had to take this test, and I think they did it every year or every other year. Depending on what you scored AND/OR a recommendation from your teacher (for kids who test poorly), you could be placed in an Advanced Class that met twice a week.

It seems weird that in Seattle you have to request for your child to take that test (or tests) in order for APP placement. How does that even work? Do they have to pay extra for it? Why not test everyone, and go from there? That way you get the maximum amount of people placed correctly.

65
@52,

Yeah, it's so unreasonable to expect teachers to know what the fuck they're doing so as not to humiliate minority kids or let white kids think that racist behavior (whether intentional or not) is okay.

Christ, you are such a fucking douche.
66
@63, why are you a nice conservative? it make it hard for us hardcore liberals.
67
It sounds like that teacher doesn't have much exposure to people who use hair straightening products (I assume that is what the cause of the smell was), and abso-frickin-lutely lacks the common courtesy required of someone who works with children on a daily basis. She may be overtly racist, she is probably culturally inexperienced and insensitive, but she is most certainly rendered unfit to teach 8 year old children by virtue(?) of her complete lack of tact and empathy toward your child.
68
@60, you are right about microaggression. In this context, it is racial. It may be a new concept for @54, which is why I brought it up.

I think you are also right about most well-intentioned people being willing to admit that the desire to be free of prejudice does not make it a reality. It's quite possible that this teacher is one of those people and that this will be a learning experience for her. Charles now has to have a conversation with this teacher about race (which is what I meant by holding her responsible for her actions), something most caucasian parents never have to do.

In a larger sense, what this teacher did suggests she is also insensitive to the children in her class in ways that are nonspecific to race, which is a larger problem. Humiliating an 8-year old in front of her peers for any reason is unacceptable behavior for a teacher.
69
...and the humiliation caused to this girl was directly tied to her race, a fact that must be confronted.
70
I thought the little girl was trying to exchange the doll for one with Asian features and black hair. You know, an Odyssey-type story.

(rattling noise of pill bottle)
71
Wow, it amazes me that a human being that would do this is allowed to work with children. Shame on her, I hope you choose to pursue this with the school. So sorry for your daughter's experience. I am returning to Seattle after nearly 8 years and found your article doing research. I am a biracial women, with 2 sons who are both in AP classes. I think it is so important to educate our kids about what it means to be young, black and gifted in a predominately white world. Best of luck to you and your family.
72
I don't get it... Her hair stank, it was disruptive, she was directed to leave. Is there any indication that a white girl that disrupted the class would have been treated differently?

It's not like the teacher called her a nappy headed ho or anything...

You people are so fucking sensitive!
(Geesh... It's not always all about your color.)
73
"Shouting 'racism' isn't really the right move on his part."

Are you kidding? In Seattle with all its Pavlov's Liberals?

74
@35: "What I mean by this is that enrollment in the program is (if I remember right) contingent on a parent's ability and willingness to have their child go through a battery of testing to prove that their "cognitive ability" is in the 98th/99th percentile, and the 95th percentile range or above in both reading and math achievement. These are things that middle- and upper-middle-class parents are significantly more likely to have the awareness, social support, time, and resources to pursue on behalf of their kids."

@64: "It seems weird that in Seattle you have to request for your child to take that test (or tests) in order for APP placement. How does that even work? Do they have to pay extra for it? Why not test everyone, and go from there? That way you get the maximum amount of people placed correctly."

The tests—there are two, not a battery of tests—are free and available to anyone who wishes to take them. If children don't perform at a certain level on them, parents can opt for private testing.

I'm not sure why the tests aren't given to everyone automatically. I think they should be. But as it is, all are welcome to take the test, and scoring at a certain level guarantees you a spot and transportation.

Do white kids have advantages and privileges that non-white kids don't have? Of course they do. But the kids in APP—black, white, Asian, Latino—are there because it's the best program for them. Encourage more kids to take the test! Improve preschool "education" across the board! I'm all for it.

75
Who the hell puts hair product in an 8 year olds hair anyway... Was she wearing a full face of makeup too?

What’s the deal, was she rushing off to a Toddlers & Tiaras pageant after school?!?!
76
"Pretending shit doesn't exist is a recipe for disaster."

So is making up shit.
77
"Do white kids have advantages and privileges that non-white kids don't have? Of course they do."

Yeah, it's called parents, not screwing around and if you do, wearing a condom.
78
I'm too lazy to read all these comments—but Charles, I sure hope you took this up personally with the teacher and the principal. Did you not get satisfaction when you spoke with them about the problem? It would be passive aggressive, not to mention ineffective, to broadcast your dissatisfaction on Slog before addressing the problem directly with those involved.

My child is at the same school, and I'm aware that the administration there takes great pains to address racism—or at least show the world that they're addressing racism. I don't expect them to be perfect, but I do expect them to listen and respond to complaints such as this.

So did they blow you off? Your fellow parents want to know.
79
Charles - you need to tell us what the heck you put on your child's hair so we can judge for ourselves how bad it really is.

That said, if I was teaching a class and a child was wearing a product that induced an asthma attack in me or anyone else in the room, the child would be immediately removed just like the teacher did. No. I would NOT wait and take it up with the parents. I would need to act right away.
80
Well hair straightener goop can be pretty stanky...

http://www.freshlookhair.com/
81
@65

The point was that its impossible for anyone to "know what the fuck they're doing" in a social context, where the value of "what" is determined not by one's intent or even one's actions, but by others' perceptions of one's actions/intent. Most people are socialized in such a way that they have a collection of very crude mirrors they can use to try and analyze how their own actions will be perceived by others, but nobody has more than a few that they can carry around with them at any given time -- which is to say that there are a myriad of other perspectives that a modern person must account for in the course of normal business, and a limited number of perspectives, other than one's own, that one can maintain a running awareness of.

So yes, it's unreasonable to expect someone to maintain a constant functioning awareness of how someone other than them might interpret their actions as racist, even in the complete absence of racist intent on the actor's part. It's sort of the inverse corollary of Du Bois's "double consciousness". The danger of double consciousness is that colonized people (extending Du Bois to Fanon) may be tempted to live into the perceptions -- and misconceptions -- of their oppressors in ways that deprive them of agency as people and as political beings. Implicitly, a just existence is one in which that kind of double consciousness isn't necessary, as a fixed societal reality. In other words, the goal is a colorblind society. That goal is achievable (cf Irish, Italians, etc).

Meanwhile it is, within certain reasonable limits, perfectly appropriate and, indeed, a necessary precursor to a more just society, for white people to let down their guards and react to people of color as honestly as possible. If the teacher was having an actual allergic reaction to Charles' daughter's hair product, temporarily removing her from the classroom is appropriate, as long as it's what the teacher would do with an Anglo student in the same situation. Otherwise the best possible outcome will always be that Charles' daughter is the only African American student in a room full of white students, and the goal of her being an African American student in a room with Italian American, Irish American, Anglo American, Slavic American, and other Euro-American students will be utterly foreclosed.

In conclusion, fuck you too, you boring broken record of a knee-jerk liberal asshole.

83
Damn, Chuck. You is nasty to have a stanky kid. Man up and wash the lil heifa's hair. Stop sounding like a punk
84
I grew up in the Central District. This was way before Starbucks at 23rd and Jackson. While I am white, my younger sisters are mixed. No one believed that we were sisters.
I remember when a cop stopped me, my friends (black), and my sisters walking down 29th. He specifically addressed me, "If you keep hanging around with this kind, you will end up just like them." This was only twenty years ago. It still amazes me how so many white people don't see racism because it is subtle.
While many forms of racism kept occurring to my friends, my sisters, and myself, I never realized how muted racism in Seattle is. While attending Tulane University in New Orleans. I witnessed extreme and in-your-face racism.
A friend of Mine and I were locked out of a Dairy Queen as we approached the store. New Orleans style of desegregating schools consisted of putting the brightest 5-10 black kids in the posh schools; while placing 6-10 autistic white kids in the rundown school several blocks away.
I couldn't take it anymore. I came back to Seattle to finish my education at the UW, even though I was on full scholarship.
85
@81

I'm all for white people "letting down their guards and reacting to people of color as honestly as possible"--as long as they are then held accountable for their racially-insensitive reactions. I'm not saying demonize these people, but I am saying let's call it what it is. Leading the sole black girl out of class for having product in her hair--maybe it's simply an olfactory response on the part of the teacher, but it's stupid in its unawareness (cultural, political, historical) and certainly racially insensitive. It should be called for what it is.
86
Well, here is the thing - and I'm writing as a former teacher.

Sometimes kids stink. I taught middle schoolers, sometimes right after gym class, in a school without showers. And some of those kids, the boys in particular (who hadn't figured out the wisdom of using deodorant yet) smelled to high heaven. Other times, I had poor kids in our classroom, for who laundry was not a priority for their family. And yes, way too much hair product - in both black and white kids.

But I was a professional. I didn't go up to a kid and say, "Tom, you reek. Take your books out into the hall." Instead, I just opened the windows, or, if it was too cold, put the fan on low and directed so it was just circulating the air. It helped, a little.

The teacher, whether she was racially motivated or not, was unprofessional.
87
I have to echo @86.

I'm a teacher, and many of my students have body odor. It has nothing to do with their race, but a myriad of other issues. I deal with it any way I can: room freshener, open windows, etc. (And if I feel it's a neglect issue, yes, I address it with counselors, parents, etc.)

I would NEVER humiliate a student. If other students say shit, they get the look of death.

Your daughter's teacher behaved in an inexcusable way, no matter what the reason. The fact that it appears to be racially motivated makes it that much worse - but regardless, she's a pretty poor excuse for a teacher.
88
Oh, and I kind of lost my point there:

My point is that teachers deal with odors and a bunch of other unpleasant things daily. We're used to it.

So as a teacher, that's the biggest proof that this event was racially motivated: there's really no other reason for it.

I mean, if I sent every boy out of my classroom who is loaded with cologne or every girl whose shampoo makes me nauseous, I wouldn't end up teaching many kids.
89
"-as long as they are then held accountable for their racially-insensitive reactions"

what about the way black people continually say stupid things to my Asian wife and mixed kids?
91
Thank you Charles for continuing to provoke discussion about problems that much of "color blind" Seattle doesn't believe exist. Even if reading some of these comments makes me feel a little ill.
92
@89

They should also be held accountable for their actions. Why is this even a question?

@90

You are a bad person.
93
I'm not saying demonize these people, but I am saying let's call it what it is. Leading the sole black girl out of class for having product in her hair--maybe it's simply an olfactory response on the part of the teacher, but it's stupid in its unawareness (cultural, political, historical) and certainly racially insensitive. It should be called for what it is.

The thing you don't seem to grasp is that "what it is" is relative. You are not the final arbiter of what a given pattern of behavior "is". You can express what it means to you, but that doesn't necessarily mean anything.
94
sounds like the teacher was totally rude, abusive and unprofessional. i'm with 86 - open a freakin window, and then if she still can't handle it, talk to Charles and the Mom before confronting the child! i want a follow-up on the racist bit though. there are tons of people these days that are hypochondriacs about chemicals.

aside - there are AP classes for 8 year olds? cripes. when i was in school, one didn't have access to AP until later in high school!
95
woa. 90 is trying to see how fast the moderators will boot him/her...nasty stuff.
96
The overpowering smell of cocoa butter combined with the stench of urine excreted though a negro's pores can be quite nauseating.Why do negroes think they can inflict themselves on the rest of us? What else can we expect from farm animals run wild?
97
hey chuck, maybe yer kids hair JUST REALLY SMELLED LIKE SH*T. sorry, but if i had to smell some uncleanly brats hair, I would do the same. Boo Hoo for You, oh, its cause she is/was black, right?! Uh, No- its cause she has hair that smelled like SH*T. But god forbid you pass up your Ghetto Lottery Chance to sue Whitey dor "Scrimination, nomesayin??

Deal with it. Better, take your uncleanly brat out of school and homeschool IT- give the other students a better chance at a better education, without your albatross with its stinky poo-poo hair there to bother them.
98
@93

I think we, as a community, as evidenced by this thread, are deciding that this teacher's behavior is unacceptable.
99
@94: Not AP. In Seattle, it's called APP—"accelerated progress program," and it's for kids scoring very high on cognitive, math, and reading tests. In elementary school, APP classes are, more or less, working two years above grade level.
100
@ 64

Highly Capable/Gifted Testing is actually part of special education. To test a child for a highly capable program requires written parental consent, the same as any other testing for special education. It's not just that they have to request it, they have to give signed permission. At least this has been the case in every district where I have administered gifted testing.
101
Charles, for once, you and I are the same page.
102
I am a white teacher, and most of my students are African-American. I wonder about teachers who teach health (I am teaching health and sex-ed to my students right now) and if they make any effort to educate themselves about the differences in hair care between cultures. I don't pretend to be an expert, my students teach me more every day than I could ever read in a book, but that seems to be a pretty idiotic response on the part of the teacher. The curriculum I am given is geared towards white students/white hair, such as the frequency of hair washing, what constitutes clean hair, how to keep hair clean and tidy. I feel embarrassed sometimes when I talk to my students and have to admit that what I am given to teach is so culturally biased. Sounds like this teacher doesn't even try to get a clue...
And @88, I agree, I only wish my students smelled like hair care product, too often it is something far more... let's say... unpleasant.
103
@ 100 - I was in an advanced program in a public high school, so I didn't attend my home high school. There were only a few kids from the surrounding neighborhoods in this program.

We had a short bus.