Once again, racism decided to show us its ugly hind parts. Every time this happens, and it happens far too often, I feel as if I'm caught in a racial "Groundhog Day," cursed to relive this pathetic mess over and over. Instead of writing anew every time this happens, I could just go back and cut and paste from previous posts about similar incidents. I could build a template of responses; they happen just that frequently.
The truth about how white folk really feel is usually revealed by accident. That was the case in the story I am about to share.
There's a school district in the southwest suburbs of Chicago; Lincoln-Way, that is about to be split at the request of 11 schools in the 35 school district. Of the 11 schools, nine are by far predominately white. The board members who have been advocating the split have insisted that their desire to start a new and separate (read: segregated) district has nothing to do with race.
Up to now, legislators, board members and parents have been willing to take them at their word, even though, as is typical, there is evidence, circumstantial and otherwise, that might indicate a racial motive. Predominately black schools typically suffer from a lack of funding as it is, and this move will take even more money from the schools to remain in the district, giving it to the 11 schools seeking to separate. All are concerned, as well they should be, because public funds will be used to fund this segregation from the rest of the district.
Usually when this happens, in the current social climate, anyone who dares to look at that evidence and conclude that race may play a part is shouted down as either "paranoid" or even racist themselves, all the more to shut them up.
Now we know better, as a white board member who had been advocating the split is caught on tape, sharing her true feelings. Here's the lead-in from the Sun-Times to this sad story:
"Leaders of 11 south suburban public high schools said Monday their planned split from a 35-school athletic conference had nothing to do with race."
"But a call Sunday from a school board member's home phone to a Chicago Sun-Times reporter's voice mail raises questions about racial motives because of the language -- which included the term "poor blackie" -- used in the recording."
"Poor Blackie?" Who is this, Al Jolson?
"The woman on the recording did not identify herself, but caller ID indicated the call came from Lincoln-Way high school board member Maureen Jagmin's home in Frankfort. The caller phoned a reporter, but instead of hanging up, continued to speak to someone who was with her, leaving that conversation on the reporter's voice mail."
(I hate it when people do this. Anyone this stupid who doesn't know how to use a damn phone deserves to have their dirty laundry aired.)
Here's the transcript of her call:
"Today you can't, you can't, do that anymore because you know we're so sick of it -- you know, all the Caucasian people. How much more. I look at all the housing that came down from the city and how they set up these beautiful town houses in Richton [Park], and all in Sauk Village, you know, they cost about $150,000 to build, and these people move in and have to pay a lousy $50 to live in them, per month, and don't even pay and ruin 'em, burn 'em out. And it's just a process that how many years is this going to take, to the point where give them all a free education so we can get them all off welfare and get them into jobs, because it's getting to the point where I'm tired of the welfare, tired of the mentality that poor blackie because let's give them a job so they can be supporting themselves and, be, make them work. You know, forget this I want to be a bum type of thing. I think it's a forever problem in this country, you know, it's never going to go away in this area here. It's part of . . . I watched the neighborhoods all change. The schools that used to be good like Rich Central, Rich East and Rich South are all failing schools. Why are they failing? Because of what's in 'em. One of the teachers right down the street said he couldn't wait to get the heck out from 30 years ago when he started teaching when it was just the normal kid. I mean it's a zoo."
If this ain't some of the ugliest stuff I have ever heard. But this is how many of your upstanding, "compassionate" white folk will talk in private amongst themselves, while grinning in our face and singing "We are the World," and waxing poetic about King's "Dream." I could just throw up.
This woman left no stereotype untouched. The racism aside, what about the sheer ignorance of her rant? Is it possible that someone this idiotic can actually rise to become a highly paid, and respected member of a large suburban school district? Truth be told, it just goes to show that, when you are white in America, ANYTHING is possible.
According to this cretin, we can deduct that "poor blackie:"
- Lives in subsidized housing
- is on welfare
- must be "given" a job, with the implication that its not deserved
- once hired, must be "made" to work
- schools that were once successful are now failing, because of "poor blackie's" presence
I was going to go point-by-point, and refute, in detail, with supporting statistics, her claims. But why bother? We know more whites live in subsidized housing and benefits from some form of "welfare;" everyone who works is "given" a job; educators and teachers with biased mindsets like this are the reason schools that were once "successful" when they were predominately white are suddenly "failing" when they become predominately black, because the ugly truth is they don't give a damn about the education of black children.
We are way past the point of arguing over these shopworn racist stereotypes, and whether or not what was said was meant. As Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr pointed out, the recording "only confirms our highest suspicions that the efforts to re-create the three divisions were not motivated by concerns for education, competition or fairness, but were driven by stereotypes, racial fear-mongering and animus that have no place in our nation's education system."
Now comes the usual damage control from white folk trying to cover this fool's ass:
"Chris Olson is athletic director at Joliet's two public high schools, which are among the 11 in the proposed new conference, South West Suburban Conference."
"'Joliet is as diverse as it gets,' Olson said. 'It's not about [race]. It's about doing what's best for our kids, preparing for the future with our growth. . . . I've never heard the race card come up. I'm pretty proud about that.'"
Can you believe that? He "never heard the race card come up?" Does he think we're that fuckin' stupid? What his colleague spewed wasn't the race card; it was the entire deck. Of course the race card never came up in public; they know not to do that, lest they reveal their real motivations.
"Lincoln-Way Supt. Lawrence Wyllie and school board President James Gast listened to the recording at the Sun-Times on Tuesday. 'I don't know if it's her voice,' Wyllie said afterward."
We know the call came from her home, thanks to caller ID; she was speaking to someone who referred to her by her first name, "Maureeen;" and she also referred to a family meber by name. Its her.
"Gast indicated his district is investigating and that a special board meeting is possible."
A "special board meeting" is "possible?" You know what this is about. Its not about determining if it really was her. This meeting is about damage control, about how they can put the bigotry genie back in the bottle, and still segregate themselves.
"Later, after seeing a transcript of the voice mail recording, Wyllie said: 'That's not Lincoln-Way.'"
Its Lincoln-Way alright; the real Lincoln-Way.
"His board members agreed. 'I think our decision was based on all the right reasons and none of those reasons that are suggested in that voice mail,' said Ron Kokal, Lincoln-Way board secretary."
All the "right reasons." And those "right reasons" were exactly what Jagmin said in what she thought was her private conversation.
They're busted, plain and simple. But they'll never apologize and own up to it, of course. They'll continue to stall and make Jagmin the fall-guy for all of them, and try to okey-doke their way out of it. Its not likely to happen though, thank God:
"Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) reiterated his call for Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office to get involved. A Madigan spokeswoman said an investigation of the SICA realignment is under way. Buckner plans to file a petition today to ask the Illinois State Board of Education to intervene."
"Maybe they should explain to legislators why they think their conference [should split off] -- we can all see through veiled racism," said Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) , vice chairwoman of the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee. "When you get state and federal money, you can't afford to be racist. . . . These are public dollars, therefore you can't discriminate."
"Sen. Miguel del Valle (D-Chicago), vice chairman of the Senate's Education Committee, said the schools should reconsider their new conference. 'I think it would be irresponsible for this to proceed because it will always have this dark cloud hanging over its head,' he said. The kids 'will be left wondering and really will believe that the reasons for the decisions were racial, rather than decisions based on education policy.'"
This just goes to show that, whenever there is evidence that indicates an action may be racial, the sad truth is, it usually is.
In the Chicago Sun-Times
: Call berates 'poor blackie'Racial recording being investigated