To the Editor:
Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza’s alleged “anti-bias plan” reported on by Crystal Lewis in her May 31 front-page story appears to be a product of bias. Carranza equates perfectionism, individualism and fear of open conflict with white supremacy.
The racist notion this insinuates is that blacks are not capable of a perfectionist pursuit of high-quality work or thinking as individuals.
Now there’s the work of four brilliant black women who made it possible for the United States to send astronauts into outer space.
Their story was told by the superb movie, “Hidden Figures.” Did their perfectionism mean they were not truly black?
How about the black man who invented the traffic light, or the one who came up with the prototype for the gas mask? There are numerous other examples that students could learn about if Carranza ended the exclusion of so many black contributions to America from our school’s curriculum.
If John Wayne could point out in his 1970 TV special, “Swing Out, Sweet Land,” that the banjo is a black American invention, then certainly our allegedly progressive school system can teach more about African-American contributions to America.
But if you want more famous examples of black perfectionism, how about the fact that Stevie Wonder spent three years making sure one of his masterpieces, “Songs In The Key Of Life,” was just right before he released it. And how about Bob Marley? Or does Carranza attribute his perfectionism to having a white father?
As for fear of open conflict, that is rather vague. By open conflict, does Carranza mean an honest exchange of different opinions?
Or does he mean threats and violence? Reasonable people of all colors would agree that the former is a good thing and the latter is a bad thing.
As for eliminating the SHSAT test for the specialized high schools, this would not help. Mayor Bill de Blasio and his chancellors, Carmen Fariña and Carranza, have not done anything to improve the schools that serve predominantly African-American and Latino students.
Giving students in these neighborhoods a quality education that would allow them to pass the SHSAT would do good. Dragging down standards so elite schools are no longer elite will not.
If Carranza really wants to end public school racism, how come Patricia Catania still has a job? She was the IS 224 principal who refused to let a Teacher teach her class about Lena Horne during Black History Month.
She’s now an Assistant Principal at Health Opportunities High School. So her racism is ok at a different school?
Carranza should be eliminating real racism instead of lowering standards to cover up for a system that is not doing its job when it comes to teaching non-Asian students of color.
Retired transit worker
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