Guest Blog – The new segregation: How can we have racial harmony when our kids go to segregated schools?

Posted by on January 4, 2016 in Leadership, Opinion, Parenting | 0 comments

This is part of my series exploring parent choices and school integration which began with “Why do we have this d@med school lottery anyway?

I’ve learned a lot from other parents’ experiences in my own exploration of dynamics like school choice, race, segregation and systemic racism. This begins a series of guest blogs from other parents from various backgrounds that I hope you’ll find thought provoking. The first comes from Ali Collins, SF Public School Mom.

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This week she writes about “The new segregation: How can we have racial harmony when our kids go to segregated schools?” This is my favorite part:

“As a college educated, mixed-race parent (who identifies Black) in a largely low-income Chinese-speaking school, I have felt blessed that our school experience has allowed my family to expand its experience beyond our cultural comfort zone. My girls and I have learned a lot about Chinese culture. We’ve also gained a lot of understanding for the challenges low-income and immigrant families face. (Attending a parent meeting in Chinese where interpretation is in English for, has really helped me to understand the how heroic it is for families to attend school meeting held mainly in English, and made me more intentional about removing language barriers for Spanish and Chinese-speaking families at school events.) This experience is not something you can come by just through reading diverse books. And you can’t instill the value of celebrating cultural differences, while at the same time only encourage friendships with kids and parents who look like you.

On the contrary, as members of an underrepresented racial group at our school (White and Black) I feel we’ve made great contributions to our community by asking questions and challenging the predominantly Asian-American culture there to more visibly celebrate and support African-American families and other underrepresented groups.

Nonetheless, the “answers” to achieving a truly diverse and integrated schools are not simple.”

Read the rest of her thoughtful piece on her blog here:”The new segregation: How can we have racial harmony when our kids go to segregated schools?”


Julie Roberts-Phung is a longtime community organizer, a fan of STEAM education, and a career and leadership coach. I have two multiracial kids ages 2 and 5 who are Vietnamese and White (Irish and Russian). They are exhausting, they are at maximum cuteness, and raising them to be good human beings challenges me daily to deepen the way I work for a more just world in both my personal and professional lives. If you’re interested in exploring coaching with me, you can learn more here: http://empowertogetherconsulting.com/about/

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