On my drive to work this morning, NPR aired a story (or maybe it was the local affiliate) done by a teen-reporter. The focus was racial tension in her fairly affluent metro-DC area high school. I turned on the radio just as she was talking about her memories from first grade and how racial differences were never seen as differences. I smiled because that's how our school is. There is no majority and no minority -- everyone is just a kid. In my classroom alone, my kiddos span the globe.
As the reporter continued she told of how that feeling is no longer there and described how segregated her high school is. She described her cafeteria as a breeding ground for tension -- "the blacks sit together, the whites sit together and the Spanish sit together." This grouping continues to where people congregate in the halls and in the classrooms.
So my question is... if classrooms at age 5 and 6 truly loves one another for who they are and not what they look like, when and where do we go wrong with these kids? Middle school? Freshman year of high school? Do the teachers see it coming? Do we ask the parents what they think? Are they helping or hurting the problem? I have knee-jerk reaction answers to a lot of these questions, but it just baffles me when I see what i see in my classroom and hear what I heard on the radio this morning. Will these be my kids?