I am writing this in response to Jenn Schaffer’s article “A Quiet Future For Diversity.” Schaffer proclaims that “The year is now 2007…the lines between ethnicities are fading fast.” Sadly, this could not be further form the truth. Public schools are more segregated today than at the time of Martin Luther King, and as incidents like the charges levied against the so-called Jena 6 reveal, racism is still not only present, but mainstream in American society. While Schaffer’s goal of racial equality is laudable, her article appears to me as further evidence that the “Andover bubble” can unrealistically wrap our worldview. It is true that the world of Andover does not normally think in terms of race, and equality and diversity are certainly dominant impressions of our campus. But we are not representative. It is too easy for us to say that race no longer exists simply because we have not had to encounter it. Successfully or not, this is what all the diversity speakers, PACE classes and All-School Meetings are trying to counter. Wonderfully, Andover is not a racist palce. But as Ms. Schaffer pointed out a number of weeks ago in her article regarding 9/11, Andover is an American school. And in an America where every article about the Virginia Tech schootings seems to reference the killer’s Korean heritage, where we still must discuss whether we are “ready” for a black President, and where nooses are hung outside schools, we have no choice but to recognize and work to counter racism. It is not, as Ms. Schaffer claimed in her article “Diversity For Diversity’s Sake” two weeks ago, “racist to consider race”: on the contrary, it is necessary. We cannot simply declare race dead when the country still functions in terms of black and white. Like any other problem, pretending race does not exist will not make it go away.
Jake Romanow ’10