Wednesday, October 10, 2007

How to break the cycle?

(HBO photo)

We just finished watching a good but depressing HBO documentary about life at Little Rock Central High School in Arkansas, where the National Guard famously had to escort nine black students into the school in 1957. It was a big event in the Civil Rights movement, and seemed to portend a better future of integrated public schools and society.

Of course everything hasn't worked out so well. Most of this program shows kids, black and white, in the school today, along with their families, teachers and community leaders. Sadly, though the school is legally integrated now, it's self-segregated by the students, and as many point out during the hour-plus show, Central High is now for all practical purposes two schools, one black one white, with very different expectations and outcomes.

One girl, 16, already has two kids and talks directly about the "difficult challenges" ahead. But the reality, as everyone can see, is that her life is screwed, and so are the lives of her two kids.

It's a horrible cycle. Hard to imagine what the 100-year anniversary documentary will have to say.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Different characters, same story, I'm guessing