Just read “Admitted but Left Out” Jenny Anderson’s New York Times piece on the prep school experiences of minority students in New York City. The student experiences on which she reports are not news in that the struggles of students of color and students of limited means at selective independent schools have been extensively documented. Nonetheless, the continuation of those struggles and their being described in the same way they are in books written about experiences in the 70s and 80s is disturbing and saddening.
This comment particularly struck me:
“The schools point to efforts to hire diversity directors, create forums for discussion about race and privilege, and design mentoring programs to help students find connections. But several new film projects at some of these schools cast a bright light on the sometimes fraught intersection of race and class, and how the two play out in some New York City independent schools.”
It leaves me to wonder how much the diversity management canon, such as it is, involving faculty of color, diversity directors, and affinity groups can really change the culture of a school to the point where a diverse population feels totally comfortable.
After reading the article I went to the site for a film it mentioned Prep School Negro, and I saw that that film is been screened at prep schools all across the country. I wonder what benefit screening that film will have at the various schools. It may provide students with a sense that they are not alone. It may give other members of the school community a sense of how far they have to go. But will it really make a difference in day to day life?
Prep School Negro trailer: