Road to Hell

What's a white liberal to do?

 Road to hell: Buzz is going to let you non-white, non-liberal readers in on a secret of the pasty, lefty tribe. It's called the "white liberal rule," a term coined by a friend who went through various machinations to keep his daughter in a high-performing public school that she wasn't supposed to attend. It goes like this: Diversity is good...in moderation. Good white liberals (GWLs) are happy to send Junior off to decent public schools where Anglos are the minority—just not too minority. It's a sliding scale. Ten percent Anglo? No problem. Five? Uh, okaaaay. Below that, even some otherwise progressive folk start collecting private school brochures.

Is that racist? You bet. Shouldn't be that way. But there is a chasm between the way the world is and the way it should be, and this week's cover story by Matt Pulle about alleged segregation of white students at Preston Hollow Elementary is about what happens when otherwise well-intentioned people—former Preston Hollow Principal Teresa Parker and PTA leaders—try to find shortcuts to bridge that gap: They fall in.

Buzz isn't normally a font of sympathy, but we feel bad for Parker and the PTA folks. These are the best of the GWLs. They send their kids to a public school in part because they believe in diversity. As Pulle's feature makes clear, all they were trying to do was convince their affluent neighbors—some perhaps a little further down on the GWL scale—to join them. More affluent parents mean a better PTA, which means more dough for the school, and if they have to fudge a brochure or rearrange some classes to attract them, is that wrong?

Refer to your Ethics 101 class about ends not justifying means.

So, what's a GWL or a school administrator such as Parker supposed to do to draw the white folk? Don't ask Buzz. We have no kids and got into this line of work precisely because we're too lazy to deal with problems like that.

But, we're not going to pee down that chasm to which the Preston Hollow parents have been consigned. Instead, we'll leave with a quote from parent Skip Hollandsworth not used in Pulle's story: "We take great pride in being some of the few white parents left in this city who believe in the value of public education, because we believe in diversity. If we really wanted our kids to be part of a mostly white environment, we'd write checks and send our kids to private school."

 
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