Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Decolorization of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts

Powerful read.  Race and class matter. This is a story about a lost legacy, to the detriment of artistic African American and Latino youth of color with enormous potential in Dallas, Texas.  In a more perfect world, white, middle class privilege would be non-existent and the arts would be widely accessible to all—not as a privilege, but as a right and talent that gets recognized and developed in youth and in our communities.


The Decolorization of Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing & Visual Arts: Is anyone else but me noticing the loss of “color”, particularly black color in both the student body and faculty at the city’s premier arts high school? Given that this is a public high school that once served as a desegregation model for DISD, it’s especially alarming at how “whitewashed” the school’s become. I have a long history with this school having taught there, had two children graduate from there and served on both the Advisory Board and the BTWHSPVA Arts Council. When I first joined the faculty in visual arts in the early 90s, the school was still under the desegregation order so the racial ratios were mandated by that order. It was roughly 30/30/30, which represented the three major racial groups at the time(Black, White and Latino). By the time my daughter graduated in 2004, that number had shifted to having a few less Black and Latino students and a few more White students. Once the desegregation order was lifted, the ratios began to shift again, this time with the numbers beginning to shift heavily in favor of increased white student enrollment.

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