Instead of focusing on diversity on campus, we need to focus on equality

Michelle Purdy, assistant professor at education in Arts & Sciences

 

While for the past 50 years many elite private K-12 schools and universities have embraced the inclusion of black students, the presence of these students has only just begun to destabilize the culture of white supremacy and racism on which these schools were founded. Diversity has become a widely touted asset at these institutions, but simply celebrating inclusivity has not necessarily made it an actual reality.

Since the 1960s, African Americans have increasingly gained access to elite K-12 schools (or independent schools). Northeastern schools like Phillips Academy Andover and Choate Rosemary Hall welcomed greater numbers of black students, as Southern schools like the Westminster Schools in Atlanta voluntary desegregated.

I often teach my students about the changes that have occurred in predominantly white institutions, but events like these suggest to them that not much has changed since predominantly white institutions readily embraced black students in the 1960s and 1970s — only large-scale institutional and cultural changes will alter their reality.

Read the full piece in the Washington Post.

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