Thursday, November 14, 2019

Thoughts on Garfield and HCC from One Student

As you may recall, there is a book out by a Garfield student who is bi-racial and transmasculine about their experience at Garfield.  The author's name is Azure Savage.  The name of the book is You Failed Us: Students of Color Talk Seattle Schools.

There was an author event at Elliott Bay Books tonight and some interesting, illuminating tweets from it via a reporter at the Seattle Times.  Savage was interviewed by writer/editor Marcus Green.

  • Savage says he’s been asked about being in the gifted program, but that the book is about a lot of other topics — racial isolation, representation in education, identity. You know I thought it weird that the entire book could have been about HCC and this confirms that it isn't.
  • In sitting down to write about those experiences, he realized he couldn’t do that without delving into schools. “So much of school is a part of my life. There’s no way for me to tell my full true story and leave it out. It wasn’t easy.” 
  • Green: Students of color in advanced classes are the closest to whiteness. Can you talk about that? Savage: I noticed that all of us had at least one white parent. My white mom was very aware of the program and talked about it with her friends. 
  • When Garfield tried to introduce honors classes for a few years ago, Savage says he heard of parents’ rage and the backlash. “It’s hard for me to not see it as racist,” he said. 
  • Savage: Some white teachers get praised enough times by students of color that they then become defensive when anyone points out something they’ve said or done as racist or problematic. 
  • “I just think black spaces are magical. I could just wake up in them every day.”  
  • Audience question: What advice do you have for staff of color in SPS? Savage: There should be more solidarity between them and students of color. I don’t want to put all the weight on staff of color. 
  • (An earlier, but relevant statement from Savage: Teachers should be required to have the knowledge to competently hold discussions about race.)
  • Audience question: How can I support my queer teen? Savage: It’s hard to be a trans or queer person, and one thing that’s helped me, is finding other people. It can be very isolating and I’ve gone through that with my race and sexuality. 
  • Savage says he’s heard white parents at coffee shops talking about how they don’t want their PTA funding spread out to other schools. “To me, that is so selfish.” 
  • How can we support students who are marginalized by our schools? Savage: Listen to the youth. There are so many students yelling their hearts out right now. There are students at Rainier Beach fighting for funding. There is a facade about students having a voice in schools.  


Anonymous said...

If you grow up constantly being told that you're oppressed or privileged, you are going to feel oppressed or privileged. You're going to view every action through that lens.

I think SPS does an amazing job of indoctrinating people into feeling alienated and oppressed. It cultivates the very thing it seeks to eliminate. POC are constantly told they must be treated differently. White people are constantly told they are in positions of power and must "give up privilege" in order to make things equal. If that doesn't set up a segregated dynamic, I don't know what does.

In that sense, Seattle Schools have failed and continue to fail both students of color and students of non(?)-color.

Note: I might disagree with Azure's reasoning, but I respect that they've published a book--that's time, effort, drive, and passion.

--my privileged two cents

Anonymous said...

So, this is all the fault of SPS, too?


Get real