I am a liberal, White, upper-middle-class parent, and we live in a mixed-income, racially integrated urban neighborhood. When it came time to enroll our daughter in high school, we selected a school that was majority Black because it was close by, and we rejected the notion of getting caught up in which magnet school was most prestigious. Our daughter had a horrible time there—she was harassed so much that we had to pull her out, and other non-Black students there were victimized because of their race. I am struggling to make sense of the experience. I think she’s managed it well and hasn’t let it affect her general views on race, and I believe I’m doing the same, but mostly I am just so angry that our daughter had to endure this, and I feel guilty that I put her in this position. I also feel caught between friends who seem to want to say, “I told you so,” and those who seem to think that saying that she was the victim of racial harassment somehow makes me seem racist since it was at the hands of Black students. Maybe I should just chalk it up to bad luck, but how can I let go of the guilt and anger and all the other awful reactions I’m having to this?
I also recognize that in an area like the one you live in—one that sounds like it is somewhere in the process of gentrification—an influx of upper-middle-class White folks can be absolutely devastating. So again, bullying, regardless of the bully’s background, is not OK, but you asked about the larger context here, and so that’s what I’ll try to unpack.
After years of being told that your community was unimportant and unworthy of resources, you get to watch it become a “hot spot,” see investment that would have never been made on your behalf. Black folks, who once had “the hood” as a place to be surrounded by their own kind after long days of having to labor for White people, now have to watch Whites become the most affluent, and seemingly most content, residents of our ghettos. If that were not traumatic enough, there is also the matter of our interpersonal interactions with our new neighbors, many of whom have called the police on us, unilaterally organized to reshape our schools, or otherwise come into our sacred places and treated us as we are so often treated by White people: poorly.
Your daughter might not have done anything deliberately to harm anyone or to invite mistreatment, but her presence disrupts something truly fragile: the feeling of safety Black kids get from being with other Black kids. Those kids see their parents struggling to afford to live in an area that is changing to better reflect people like you.
I am sorry that your daughter was one of them, and I hope you are able to help her get through this difficult time with the right attitude.
Man up and change your attitude, you evil white person.
White people moving into black area making it better = racist.
White people bullied by blacks = white peoples fault.
Blacks when they see white people = scared of them.
Blacks wanting to be amongs their own = totally ok, but not when whites want to be amlng their own.