Thursday, June 14, 2007

Welcome to America, now join the PTA?!

There are soooo many things wrong with this Silicon Valley Moms Blog post from a week ago (and some of the comments that followed): The Problem of the White PTA. [Hat-tip to ARP den mother Carmen for the link.] As a fourth-generation Asian American, as a father, and as a former teacher in a multiethnic working-class urban public school, I had so many strong reactions to this one I had to take a few days to breathe before posting about it here. Okay, so I did write one teensy comment there and pointed to it at Kimchi Mamas [who are discussing it again today], but for me, hey, that's self-control. Just go read it all and you'll know what I mean. Then come back here and let's talk about it!

UPDATE: Looks like I missed the original poster's clarification post, but now, both posts seem to be down (after a flurry of responses by the Kimchi Mamas posse, heh). See here and here for more on what you missed.

UPDATE 2: Okay, so the co-founder of SVMomBlog had the posts taken down (see her comment on KM reprinted in the comments to this post), and posted a public apology. But I guess enough folks said that the dialogue was needed that they reposted only the comment threads, but not the original texts (follow the links above to see what folks are saying there).

***Speaking of parental participation in education, though, check out our new RiceDaddies Empowerment in Diversity Challenge via Donors Choose. Our dollar-for-dollar match ends tomorrow, so let's put our money where our mouths/typing fingers are!


daddy in a strange land said...

Mama Nabi had some choice words about this over on her blog, so check it out.

daddy in a strange land said...

This was just posted on today's KM thread about the post in question:

Hello Ladies (and gents)
I am the co-founder of SV Moms Blog and I was very upset by the post(s) and then the comments. I asked that they both be taken down by our editor.

I beleive it will be put back up, since I am in the minority ... but as a Jewish mom, who does NOT volunteer in the PTA (because I work and volunteer with some nonprofits, and try to spend time in my daughter's classrooms instead of the PTA), I found this post terribly disturbing and hurtful.

I want to apologize if this offended you. I am really, really sorry and so overly sensitive to racism....... So again, I am sorry.

My hope for SV Moms Blog - or any collaborative blog is that you hear different points of view, but in a respectful and sensitive manner. I would never want to see any group singled out, for any reason....

Again, I am not sure if our editor will put them back up. I am sure we will now get flamed for taking them down, but I would rather get flamed for that, than being a racist.

Jill Asher

Posted by: Jill | Thursday, June 14, 2007 at 09:44 AM

thisislarry said...

SVMG has posted a
public apology


eliaday said...

the thing that makes me sad about all this is that i'm not sure that the original poster learned anything from all of this - except to keep her racist comments to herself.

Mama Nabi said...

I agree - I don't think Roper's going to think differently; she'll just say them when there're no Asians around. I'm glad, however, that we reacted. It's so often expected of us to be apologists... or seethe in silence. We need to change that around, for our kids.

SoulSnax said...

I never got the chance to read the post, nor the comments. Was the rhetoric really that bad that it had to be taken off?

In deleting the post and comments, one runs the risk of promoting censorship.

If indeed, this woman is the ignorant, unrepentant racist she appears to be from the accounts I've read so far, let the world know it through her own words.

daddy in a strange land said...

Head over to KM if you want to read the original posts--they've been put up in the comments. And then, of course, the comments to those post are still up at SVMB.

I agree that leaving up the original posts would've been better--better to let this stuff wither in the light of day, you know?

But, since I deal with this issue every day at work, technically, censorship is about the government's power, or abuse thereof, to limit speech. This is a case of a private entity running a website having the power to determine what will and will not run on its own website. Different...

Monster Daddy said...

Unfortunately, I also missed reading the original post.

Number One Monster just finished his first year of public school, Number Two Monster will join him in the fall. (Previously, they were in a private school.)

From what I can infer from the comments, I'm really not surprised that there are PTA members with this kind of racist attitude. I'm not going to opine on this since so many others have done a great job.

I will say that we cannot ignore the fact that PTAs could have an influence on your child's experience in school. Just like in Little League, social networking can bring benefits. A teacher or administrator who knows your face, who has personal interaction with you and your family won't treat you like a stranger.

For example, my Number Four Monster is about to join that private school. But since I have 3 kids already through them, the staff and teachers have a long history with us and it's been very positive. So when Number Four acts up (and I know he will, he's the troublemaker ;) the staff would handle it differently than if they didn't know us.

daddy in a strange land said...

Another update: SVMB has posted up an open thread for folks to discuss the original issue of PTA exclusivity. So go to it. :)