Illinois School Holds Blacks-Only Student Event For “Affinity Grouping”

150px-OPRFHighSchoolLogoNRouseThere is an interesting controversy at Oak Park and River Forest High School in Oak Park (outside of Chicago) where the school allowed students to hold a black-student only meeting. OPRF held a “Black Lives Matter” assembly on Feb. 27 but barred parents of white students who tried to participate. Principal Nathaniel Rouse (right), the assembly’s organizer, insisted he thought black students would speak more freely among members of their own race as what is known as affinity grouping. It might also be called racial segregation at a public school. What if white students wanted to engage in “affinity grouping” by excluding minority students?

The OPRF school board met to discuss the controversy and heard from dozens of parents, students and teachers who virtually all supported Rouse.

While I understand Rouse’s view that black students needed to discuss recent events among themselves, I disagree with the decision on both legal and pedagogical grounds. I believe it is far more important to have the whole community involved in speaking to such issues. Indeed, many of these parents appeared to want to come to express their solidarity and sympathy.

The controversy is reminiscent of the backlash against the Smith College president for being too inclusive in saying “all lives matter.”

SIsoyeSuperintendent Steven Isoye (left) also defended Rouse in saying that “It was clear to me that Mr. Rouse was trying to build a space that was safe space for our black students.”

OPRF English teacher Paul Noble was more forceful:

“Not everything is about us. Not everything needs to have our stamp of approval, much less our participation. Can we just check our white privilege for a minute? I don’t know why a white affinity group is necessary to make a black affinity group palatable.”

I fail to see why the question is one of “white privilege” rather than equal treatment. To call a demand for equal treatment as “privilege” is rather Orwellian. The privilege goes to the group allowed unique or exempt status in a given practice. If the school is saying that students are allowed to base affinity groups on race, I do not see why such groups would be only permitted for African American students. There is a reason why the law imposed color-blind tests that seek to establish neutrality and equality in the treatment of different racial, religious, and other groups.

While I reject the notion of “White privilege” as the reason for objections, there does remain the good-faith view of Rouse that this meeting was to allow a minority group to discuss contemporary issues among themselves. Although I disagree with the decision, I can see why Rouse believed that the highly emotional recent events warranted a special evening for just black students and parents to express shared feelings and viewpoints.

What do you think?

Source: Chicago Tribune

179 thoughts on “Illinois School Holds Blacks-Only Student Event For “Affinity Grouping””

  1. @Herr Schulte, Anti-Authoritarian Martinet

    “Comrade Kenny – what do Gypsies have to do with this discussion? And are they really the problem here that they are in Europe? Are you are ‘Traveller’?”

    Did you mean to ask, “Are you are or is you ain’t ‘Traveller’ “?

    No, I’m is not, Herr Schultze, and although I agree with you that they aren’t yet “really the problem here that they are in Europe”, why wait until they *are*, when they could be as problematic as Squeeky Fromm Girl Reporter so eloquently informs us that the negro and the homosexual are?

    Nip it in the bud, I say, before they start proliferating like, well, you know.

  2. @inga

    I had already decided to not offer any comments on Happy’s posts (I thought her post was Sam Fox’s until after I’d written it), and her latest missal to me strongly reinforced my decision. In addition to not wanting to upset her, the ROI simply isn’t there, and although I’m sorry about that, I don’t see what I can do about it.

    I’m glad you find me charming, but the ladies have always told me that isn’t my best feature. 🙂

    Hey, now, I was talking about my sense of humor.

  3. Exactly right Mespo.

    Ken, Happy is fairly harmless. I don’t know what she has against you, I think you’re quite charming😉. Squeeky is another matter altogether. You would be hard pressed to find another with the same level of homophobia, ageism, racism, Islamophobia, even misogyny. YET she says she will volunteer with Hillary Clinton’s campaign and will vote for her. Do you detect a cognitive dissonance here?

  4. Ken:

    “If you don’t recognize several of Squeeky’s rants as racist and homophobic, I don’t know what to tell you, other than to take a look at your own postures.”
    The unexamined life is Happy’s specialty but Squeeky’s the high priestess of the practice. She likes almost no one who doesn’t look and think like she does. Typical right-wing whackos.

    1. Inga you said you missed Squeaky on that other thread and I am going to find it. 😉 Actually I don’t personally care and I am out of here. This is very immature and counterproductive to getting more people on the blog. Personal attacks because people on the internet cannot control their emotions past the sandbox stage are pathetic and sad. ;(

        1. No Inga – I am not going to look for it. I don’t care. If you say you don’t miss her then that’s okay with me. I thought you said you did when we were all talking together

  5. Mr. Schulte,

    That’s not very surprising. Tons of overreach and constitutional violations by that bureau.

  6. Mr. Schulte,

    “I do not know either Easterbrook or Wood and I assume that you are speaking of Judge Posner.”

    Yes. Posner, Easterbrook, and Wood sit on the bench for the 7th Circuit and all hold the position as senior lecturer at University of Chicago Law School. The same title as Obama. I think it’s fair to question the intellectual culture, so I think all four should be critically reviewed since they also wield much power. But I think a senior lecturer is generally brought in to provide a unique perspective or particular expertise. I’m not sure how legitimate of an explanation that is, but that’s what I think it would be. I would say that all four of these individuals are very bright, though.

    “would I consider Fred Hampton’s civil liberties violated how and by whom?”

    Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were both murdered by a raid organized by the State Attorneys Office for Cook County, Illinois, Chicago Police Department, and the FBI. At least a 14 man team raided Hampton’s apartment (he didn’t wake because an infiltrator slipped a sedative into his drink earlier in the night). Clark had a shotgun on his lap, and it did go off, as a reflexive death convulsion from being shot in the heart, from which he died instantly. Hampton was killed with two shots at point-blank range by Chicago Police Department Officers, while laying next to his fiancee, who was eight-months pregnant with their child.

    So how was by seemingly cold-blooded murder. The specific civil liberties would include: freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom of the press. Other rights implicated can be found in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 8th. The warrant was a product of the illegal COIN TEL program. No good.

    The first three are nearly slam-dunks: Hampton was a charismatic leader in the Black Panther Party. Essentially, he was killed for engaging in his first amendment rights with a social ethic and being good at it.

    Whom would be the SAO of Cook County, ILL, the FBI and the Chicago Police Department. Thus, implicating all three levels of government in our wonderful empire.

    1. TJustice – I am not a fan of the FBI. I think they are over-rated and sloppy. They violated the civil rights of a lot of lot people, including the KKK.

  7. @WadeWilliams

    Oh, you must be one of those who enjoyed sooo much The Trayvonazi Song that I wrote! Or was it the Michael Brown Sonnet, “Was’t E’er A Giant???”

    Oh, it is sooo good to have fans!

    Squeeky Fromm
    Girl Reporter

  8. Harry has nothing on Squeeky. She will be very successful in increasing the level of hate and bile to the delight of the hate crowd – Nick, Trooper, and Pogo,

  9. Paul Always Wrong Schulte

    But English Protestants (your identification) have NOT been around for 1000 years (your number). In fact, just plain old Protestants haven’t been around for a 1000 years.

    Bad enough for a ‘history teacher’ to make such a mistake, but to continue to DEFEND such a mistake is moronic.

    Those at-risk kids didn’t know just how at-risk they were when they landed in your class.

    1. Wadewilliams – you are right. However, if you read my 12:41 pm comment you would have seen where I made the correction. However, I am not always wrong.

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