Good and Bad Distractions

July 8, 2019, 8:00 am, NHV

Procrastination is not always a bad thing. Sometimes I need to be distracted. I’ve learned to take those moments as opportunities to actually read the news -California earthquakes, the never-ending saga of our 45th president, and an “Arizona man allegedly murders teen because he was listening to rap music.” Reading these articles allows me to simultaneously remember and forget the most pressing problems in my personal life. Sometimes it feels like an escape from reality. 

“Suburbs Profit Off New Haven Magnets,” a local headline proclaims. It is a New Haven Independent article detailing how suburbs outside of New Haven got paid (20 million) to send their students to New Haven magnet schools. This comes on the heals  of a perpetual a budget crisis, and teacher layoffs. This is after the superintendent almost closed the last alternative school for “budget reasons” and Creed school was shut down for not having enough white students despite having a vibrant and strong community. The president of the school board was “shocked.” He probably really had no idea this was going on.

A native of New Haven, and an educator in alternative education, the article left me outraged as I am sure the writer intended. How much clearer could it be that policymakers do not value low income communities and Black and brown bodies? How long has this policy been in effect? Should I even bring up gentrification? To even try to explain the relationship between the residents of New Haven, City Hall, and Yale University to an outsider would be ambitious. Before I go on Kanye-esque rant about Nevah Wen (New Haven spelled backwards), I will keep it simple: Connecticut doesn’t care about poor, black, or brown people or their education. 

To some that statement is completely left field and outrageous. Listen, I don’t like politics enough to argue the details. What I am referring to is the bigger picture. The New Haven Independent comment section was flooded with attacks on our current mayor and her administration. Rightfully so. The past year has been disastrous particularly with the Board of Education. I’ve also seen gentrification accelerate while Toni Harp has been in office. Even with that I wonder how long has this shady deal existed? Why is the State so opposed to addressing this? They mentioned Bridgeport having similar issues is this a business model that exists across the country in majority black and brown, low income communities? I, like most, used to think racism was using a racial slur or burning crosses. What I’ve learned is that racism and other systems of oppression are woven into our our justice system, healthcare system, local government, and yes, education. They are all mechanisms within a larger machine that are often “fixed” with minor repairs and oil changes. These systems are not broken. They are working as they should, for those they are designed to work for. They are continuing the work of our forefathers and the Yale’s most “noteworthy” figures. So no these systems were not designed to work for the he majority of students who actually live in New Haven. I guess I should just accept that. 

Sigh. Yeah sometimes distraction is good and other times it just more reasons to be depressed.

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