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Letters

January 22, 2003



What prompts 'white flight' from black schools?

In response to your Jan. 21 article "White teachers flee black schools": It is interesting, but not surprising. Being a lifelong resident of Atlanta Ga., I find it refreshing to see more African-Americans coming into the traditionally white culture in Atlanta. Whites who are used to everyone around them looking the same, dressing the same, thinking the same, and basically having the same cultural beliefs and values are seeing a change - and many don't like it. It infringes upon everything they've ever experienced living in the South. Blacks were prevalent in the South but lived in separate neighborhoods, went to different schools, and attended different churches.

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In my observation, the scene is now changing. Some teachers are leaving traditionally white schools that are growing more diverse, white families are leaving white neighborhoods when black families move in, white men are leaving country clubs because there are more black men playing golf, and the list goes on.

The reason does not need to be searched for in a graduate-level sociology text book. It can be found in the simple notion that white people are afraid of black people and do not feel comfortable in a society where the white race is not the overwhelming and controlling majority. Southerners should get used to the idea of the growing African-American culture and figure out a way to embrace it.
Eric Longfellow
Conyers, Ga.

In response to "White teachers flee black schools": Teacher flight from public schools is a reflection of a breakdown in discipline in the classroom. A teacher who attempts to exercise discipline is all too often faced with the threat or reality of physical harm, a lack of support by the school administration, or a civil suit. The discipline problem is further compounded by local school boards who just want to keep everything "cool" and are therefore not inclined to defend an individual teacher or, for that matter, the school system itself when confronted by legal intimidation.

Teachers, like most human beings, want to work in a safe place where rewards are based on accomplishment. After decades of experimentation, it ought to be obvious that a public school system that puts integration above education achieves neither, and that failure is ultimately reflected in teacher flight from a dispiriting workplace.
Bob Warren
Williamsburg, Va.

Fighting a war on drugs

Regarding your Jan. 17 editorial "Brave new soldier?" and the sad fact of Maj. Henry Schmidt's mistaken bombing of Canadian soldiers: It is fascinating to observe the tragic irony of our government's actions: The US has spent much money, time, and media energy in a "War on Drugs." Meanwhile, the military has been practicing and further developing "War, on Drugs." It's a mixed message for our children to not use drugs until they're in the military and flying long, dangerous missions in highly questionable wars.
Kimberley Lueck
Minneapolis

Marriage: beyond a daughter trade

The Jan. 15 article "May I have your daughter's hand?" was old-fashioned and demeaning to women. I see no problem with a couple talking over prospective marriage plans with future in-laws. However, for the future groom to ask the father for permission to marry his daughter, puts the daughter in the position of being chattel and not having a say regarding her future. I am wondering what the young man would have done if the father said "no." If they then went ahead and were married, it would be in direct disobedience to the father's wishes. Hardly helpful to family harmony.
Marge Thornton
Tempe, Ariz.

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