Students Give Race Relations a Mixed Grade

Northrup High School junior Nikki Goodin and senior Teashia Curry may be sitting side by side at school doing their homework, but their notions as to how comfortably the races interact at their school are more distant.

"I think they mix very well," says Nikki, who is white. "It's not that great," says Teashia, who is black. "At lunch and stuff it's very rare you see black and white sitting together."

But both are quick to agree that they like attending an integrated school. At least, says Teashia, "We're learning about each other."

Talk to different students at different schools in Fort Wayne, Ind., and you'll hear a whole range of opinions on the subject of race relations.

But most tend to come back to a central point: It is right and better to be at school together.

Jenea Anderson, Tonisha Cherry, and Chrystal Nevius, all seniors at North Side High School, take a sunny view of the subject as they lunch together at a Burger King across the street from the school.

"Sure, everybody gets along," says Jenea, who is black. "We respect each other because we're all being educated the same way."

She nods at Tonisha, who is black, and Chrystal, who is white, and says with a smile, "We three are best friends. That should tell you something."

Even students who call racial relations less than ideal agree that they think about the whole topic a lot less than the adults do. Teashia says she once surprised her father by bringing home a white friend from school.

"He wasn't mad," she remembers. "But when she left he asked me, 'Why didn't you tell me she was white?' " Her answer: "I never thought to mention it."

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