Just in Case Things Weren't Clear

Redlining map Philadelphia, from the Home Owner's Loan Corporation  

Redlining map Philadelphia, from the Home Owner's Loan Corporation 

My recent post on the importance of effective teaching, school segregation and equitable school funding touched a nerve. On this site it received over 250,000 views. Additionally, it was republished in the Seattle Times, Washington Post, Hechinger Report, New York Observer and the Huffington Post.

The vast majority of the feedback, even from dissenters, was thoughtful and brought up points that I hadn’t considered, or angles I had contemplated but (for reasons of brevity) chose to leave out. The responses pushed me to reconsider some of the things I said in the piece. That is the Internet at its best.

However, one piece of feedback, a letter, stuck out to me. It arrived in the mail at my school this week and I want to share it with you. It reinforces much of what I said in the original piece about the contempt that many people in America have for people of color, and especially for black America.  It was dictated by its author, Ralph Fusco (probably to his paralegal), and I present it here to you as is, unedited and unredacted.

In many ways the letter speaks for itself.

The casualness with which Mr. Fusco denigrates the whole of black America is breathtaking.

Although I disagree with almost every single word Mr. Fusco wrote, I appreciate his honesty and willingness to share his point-of-view. I am guessing, if asked, he would claim “I am not a racist.” As Ta-Nehisi Coates has jested previously, there no racists anymore. It’s apparent Fusco has (probably by choice) had very little interaction with actual black people (he is missing out, we are pretty awesome!).

Mr. Fusco isn’t some unhinged, hood wearing or toothless Confederate flag waver, nor is he a white-supremacist, from a compound in the Far West. He is probably an upstanding member of his community and active member of all the usual community organizations: Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, etc.

I do not believe his views are atypical, only his willingness to put them to paper. Many of our current social ills: un(der)employment, segregated housing patterns, mass incarceration, inequitable school funding, and disparate educational outcomes are underpinned by this type of thinking. It must be combated and public education is the best way forward. This is the work. This is the challenge.

I am glad that Mr. Fusco put it all out there.