With the economy booming and a huge surplus of government cash, politicians are looking for ways to spend some of that cash. “Let’s see”, thought the government bureaucrat, “we’ve already got plenty of funding for cancer research, aid to the homeless, the renovation of infrastructure and prisons… I know! We’ll start a hip-hop high school in Portland!”
How much money? According to The Oregonian, we’re talking about $500,000 in the form of federal grants:
REAL Prep Charter Academy, more than three years in the making, is scheduled to open Monday in Portland’s Pearl District to serve students in grades nine through 12. The school’s designers have spent $500,000 in federal grants to get the school and its curriculum up and running.
Why is it important to have a hip-hop high school?
The school is the brainchild of Erica Jayasuriya, mother of a multiracial son who wanted to attend a compelling, culturally relevant high school. She is backed by a board of directors chaired by Juan McGruder, a photographer and musician.
The plan, approved by the Portland School Board, was to create a school where students could find their voices and culture honored; learn skills from and get credit for hands-on work with artists and recording industry professionals; and where core academic lessons would be laced with hip-hop themes.
The Oregonian makes it sound like black culture is otherwise not honored – which strikes me as rather odd when I look at the front page of the issue of The Oregonian, where this story takes a prominent place. There are five major stories on that front page (Sept. 9, 2011): One about President Obama, with a large photo of him (with two white politicians in the background), one is about Portland’s corrupt parking manager (a black man, whose photo is shown), another features two Hispanics and a black woman who had saved a little (white) girl’s life (good for them), another is about a fossil discovered in South Africa and then there’s our story (at the very top, right next to Obama). Of the five stories, four of them involve blacks – three of them in positive ways. As for sheer space on the front page, about 70% of it is dedicated to showing blacks in a positive light. How can this same Oregonian then claim that blacks need to “find their voices”? They already have their voices – in the pages of The Oregonian.
Do white high school students have a voice as whites? That was a rhetorical question; of course they don’t – that would be “racist”. Where are the high schools that are based on classical music? Would any charter school, whose aim was to cater specifically to white students, have a chance at receiving a federal grant? That’s another rhetorical question; let us not forget that this same federal government is perfectly okay with “black pride” and “Hispanic pride” but considers “white pride” to be “offensive” and “immoral”.
In the end, the hip-hop high school failed to open this year. This is all well and good – but I want my $500,000 back!