I'm ALL FOR everyone being unique... or belonging to a certain group that shares common interests, or of social/political cultures etc other than my own.  I was taught that people have more in common than there are differences, and to respect individuals for who they are -- not for the color of their skin, religion, age, sex, etc etc etc.

So for me, dealing with overt -and- covert racism/bigotry is a difficult thing.  I don't respect racists and bigots, who most often are small-minded people with no spiritual understanding of their place on this planet.  When I personally am subjected to racism and bigotry, I GET ANGRY, as there's usually no way to "get through" to people who marginalize others due to their affiliations -- chosen or not.  In a work enviornment most marginalized people find it's best to just keep their mouth shut if they want to keep their job, and most of the time they do... which means there's a LOT of simmering anger just under the surface of how we all work together --  or not.  But as in with most cases of racism/bigotry, it's the MAJORITY THAT RULES... which means if racism indeed DOES exist on our campus between us adults, being a white male is just about at the bottom of the heap.  Is it racist to say that?  I don't think so.

The REAL racists (and bigots, which deal more with intolerant attitudes of others) are bad enough in us ADULTS -- but run RAMPANT and UNCHECKED among the kids.  Years ago, I asked my black JCO 6 if I could refer kids for using the term (gotta make sure to spell this right) "nigga".  Hearing this term is extremely offensive to me.  It makes me cringe.  I get tensed up.  It's disgusting to me as someone who has a history of carrying protest signs up and down major cities on the West Coast "back in the day" in support of equality... not just for the races, but farmworkers, women, gays, etc.  I don't want to hear slurs like "fag" and "bitch", either.  Not from anyone of any age.

The 6 gave me permission to refer kids that used that term, after other appropriate interventions, of course.  But when I came to realize that no of the other black staff seemed to mind -- or notice -- the use of this term, I eventually gave up trying to change the way the kids talk to each other.  Guess it's THEIR culture and it's OK with them, so why should I mind?  I'd almost pity them.  Apparently they will have to learn for themselves to have some pride in who they are.

But I DO mind.  I mind a LOT.  I recently heard kids at the school taking racial invective to the absolute limit... one kid asked why notepaper was white; why couldn't it be black with white lines??  DUH!!  They went on and on and on, baiting her, saying the most horrible and foul things their sick little minds could come up with to this teacher who was only trying to help them.  I durn near threw up.  I certainly would not have come back to work another day if subjected to that kind of verbal hate abuse... and want to express my utmost respect for TYC teaching staff who have  been putting up with this every day for years now.   NO amount of money would be enough for me to try to accomplish anything in that kind of environment.  The poor kids!!  They'll never again be in a position to take advantage of a free education; instead,  all they do is torment the teachers to see if they can make them blow a gasket.  It's beyond disrespectful.  It's not worth the effort and is simply a WASTE of time and money to try and teach the willfully ignorant..

What needs to happen is an official policy of zero tolerance for those who advocate gang behavior or organized disruption and/or attempts to take unfair advantages in regards to race (etc).  This would apply to employees AND kids.   I'm sick and tired of it!