Alan Klein (Alan@klein.net)
Mon, 11 Dec 2000 20:29:02 -0500
----- Original Message -----
From: John Axtell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> I am so out of it I did not understand that our government has managed to
> tax advantages to private schools based on their submission to the value
> being imposed by the government.
You have it a bit wrong here. Tax-free status is a privilege bestowed upon
certain organizations by the people of the United States, through the
government. It is a privilege which is intended to induce individuals and
others to donate to such organizations and for those organizations to be
able to survive with fewer resources than for-profit organizations do. In a
certain sense, it is a means of providing public funds for the operation of
these organizations. (The "public funds" being the money that would
otherwise have been paid to the government as taxes.) The people of the
United States, through their elected representatives, have determined that
discrimination based on such things as race, gender, etc. is unacceptable.
The government, therefore, does not give the privilege of tax-free status
(ie, does not provide public funds) to schools if they practice such
John goes on to say:
> That certainly is the ultimate in
> discrimination. It is the same attitude the gays have. You have to accept
> philosophy but I will not accept yours, or the black's attitude that they
> to join white fraternities but whites are certainly not welcome in theirs.
> government seems to be treating non profit schools like they do marriage.
I have never heard the gay community announce that I must accept their
philosophy, but they will not accept mine, at least as it pertains to their
being gay and my being straight. What the gay community wants is to not be
discriminated against, harassed, and otherwise denigrated simply because
they are gay. They are perfectly willing to not discriminate against,
harass, or denigrate staright people. They simply ask the same favor in
return. This is also true of the black community vis-a-vis race.
The issue of fraternities is a bit stickier, and also includes the issue of
historically black colleges. One problem with allowing anyone into any
fraternity or college is the dilution of the historic "flavor" of the
organization. My numbers show that only 9% of black women and 7% of black
men graduate with a four-year degree, while the nationwide rate for all
citizens is 23%. Blacks make up only about 12% of the population, so those 7
and 9% numbers come from an already small pool. Given this, my guess is that
fraternities and colleges, which have been historically black, will quickly
become white organizations. On the other hand, there is a perfectly
reasonable argument to be made for withholding public funds from such
organizations. It is a difficult issue.
> I strongly believe that the continued separation is of great value while
> integration in some areas continues. I am an American. I am not a Black
> American. I am not an African American. I consider myself an American. I
> linage of British / Scottish and my children have Italian added to them.
> gives them a totally different cultural background than an American Indian
> a totally different value system.
> I do not want them to live in isolation but neither do I want them to
> the value systems of others as acceptable. Their value systems and in many
> cases their cultural value systems are not acceptable to me.
I assume that you are not saying that your childres's values systems are
unacceptable to you, and so I conclude that you are referring to the value
systems of American Indians, gays, and blacks. Obviously, you are free to
accept or reject any value system you so choose. Could you specify an
example or two of a personal or cultural value system that you know that any
of these groups hold, including your evidence for that knowledge? Without
such specificity, I have the sense that you are simply speaking from
personal prejudice and bigotry.
> The previous writer raised an important point as to the lack of Suds
> where minorities live. Is it simply a function of money. Others on this
> have maintained that the financial income of the parents is not the
> reason Suds schools are, or are not, created.
> So the question is - are the values promulgated by a Suds school simply
> valued by minorities. Secondly if the values are not valued by minorities
> type of educational model will be effective with them. What cultural
> must one be sensitive to to serve a diverse educational population, or
> the point a population of total minorities which may be "mixed"
Oppressed groups in this country have seen education (meaning the
traditional school system) as its best chance at moving toward equality and
fair treatment from the majority society. They have also often been the
"guinea pigs" for untried ideas. They are, therefore, leary of straying far
from the traditional system of education, even though they have been the
most poorly treated by it.
Clearly, democratic schools have potential value for anyone. One issue to be
sensitive to, I believe, is the need to see a variety of decision-making
models, from consensus to consent to majority voting (among others) as being
valid. Majority voting is a historical hand-me-down from European culture. I
happen to like it. I also realize that other cultures have other
hand-me-downs from their own traditions, which have an equal claim on the
title "democratic decision-making".
> When minorities discuss their feelings about discrimination based on their
> status I often wonder if they understand the discrimination that is within
> white community based on social class, religious affiliation, sexual
> orientation, weight, physical ability (in sports), need for glasses, and
> ability to relate socially with others.
Have you asked them? In my work with thousands of people on these issues, I
have seen a variety of awarenesses on the part of all people, of all races,
as to their understanding of the varieties of discrimination within the
> The basic beliefs of a Suds school seems to me to accept discrimination
> on the student's right of association. That discrimination may not be
> race or religion but just on what the student wishes to base their choices
> Discrimination is a daily act as a result of choices. Suds schools would
> to give the freedom to the student to choose the form of discrimination
> wish to practice much more than our dysfunctional public school system
> requires "integration" based on race, religion and intellectual ability.
An individual's right to associate with whomever they choose, on an
individual basis, on their own time and using their own resources, is well
protected, in democratic schools and elsewhere in this country. What is not
acceptable is using public (or School Meeting) funds for purposes that have
been deemed illegal. For example, I cannot say, as a member of a School
Meeting, that I wish to associate with Kim in the Chemistry Room, if we have
not both been certified by the School Meeting, through whatever Corporation
is in charge of that room, to use that space. Additionally, I cannot refuse
entrance to another certified person, simply because I choose not to
associate with them. Whom I play with outside, however, is my own business.
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