When Racism Becomes A Cliché, We All Lose

After a year of arguably the most restrictive lockdowns in the nation, Los Angeles County has said that it will beginning trying to allow schools to resume in person classes in the near future.

The teachers union, United Teachers of Los Angeles, is strongly opposed, and the union’s president Cecily Myart-Cruz calls the move for in person learning “structural racism”. I am not quite able to understand how getting children back to schools is racist. But I CAN understand how not letting them back in schools could be implicitly racist.

Lower income households in Los Angeles Co. are disproportionately minority families. With no in person schools, upper income households can make arrangements for in home help, private tutors, or enroll their children in private schools that have in person classes. Lower income and minority households do not have those options. Further, lower income households are disproportionately those that work in the service industries and do not have as many work from home options. As a result, those parents more often have to physically go to work and do not have the work at home options that would allow them to be at home with school age children. So they are often faced with a choice of missing work or leaving their school age children alone while they work.

Far from what Union President Myart-Cruz claims, the real hurt experienced by minorities is not opening schools to in person learning. It not only affects low income and minority children more, but also affects their working parents more. One way to help would be if there was a school choice program, allowing low income households the option to enroll in private schools if they so choose. The Union is against that, too.

So what we really find is that Myart-Cruz just threw out a claim of ‘racism’ for no real reason other than that is a standard ‘go to’ thing to do in certain quarters. When people disagree, you call them racist. This time, however, it just makes the United Teachers of LA look stupid. There may be arguments in favor of continuing virtual learning, but racism is not one of them and to make that charge when it so obviously wrong degrades it in situations when there are legitimate racial concerns.  Myart-Cruz and United Teachers have done just that and should be ashamed.

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