Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How to relax your coloured students

In Concord, California:

A high school divided students by ethnicity for separate pep talks on boosting test scores, featuring jazz music for black students...
Lenny Bruce used to do a skit called "How to relax your colored friends at parties", which featured ice-breaking lines like:
"That Bojangles. Christ, could he tap dance!"
Bruce pretended to be a redneck construction boss making uncomfortable small talk with a black man he finds himself standing next to at a party. At one point, he asks whether his new friend is hungry. "I'm sure they've got some watermelon, or fried chicken, or something...". I guess he could have made sure the black man was feeling relaxed by putting on some jazz while he went to look.
Principal Bev Hansen said she held the divided student assemblies this year and last year to avoid one ethnic group harassing another based on test scores, arguing that the state has long reported test results based on race.

"In this country, race is a very uncomfortable topic, and it's time we got over it," Hansen said.
... by introducing segregation and half-century old racial stereotypes to the classroom.

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