Vail Daily letter: Blatant racism
Ryan Summerlin October 29, 2013
I’m writing in response to the ‘No on Amendment 66’ letter printed on Oct. 21. Not to argue on behalf of the amendment, because I’m voting “no,” but to call out the disgusting racism inherent in the arguments against the measure within the letter. For the record, I am white.
Having concerns about tax dollars leaving the county is one argument to be made, but that’s not the case presented. The plainly stated complaint is money going to “ESL kids.” Just look at this quote: “ESL kids getting 40 percent more money than Anglos is not fair.” He’s making “Anglos” and “ESL kids” mutually exclusive! Clearly, in context we are talking about non-white kids; ESL becomes a bigoted code word for these children and their families. And it’s stated “these ESL kids” already get free daycare, medical, food stamps, etc. through tax dollars; but 40 percent of SNAP and 38 percent of welfare recipients are white. The truth of the matter is that those opposing 66 with arguments like these begrudge help and equal opportunity of education to certain students, not because they are in a different county, but specifically because they are brown and poor.
The author writes that he doesn’t want his Anglo taxpayer dollars (which by the way, is one of the most patently absurd and racist ideas I’ve ever heard) funding the “better” education of ESL (non-white) kids. I don’t know what special kind of money “tax-paying Anglos” use that should only benefit their specific kids, but it’s not even doing it here in Eagle County because our district does an amazing job of serving a diverse population and offering additional programs to all students in need, including ESL. I guess all the poor and/or non-white kids in our district are just lucky to go to school with the kids of tax-paying Anglos like these!
If folks are so concerned with fairness, I would like to know how it’s fair to punish counties with more low-income, at-risk, and ESL families to a lower amount of state funding than those with richer families? It isn’t — unless you’re biased in favor of mostly white, often more affluent, districts. It simply isn’t logical to see helping some kids overcome very real educational obstacles as leading to the “dumbing down” of “Anglo kids.” I guess it makes sense if you buy into a racist, zero-sum game.
The proposed distribution is clearly meant to help higher-needs children reach the level other kids are already at and close performance gaps caused by inequity. This is my town, my community, my state. Not only is it ethical, it’s in my best interest for all students passing through the system who will soon surround me as adults to achieve success to the best of their abilities, not to the best of their parents’ pocketbooks or “Anglo” skin.
There are no words in this language or any other to express the depths of revulsion and outrage I feel toward this blatant racism.