Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Even the storms are unfair!

Storm season is upon us again. Storm Ali is approaching the North of England, we are warned. There might be winds of 80 miles an hour. Beware of flying debris, they tell us. It was certainly windy when I ran this morning but not yet strong enough to blow me away.

In one of the odd anomalies of the unequal world we live in, the people most affected by the floods caused by hurricane, later storm, Florence, are the ones with the least likelihood of escaping easily. The poorer people live in the lowest-lying areas of the towns in the path of overflowing rivers. There are stories of family being evacuated but having to trudge to shelter through the rain, carrying food and clothing with them. This is a country where we somehow imagine every family having a car.

We should think ourselves lucky only ro have to dodge some flying debris!

I read two reports yesterday about making amends.

The University of Glasgow feels the need to “make amends for having had funding from slavery centuries back. All the stuff from the past keeps coming back to bit us in the leg. What kind of amends can the university make? And would it exist today without the funding it received in the past?

On the other hand there is this story about Dorothy Counts, a black girl in America selected to go to a white school as part of a desegregation programme in the 1950s. She must have been amazingly strong to walk into the school with white students spitting at her, encouraged to do so by their parents in some cases.

A man who appeared as a boy in the photo of Dorothy determinedly ignoring the catcalls and abuse apologised to her years later as an adult. They worked together on fighting segregation. Now that kind of apologising and making amends, on a personal level, makes a lot more sense to me than an institution like a university making a big thing about it.

Unfortunately the article about Dorothy Counts points out that the segregation in schools that she fought so hard to combat is creeping back in. Parents who have moved to smaller towns like Charlotte, for a better life for their children, living in gentrified suburbs (safe, no doubt, from flooding) are withdrawing their children from schools in the state system. The state schools then become segregated once more.

I wonder what happened to the idea of contributing to the community you live in. If all the children are educated together then all parents can strive to improve the education system for all. And the children can learn tolerance and acceptance of others at the same time.

No comments:

Post a Comment