In wake of renaming, school board seeks to address discrimination | June 8, 2018 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - June 8, 2018

In wake of renaming, school board seeks to address discrimination

Former district parent tells board: 'Racism here is like the ocean'

by Elena Kadvany

Palo Alto school board members agreed Tuesday night with community members' pleas that they must face head on racism and discrimination that has reportedly occurred in the school district following the controversial renaming of two middle schools earlier this year.

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Staff Writer Elena Kadvany can be emailed at ekadvany@paweekly.com.

Comments

74 people like this
Posted by Terman- ator
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 6, 2018 at 11:31 am

I must admit I have a half-smile reading this .... resolutions, committees,board meetings, reviews, proposals.... the school board hoisted on it's own petard. I could see this coming a mile away. Have fun with the mess you created by going down the renaming path. Unfortunately this is only more time taken away from a focus on more important issues in our schools such as class room size and teacher retention.


2 people like this
Posted by PAUSD Parent
a resident of Community Center
on Jun 6, 2018 at 12:11 pm

These kinds of issues become a priority when one's own child becomes a target of racism or exclusion by those lacking empathy and compassion. If it doesn't, there's another issue altogether.


40 people like this
Posted by Thanks, SJWs
a resident of Professorville
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:09 pm

This is the disgusting, if inevitable, result of the atomization of our nation into competing interest groups. The school board needs to take responsibility for their mistake, apologize to our neighbors of Japanese descent, and never do this again.


66 people like this
Posted by chris
a resident of University South
on Jun 6, 2018 at 2:17 pm

The school board should be recalled. This could have been easily avoided by giving schools generic geographic names.


52 people like this
Posted by stanhutchings
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 6, 2018 at 4:51 pm

stanhutchings is a registered user.

Told you so. But you insisted on renaming after people.


45 people like this
Posted by Old Person
a resident of Green Acres
on Jun 6, 2018 at 5:44 pm

The school board members are idiots! Two are up for election this vote - we need need more candidates!


48 people like this
Posted by Watch Out Racism!
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 6, 2018 at 6:06 pm

Wow, a COMMITTEE- racism better watch out! Palo Alto is coming for you - and we've got a RESOLUTION and a STANDING COMMITTEE! 15 speakers came out to support it!? Wow, it's like an ARMY against evil. So glad the school board is "taking a stand" as Godfrey put it. Racism, you don't stand a chance.


45 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 6, 2018 at 6:22 pm

So much good has come out of this renaming thing. It just keeps giving and giving.
We are all so "woke" now. Our kids are so lucky we are spending our time on this and not that stressful, boring academic stuff or reading the teacher contracts.


19 people like this
Posted by Terman- ator
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 6, 2018 at 6:26 pm

@ Watch out Racism

I assume your comments are tongue in cheek. Our school board is exhibit A of a group bowing to the vocal 2% at the expense of the rest of us. I want our school administrators focussed on "objective" education deliverables and preparing our kids for college. Leave the "subjective " social justice mumbo jumbo to me as a parent- thank you!


17 people like this
Posted by Hawaiian Bob
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2018 at 9:11 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Former parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jun 7, 2018 at 2:22 pm

We’re descending into mumbo-jumbo.
Of course, decency and equality of opportunity are crucial here, as elsewhere in the U.S., as much as possible and leadership and administration do count bigtime for setting the tone.
But you can’t legislate who are friends among chikdren, for example.
But I simply don’t understand this actually divisive talk: what are the merits of it?
Endless racial divisiveness being promoted by the school board does no good at all and is arguably a distraction.

I am neutral on the Yamamoto name; how’s that.....


20 people like this
Posted by Terman- ator
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 7, 2018 at 4:28 pm

@former parent.

" Endless racial divisiveness being promoted by the school board does no good at all and is arguably a distraction."

and helped along by the Palo Alto weekly, they've been partners in this from the beginning. Look at the subtitle of this article. Really?


29 people like this
Posted by Chill
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 7, 2018 at 5:26 pm

Palo Alto is pretty messed up.
"The local Chinese immigrant community rallied against naming a public school after a man who shared a last name with unrelated... "

So is Palo Alto as a whole racist ? thus necessitating all this response, or
should the school board have simply stomped down the local Chinese Immigrant communities rally against a man with a similar name ? Personally I was appalled and opposed the The local Chinese immigrant communities blatant racism but was accused of racism myself for not being "sensitive" to their concerns. Can you be racist for not being "sensitive" to a group of racists ?


8 people like this
Posted by Terman- ator
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Jun 7, 2018 at 5:49 pm

@ chill

yes we are all racists. Through unconscious bias training I've taken we are all either blatant racists or we don't know we are racists but we really are. So let's all of us racists give each other a big hug!


6 people like this
Posted by Rebecca White
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 7, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Elena, I'm not sure if this is your quote or Melissa Baten Caswell's, but certainly as a journalist you could do more than suggest in your piece that there are "anecdotes of African-American students who have experienced racism at school."

If your editor didn't immediately ask you to start investigating those "anecdotes," then the Weekly has really lost it's integrity as a "newspaper."


5 people like this
Posted by Tim
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 7, 2018 at 10:37 pm

We live in an ocean of racism in Palo Alto? Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?


2 people like this
Posted by BringbackCompetenceCourtesy
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 7, 2018 at 10:42 pm

It's too early to rename the schools!

Palo Alto is still practicing eugenics by the lack of support for minorities, low-income and refusing to actually acknowledge disabilities that might require INDEPENDENT education plans of special ed students.

The message is clear - there is never time for the promises of support, some teachers can't bothered to fulfill commitments they make to these kids. This audience isn't very important because we sue the pants off of them if they don't get the message and head out of town, then once we splay their personal information offered up by all the 'CARING' adults at school, I guess the kids have to leave town or head for the next train.


Your race stuff just window dressing, actions speak louder than words. If PAUSD really wasn't racist and elitist it would treat people better, and if the community weren't so passive or caught up in their own stuff, they wouldn't let others get abused. You just spent 1/2 million dollars attacking a family and no one cares. I'll bet you will renew the law firm that destroys children and didn't even think about what that child will do next? $100 bucks the child drops out of school.

Tragically funny how there is never follow-through on the supports we promise the HUR community, these things always seem to stall, we are too busy with weighted grades and renaming schools.

The truth is PAUSD really isn't serious about addressing the needs of HUR as long as the upper crust get their A+ for college. As a member of the HUR I can tell you I am treated like I am dirt. I am not listened to and so my needs are never understood.

But hey, if all AP classes were cancelled because no one got around to it - Wow, can you imagine the outrage?


21 people like this
Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 7, 2018 at 11:09 pm

Palo Alto is sick. USA is too. Why?
A very bad part of the culture is labeling, especially calling out racism and sexism.

People are abusing these words. To me, racism is much worse than using C* word against Chinese and N* word against African American.

Please do not use these words just like chewing a gum. It's dangerous, divisive and annoying.

When you call other people racists, are you inclusive?


16 people like this
Posted by memyselfandI
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2018 at 12:17 am

This is priceless. People who call out racism are now labelled racist. The idea of looking inward and exploring who we are based on anyone else's reality is something most people cannot fathom. As long as we fail at finding a way to do this no attempt to come together as a community will succeed, however many resolutions are passed.


16 people like this
Posted by Pat
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 9, 2018 at 7:17 am

Parent of Two: “Palo Alto is sick. USA is too. “

Not a very good message to pass on to the kids. The article is about a specific case in Palo Alto schools. Why does that cause you to dislike America ?


13 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2018 at 7:59 am

We are a very diverse community. Our culture is complicated. This proves it.

Renaming the schools caused all types of conflict which wasn't there before. We must learn from the past. No more renaming of something established and no more naming after people. Too many people take offense when offense isn't intended and too many people will see the downside of any decision.

This is now the culture of Palo Alto. We must learn to live together and understand that our culture is complicated, confusing, and there are those who will complain and take offense. None of that makes us racist. It should make us cosmopolitan.


9 people like this
Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 9, 2018 at 8:58 am

@Pat

Simply do not like the culture of "labelling".
It does not mean I do not like USA. This is "critical thinking". Is that what kids need to learn?

Praising the city and country while calling others racists does not make us patriots.


26 people like this
Posted by Chill
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2018 at 10:56 am

@ Parent of Two : "Simply do not like the culture of "labelling". It does not mean I do not like USA. This is "critical thinking". Is that what kids need to learn Praising the city and country while calling others racists does not make us patriots."

I think you need to look up the definition of "critical thinking".


7 people like this
Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 9, 2018 at 11:52 am

@Chill

Thanks for pushing me to revisit this.

Interesting. Here you go. Please let me know whether labeling culture matches any of the following definition. What's wrong with disliking this type of culture?

When people call out racism, did they follow the spirit of critical thinking?

Critical thinking is the objective analysis of facts to form a judgment.[1] The subject is complex, and several different definitions exist, which generally include the rational, skeptical, unbiased analysis, or evaluation of factual evidence. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposed assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command to their use. It entails effective communication and problem solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism[2][3] and sociocentrism.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 9, 2018 at 11:55 am

@Chill - just casting aspersions doesn't do much to push the conversation forward. @Parent of two thinks people use the term racist too freely to describe people they disagree with (kind of like "fascist" but with more zing). There's little doubt that's true. Racist has become a term used to shut down conversations and de-legitimize others' positions - almost like a playground taunt at this point, now drawing the "I'm rubber, you're glue" comeback, where both sides accuse the other of "racism." To me, that's not how we make progress on community problems.


6 people like this
Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 9, 2018 at 12:09 pm

@Resident
Exactly. People often call out racism too easily just like saying hello. This is no good.

Not everybody realizes how serious it should be.


15 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 9, 2018 at 12:36 pm

I'd never seen this quote from George Orwell on "fascism," written in 1944:

"The word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley’s broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.... Almost any English person would accept 'bully' as a synonym for 'Fascist'."

We can agree that fascism is bad; but if it is just a name to label your opponents, it's not much more than a tribal signal.


20 people like this
Posted by Chill
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 9, 2018 at 12:51 pm

@Resident: George Orwell was an author - not a linguist.

@ Parent of Two : "Simply do not like the culture of "labelling". <- This is not "critical thinking".

@ Resident: "just casting aspersions doesn't do much to push the conversation forward."...."We can agree that fascism is bad; but if it is just a name to label your opponents, it's not much more than a tribal signal."

The article is about injustice done to Mr. Yamamoto and his family by a segment of the Palo Alto population (identified in the article as "The local Chinese immigrant community "). It was racist, ethnocentrist, and predjudice on the part of that group. I'm not sure why you are bringing up Fascism.


9 people like this
Posted by Parent of Two
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jun 9, 2018 at 1:12 pm

@Chill

Thanks for showing me your critical thinking skill by freely adding racist, ethnocentrist, and prejudice. You have done great job here.

Good example of "mainstream" culture.

Other than that, I am speechless.


19 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jun 9, 2018 at 1:14 pm

@Chill, I think most agree that Orwell had as much insight on the use (and particularly mis-use) of political language as anyone writing in the 20th century. Here's a description of his 1946 essay, "Politics and the English Language:"

The essay focuses on political language, which, according to Orwell, "is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind." Orwell believed that the language used was necessarily vague or meaningless because it was intended to hide the truth rather than express it. This unclear prose was a "contagion" which had spread to those who did not intend to hide the truth, and it concealed a writer's thoughts from himself and others. Orwell encourages concreteness and clarity instead of vagueness, and individuality over political conformity.

I brought up the term "fascism" because, like "racism," it was so over and mis-applied to become meaningless, except as a taunt or pejorative. Your (and others) use of "racism" to cover the current case is an example.


3 people like this
Posted by Jagjit
a resident of JLS Middle School
on Jun 13, 2018 at 6:35 pm

By simply labelling one group of residents to racist to let opponents shut up, you did a great job.


Like this comment
Posted by Who wins ?
a resident of Barron Park
on Jun 14, 2018 at 9:16 am

But according to the article, the racists won. The city is now trying to restore some balance by attempting to mitigate the damage done by all the racism.


1 person likes this
Posted by SallyAnnRudd
a resident of Downtown North
on Jun 20, 2018 at 6:39 am

I was at Channing House with some kids from my daughter's school, the subject of the renaming came up (we were a group from Jordan) and one of the residents asked who was Henry Green, the person Jordan will be named after. I replied he was African-American and from Palo Alto. Then she asked me why they'd named the school after a janitor. Words fail.


1 person likes this
Posted by Retired
a resident of College Terrace
on Jun 20, 2018 at 1:42 pm

Actually Greene, by all accounts a fine person, was not from Palo Alto and never lived here. His Palo Alto connections were tenuous - he had an office here for part of his career. Such are the politics of school naming.


1 person likes this
Posted by send names to Texas
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jun 20, 2018 at 1:46 pm

Maybe we can use some of these good names for the walmart in Texas where they're holding asylum-seeking kids in cages. Heck, they call three of the camps "tender age" camps. Clearly need a better name.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.