Author: Joshua Thompson
In one of the most outrageous instances of flat-out unconstitutional intentional discrimination that I have come across in a while, I present Dicken Elementary School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It seems that a group of black students were given a field trip to go see a renowned rocket scientist. Only the black students. Asian students could not go. A Muslim girl could not go. The white students were prohibited from going.
How does the principal justify such blatant discrimination? "It was not a wasted venture for I know one day they might want to aspire to be the first astronaut or scientist standing on the Planet Mars." Yeah, that Muslim girl might be too? Might not the white kids want to hear from a renowned rocket scientist?
Of course, this produced a backlash from the students prohibited from going. They booed the black students upon returning to their classroom. (Great job at promoting equality, Principal Mike Madison.) And the principal that authorized this ridiculous trip, proceeded to lecture those students prohibited from going. According to the article, "[p]arents have complained he was yelling at the class and belittled a Muslim girl who said she also had experienced racism and discrimination."
In addition to the blatantly racist nature of this program, if you want to teach racial tolerance, wouldn't it be beneficial for a bunch of non-black students to see a successful black rocket scientist speak? Wouldn't that help them to see that black students can rise to great heights?
Of course, this discriminatory action is prohibited under the Equal Protection Clause, but let us not forget that Michigan has, like California, prohibited school districts like Dicken Elementary from granting any preference on the basis of race in public education.