Please tick the correct box......

A couple of days ago  whilst filling out yet another form - this one for the Waldorf School in Kenilworth - as I am still hysterically ambivalent as to which education will utlitmately guarantee my two princesses life long happiness, self confidence and worldly success - I came across a curious dilemma:

Right after the box about my financial situation, they asked about the race of the applicant - it says and I quote here:

This information is required by the Department of Education in order to determine the extent to which equity and access are being addressed. It should be the parents and/or family’s own perception of their race and not the racial classification used in the past

 ...followed by a a variety of options to choose from : african/black (this one already gets my hackles up) colored (still getting worse) indian (pretending this is about nationality now, are we?) asian (or even continents??) white (yeah that's me: white with rage/disbelief/anger/) other (hoooorray, we are finally getting there)... so this must be the part where we are moving away from the racial classifications used in the past???

I stared at the boxes for some time:  my first instinct of course was to refuse to answer, the second, to throw the application in the bin, and then I got to number three, picked up the receiver and phoned up the school. The lady who answered me was clearly out of her depth here and not in any way prepared for my rather impertinent questions:

...sooooo (that's me thoughtful) if my child has brown skin and I am a so called white person can I tick the box white?

aehm, yeees (a little reluctant), that's up to the family to decide...

But won't you look at her picture and see that white she is not? (trying not to giggle here)

We are not allowed to determine the race of the child, that is up to the family (with a "and-you-are-getting-on my-nerves" edge to her voice).

--so, why do you ask this question at all, if a family gets to decide what they want to label they kids?( am like a pitbull with a bone aren't I?)

--We have to ask this question as it is a requirement of the department which is still partly funding the school (openly impatient now).

--Oh you mean, you need a certain number of black kids in the school?


--Diversity is the buzzword here (chirpy and upbeat all of a sudden - which made me wonder if an automatic recording system jumps into operation with the use of the B word :-))

--Ok, but help me out here:  I am from Germany, so I don't understand the terms and policies that apply here but: would you prefer me to tick the box next to black instead of white?? (companionable tone of voice, I am just a harmless ignorant alien...)

Yes, that would be appreciated, thank you!

Finally! Got you!

How hilariously idiotic is this? We need a certain number of "black" kids in the school, but are not allowed to tell them that as we want to overcome the racial classifications of the past? And the solution is to let parents to the stereotyping for us?

Well people, in the end I did not tick any box, as the envelope was already posted by my super efficient colleague and the decision was taken out of my hands. Let's see what will come of it. I am not discounting the school yet - will fill you in after our interview - If I ever get one.....


gunnagirls said…
comment via my email
Hallo Martina,
Des Internets nicht maechtig wusste ich nicht weiter, was ich fuer ein ‘profile’ nehmen muss, als ich dir einen Kommentar zu deinem Anmeldungsbogen-Dilemma fuer die Waldorf-Schule schicken wollte. Irgendwie komisch, dass wir uns nie begegnet sind. Ich bin auch eine adoptierte Mama mit 2 wundervollen Kids, wohnte bis vor kurzem in Obs (jetzt fuer ein paar Jahre in Harare, dann wieder zurueck nach CT), heisse auch Martina, komme aus D und bin zu allem Ueberfluss auch noch Waage.

Wenn ich bisher Kreuze machen sollte, welcher ‘Rasse’ ich oder meine Kinder angehoeren, streiche ich immer alles durch und schreibe ‘human race’ hin. Eine Empfehlung des Anthropologen Strauss-Levi Vielleicht schon etwas abgeschmackt aber immer wieder gut, finde ich.

Alles Gute und ich wuerde mich freuen, mal von dir zu hoeren

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