Wednesday, September 05, 2007

NPR profile of Rhee

NPR has a profile of new DCPS Chancellor Michelle Rhee.

The piece touches on one aspect of both Chancellor Rhee and Mayor Fenty's tenure that I find, frankly, pretty disturbing:
A double-Ivy League graduate, Rhee has no prior experience running a school system. Also, as a Korean-American, her appointment is criticized by some who question her ability to lead a majority-black public school system. Supporters point to Rhee's past work with Teach for America, a program that places young teachers in under-resourced urban and rural public schools. [emphasis added]
I've read about similar complaints being made of the makeup of Mayor Fenty's administration, i.e. that its not "black enough."

Let us, for the sake of argument, imagine that the city of Des Moines, Iowa, a city whose public school system is majority white, hired a non-white superintendent. This superintendent comes with credentials out the wazoo, an impressive CV and a long list of recommendations.

Now, imagine kind of outrage that would ensue if anyone questioned this person's ability to lead a public school district based solely on the fact that they weren't white? Do you think the likes of NPR or the New York Times would dignify that sort of blatant bigotry by treating it as some sort of legitimate point of contention? Hell no. They'd call it what it is: racism. So, when the roles are reversed, why do the likes of NPR or the Washington Post or NYT dignify the arguments that Rhee's race makes her somehow less qualified to run DCPS or that Fenty's administration is "not black enough" as legitimate? Its racist crap, pure and simple.


Matthew K. Tabor said...

You're right on target - even addressing those complaints as legitimate is shameful.

NPR, the Times and others do this often. It's true that they're just reporting the news; after all, that question has been raised and also touched on by Rhee herself in the past [remember her "I know what you're all thinking, what's this Korean lady doing up here?" type comment?].

I don't understand why they write on such points - there's just so little value in it. I'd rather they devoted the real estate on their pages to more important issues.

Anonymous said...

What part of this did I miss? NPR stated facts whether or not we agree or disagree they are the facts?
She has little experience and she is a Korean-American heading a predominately Black American school system.

Yes, a school system in Iowa would be up in arms if they hired anyone other than a white person to run the system that is why there aren't any superintendents of color leading large white districts. If I miss one please inform me.