Wednesday, March 09, 2005


I agree with Kelly that we didn't address race enough last week.

When I worked for the Houston Independent School District in Texas, I had the chance to teach in a very poor part of town, the "Fifth Ward" of Houston's Northside, plus I worked for two years across the street from River Oaks, the city's wealthiest neighborhood.

I enjoyed both experiences, yet, I have to admit that working with the classes of mostly middle class students of Lamar High's advanced classes was more rewarding. These students had significant support at home, plus many years of positive school experiences to reinforce the idea that what they did at school mattered. On the Northside, however, many students came from families that had very little schooling. The school's population was primarily Latino and African American, but more importantly, family income was very low. The vast majority of students qualified for free and reduced lunch programs. Lamar's students were diverse, too, but the advanced classes I taught were heavily skewed toward students of families who were middle and upper middle class. To me (and I could be wrong...what teacher isn't about social matters in school!), it SEEMED as though, regardless of race, students of middle class means hung out with other middle class students. What mattered more to them, it seemed, was whether the student was 'ghetto' in manner and appearance, rather than what color skin she possessed.

So even though race is still somewhat of a predictor of which side of the digital divide an individual might find himself, I would agree with Wilson that focusing on class issues might reach further.


  1. Actually, you're agreeing with Trisha. :) Not that I DISagree, but I don't want to take credit for her post!

  2. Matt, I agree with your comments and with Wilson's article and interview about class issues trumping race issues in many situations, clearly not all situations though. I'm curious about other people's perspective on this...