|Articles, Campus Life, Family/Parenting, Media Archive, United States on 2015-05-06 16:12Z by Steven|
The Seattle Globalist
“Welcome to Seattle Public Schools!” it reads happily. I’m cheerfully advised to use a checklist following to help me enroll my child in kindergarten.
Okay, I think. No problem. My eyes scroll down the checklist: Admission Form, Certificate of Immunization Status, Special Education Form, and School Choice Form. Got it.
I start filling in the Admission Form. It doesn’t take long to get to page 3, “Student Ethnicity and Race”:
“INSTRUCTIONS: This form is to be filled out by the student’s parents or guardians, and both questions must be answered. Part A asks about the student’s ethnicity and Part B asks about the student’s race.”
I heave a huge inward sigh and put the paper aside for the day. Maybe I’ll come back to that one tomorrow, I reflect. But I don’t. I don’t come back to it for at least a week. Actually probably more like two weeks.
This is part of the process of enrolling your child in Seattle Public Schools (SPS). You have to state your child’s race and ethnicity. It’s not optional. And there is an entire one-page form dedicated to that declaration, which in my mind shows the clear significance of labeling a child’s so-called race and ethnicity to the district.
Given that my partner and I are both mixed-race identifying and have endured a lifetime of checking boxes that (hold your breath) might or might not fit, I find these types of forms exhausting. One, they never fit anyone and everyone just right. Two, they are generally and perpetually confusing. Three, they are almost always deeply racializing — they make us feel our bodies are “raced” whether we want to or not. And four, they are pretty suspect in their intentions.
Read the entire article here.