Salon’s “Hipsters For Charter Schools” article; aka “Is it OK to yell ‘racist’ in a crowded debate?”

Recently, Salon published an article titled “Hipsters for charter schools: The big lie ‘Togetherness’ tells about race and education

I see this so often that it really is becoming a cliche.

One side calls the other a racist and ends the debate.  Nothing shuts a debate down faster than calling your opponent a racist.  Utter that word and you win.  Opponents are now forced to defend themselves against your accusation and anyone on the other side who might have jumped in, but won’t now, for fear of being labeled a racist as well.  Debate over.

Yelling racist also manages to alienate the very people with the passion, money and resources who might be able to help your cause.

Parents just want what’s best for their kids.  They see a failing school, that their kids are either in now or heading into. Maybe they don’t feel that they can make changes to an already established system in time to make a difference.  So, they put their hopes into starting something new.

Labeling them racists just serves to reinforce what they already know; you think they’re ignorant fools who shouldn’t be sitting at the grown-up table with smart people like you.

Maybe it’s not, as the article mentions, “the poor kids” or “the bird droppings” they are running from.  Maybe it’s you.

You could have created a simple slogan, “Make This Your Charter School!”® and tried to work together. But you won’t.  I wonder if you’re ready for some of the changes they’re looking to find.  You would rather they see the light and play by your rules.

Work with them or call them racists.  Either way, a change seems to be coming.

If only there were a catchy, one-word, debate-ending label for entrenched bureaucrats who are afraid for their jobs…



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