Blair featured in The Washington Post Magazine


April 4, 2004, midnight | By Caitlin Garlow | 16 years, 9 months ago

Blazers illustrate the post-Brown v. Board world


The Washington Post Magazine featured Blair in the article "Beyond Black and White," by Ylan Q. Mui on April 4.

The article was included as part of a series of features in the April 4 issue examining the failures and triumphs of integration since the Brown vs. Board of Education decision 50 years ago.

In "Beyond Black and White," Mui introduced readers to students at a school where "everyone is a minority," as one Blair teacher put it. Blair's demographics show that no racial group exceeds 35% of the total population.

The article used Blair's break-dancers to provide the perfect example of a group of students from all different backgrounds who come together with ease. The Washington Post profiled several student break-dancers including Izal Saddler, Josh Gist, Doula Favian Makao-Scheid and Jesse Galef.

Galef, a senior in the Mathematics and Computer Science Magnet, attributes some of the old divisions in the school to scheduling. Many Magnet and Communications Arts Program (CAP) students find that even their regular classes are filled with other CAP and Magnet kids, and they only have a few chances to see new faces, Galef said.

However, according to The Washington Post, in many Blair classrooms, race is not an issue. In fact, "many students at Blair maintain that they simply don't think about race." Also, discerning the ethnicities of students can prove to be a difficult task, the article said, citing Rich Porac's health class as an example.

"Beyond Black and White" also observed that outside of the classroom a few extracurricular activities and sports teams "break down along racial lines." According to The Washington Post, most participants on the tennis and volleyball teams are Asian, while the Ultimate Frisbee team is almost uniformly white. The step team is mainly composed of African American females.

However, principal Philip Gainous upholds that he notices kids from all backgrounds and educational levels mingling every day. He often sees "communication arts students tutoring immigrant kids," and the library filled with many different types of students.

Students at Blair say that they have formed "friendships that cross previously impermeable color boundaries without a second thought, or even a first thought," and that for the most part, "there is little overt racial animosity," according to The Washington Post.

Fifty years after the Brown vs. Board of Education decision, during a time when schools across the country "are actually resegregating…not growing more diverse," Blair students provide many examples of times when "race sometimes matters a great deal and sometimes doesn't matter at all."

The original article can be read here.

To see a video of the break-dancers, click here.



Tags: print

Caitlin Garlow. Caitlin is a second-semester senior at last. Her favorite things include making fun of her homeless sister and hunting down her clothes in other people's closets. More »

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