“Crash” and the MMSD – Race Relations at the Intersection

A few months ago, I saw the movie “Crash” on a recommendation from Barbara Golden, founder and leader of MAFAAC. This movie has an ensemble cast and I highly recommend that you see this movie when it comes out on DVD. The movie talks in depth about race relations, stereotyping and racism.
The subject of race comes up frequently related to the Madison School District. More and more our schools are being asked to address societal issues particularly regarding race. During a Performance and Achievement committee meeting on Monday August 29th, Shwaw Vang, chair of the committee led a very spirited conversation about Hmong student attendance and race relations. This discussion was coupled by presentations from district staff Jeannette Deloya and Diane Crear. Attached are the presentations and statistics that show a series of meetings and plans to address Hmong student performance and that the school district is improving its race relations among its student body.

I often wonder about our district’s race relations and its impact in our community. Regardless of how many presentations we receive from Glen Singleton, Ron Ferguson, John Odom, Donna Ford and others there will still be challenges regarding race.
I believe I saw “crash” in real life and its impact within the school district. As a firefighter for the City of Madison I respond to many emergencies. Last week, my firefighting crew responded to a car accident that involved people from different nationalities. The uncle of the hurt passenger stated about the passengers in the other car, “Of course, they don’t have insurance, they don’t even speak English!” The niece of the person who said this yelled back, “That is a totally racist remark – Don’t say that!” That child (the niece) is a student in the Madison Metropolitan School District.
To hear one of our MMSD students make such an enlightened response gives me hope that our schools can make a difference in race relations!
Download file Hmong Attendance Power Point
Download file Summary of Effect of Race on Climate