It’s hard to be diverse when you don’t know what the word means. The San Francisco School Board is showing their ignorance. As they demand diversity, they turn away one of the most diverse candidates they could hope to find.
The Parent Advisory Council is comprised of volunteers. This means that the school board is at the mercy of parents who are willing to volunteer.
A gay father was denied a spot on the council during a recent meeting.
Is it that they’re homophobic? Not at all.
The gay father was denied because of his race.
Apparently, when the school board said they wanted diversity, they really were looking at race, and race alone.
Really, however, they need to come out and say what they want: they wanted a black parent on the council.
Seth Brenzel is not only a gay father, but he’s also the parent of mixed-race children. That’s about as diverse as you can get. He was also unanimously endorsed by the other parents who sit on the Parent Advisory Council.
With four open seats, the council noticed that they were lacking representation from LGBTQ families. More specifically, they also needed experience with foster youth. Brenzel is able to check both of those boxes.
Brenzel and his husband have adopted children.
There’s still a problem, though. Brenzel isn’t diverse in the way that the school board actually wants. The problem? He’s not black.
What’s funny is that in their effort to be diversified and inclusive, they’re being racist and biased.
Matt Alexander, the school board commissioner, decided he wasn’t going to hold back. He expressed concern that Brenze’ls appointment would “over-represent white parents.”
A community member who attended the school board’s appointment event “public shaming.” Another community member noted that Seth would be the only male and the only LGBTQ member. Oh, and he has a mixed-race child. Yet that’s still not enough because Seth, himself, has white skin.
It’s not as if they have a long line of black parents looking to sit on the advisory council. It’s not as if the council is looking to bypass that line in order to give the position to Brenzel.
Alison Collins, the School Board Vice President, seems to be taking her own hang-ups about diversity out on Brenzel. She finds it “offensive” when people say that a parent of a mixed-race child is qualified to represent that community. She, being a mixed-race person of her own admittance, believes that Brenzel shouldn’t be allowed to represent his own children since he’s not a person of color.
Brenzel’s appointment on the board ended up being tabled. The Parent Advisory Council will have to look at appointing a more diverse group.
San Francisco is a mess. The school board is so desperate to end “pervasive systemic racism” that they’re not bothering to look at how divisive they’re being.
Where are these diverse individuals that they want to sit on the advisory council? Volunteers are needed – and if more people of color don’t want to come forward to fill the positions, they’ll have to deal with what they get – and assume that people aren’t going to be racist.
Not all white people are racist – yet it seems that everyone who sits on the San Francisco School Board is. You cannot claim that you want diversity and, then, reject the most diverse candidate you will ever get.
The reality is that the school board is racist and divisive. They want black parents. More importantly, they want black parents of black children. Anything less than that and they’ll continue to complain that there is systemic racism.
They’re part of the problem, not part of the solution. You cannot make demands of a community, specifically when the members of the community that you are so desperate to include are not interested in stepping up. You also cannot continue to punish the members of the community who are stepping up and who do want to make a difference.