Posted on July 31, 2021

The Story of My (Racial) High School Education

Stephen Webster, American Renaissance, July 31, 2021

This is part of our continuing series of accounts by readers of how they shed the illusions of liberalism and became race realists.

I grew up in largely white suburbs in the Midwest and South. While there were always a handful of blacks and other non-whites in the public grade schools I attended, they were for the most part no different from my fellow whites. In behavior, dress, speech and socioeconomic background, we were all pretty much the same; it was in the early to mid 1970s, and I don’t believe any of us children were really conscious of race.

That changed dramatically in high school. I went to a school in suburban Atlanta that was virtually all white — typical suburban children from typically suburban families. At first, there were few blacks, and again, other than their skin color, they were pretty much like the rest of us. Then DeKalb County started something called the “Majority to Minority” (M to M) transfer program, a voluntary desegregation plan whereby any student could switch schools if it meant leaving one where his race was the majority and going to one where it was a minority. The program was open to whites as well as blacks — I knew one white student who transferred to a black school to play on a better basketball team — but M to M basically meant blacks transferring to white schools.

These were not the blacks we white suburban kids were used to. They came largely from the Atlanta part of DeKalb, or from the black southern portion of the county, and came by the busload. They most definitely did not dress, talk or behave like us, or the blacks we knew and with whom we were comfortable.

The difference was driven home by an incident one day in the cafeteria when two M to M black girls started arguing. They were soon screaming at each other, using the most vile language imaginable, and then they started fighting. At school I had never seen anything more than a scuffle, but this was an intensely violent “street” fight. The girls — 15 or 16 years old — were punching, kicking, pulling each other’s hair, and clawing each other as if they meant nothing short of murder. None of us had ever seen anything like it. The white children sat in stunned silence, our mouths practically hanging open. The idea of breaking up the fight never occurred to us, although if the girls had been white, someone would surely have stepped in.

One of our assistant principals — a very large black man who was a former college linebacker — ran out of his office and got between the girls. This did not end the fight. As he tried to separate them, they both attacked him with the same animal ferocity. One of the girls picked up a cafeteria chair and swung it at his head. He ducked, but a leg caught him on the forehead, opening up a nasty gash. The whites let out a collective gasp. None of us could have imagined striking a school official, much less hitting him with a chair. In her rage, this black girl had lost all fear and, it seemed to us, something of her humanity as well. The assistant principal wrestled the chair from her and managed to get his arms around her while other administrators dealt with the second girl. They hauled the girls off and, as I recall, we never saw them again.

Although the fight lasted just a few minutes, it had a profound effect on many of us. I believe most of us learned our first lesson in racial consciousness that day. We no longer saw blacks as just like us, only darker. They — particularly the M to M blacks — were different: profoundly alien and potentially dangerous.

The M to M program itself seemed to awaken a racial consciousness in our parents. As the school got more M to M transfers, whites began to leave. White families with children in public schools began moving to other, more distant whiter counties. Blacks bought their homes. As more blacks moved into the area, the schools became blacker, prompting still more whites to leave. When I left that part of DeKalb County in the early 1980s, it appeared to be 90 percent white. Within a decade, it was perhaps 40 percent white. I would imagine the figure today is closer to 10 percent.

If you have a story about how you became racially aware, we’d like to hear it. If it is well written and compelling, we will publish it. Use a pen name, stay under 1,200 words, and send it to us here.