A monologue about a young black woman who is expelled from school for standing up to racism starts a conversation about the high expectations and double standards imposed on students of color in majority-white institutions. Featuring an interview with Angela Antoinette Bey, whose life growing up in Southwest Philadelphia looked very different than the private high school she attended, and an honest conversation with two mother/daughter duos who share the experience being de facto representatives of diversity in mostly white spaces.
In a perfect world every child would receive a quality education. Instead, our nation continues to face an outstanding achievement gap between white and non-white students.
For decades, the children of poor minorities have been expected to attend their respective neighborhood public schools without choice. These schools are historically known to have less than their private counterparts. Less resources, less rigor, less white students and less opportunity for future upward mobility.
Upward mobility is the explanation for why many minority parents who have accumulated more wealth and education tend to choose private schooling for their children over public schools, often with the aid of vouchers and scholarships offered by the private institutions.
Many of these families eventually discover that these allocations come with a great cost. There are current inquiries to determine the true design of opportunities for students of color to attend private schools. Were these opportunities created to benefit these students or to use them as adornments? It is hard to believe the answer not to be the latter when these institutions continue to fall short at supporting minority students both emotionally and socially.
Getting faces of color to fill private school classrooms is only half the battle. Real work and genuine interest are needed in order to stop the ultimate outcome of students of color losing out when attending private schools.
Further reading & resources
Check out this video put together by Olivia Haynes and a number of her classmates at William Penn Charter that digs into her black male classmates' experiences at school.
Click here to learn more about Philadelphia Young Playwrights.
"Pedestals" was performed by Nia Benjamin under the direction of Steve Gravelle
Anne Hoffman helped produce and edit "Pedestals"
Digital content support from Kiarah Cannady