I almost teared up reading Richard Cohen’s recent op-ed about the danger of identity politics. I am ecstatic to find I am not the only one who seldom votes Republican, but finds the Democratic Party of today obsessed with division rather than unity. It’s called “diversity,” but it is the same thing. I am a firm believer in “equity,” but let us all earn it in the same way. Some will need more assistance than others. Let’s be sure they get it. The goal, however, must be the same standards for us all.
Even sound observations such as the recent column about the need for more teachers of color should be seen as a necessary evil, not an ideal. The fact that children learn from “people who look like them,” may be true, but we should constantly work to show that “looks,” ultimately, just don’t matter?
One of the finest moments of my theater teaching career was hearing one of my African American students declare at an awards ceremony that I was a dad to him. What a wonderful moment to know that we were not separated by race, but joined by our love and respect for one another. I had the opportunity to cast him as the 18th century Frenchman d’Artagnan in, The Three Musketeers, and Billy Crocker in the very white 1920s musical, “Anything Goes.” It was his talent that mattered, not anything so irrelevant as skin color. His strength was being uniquely himself.