Letters to the Editor: December 17 – 23, 2020
Changing School Names Covers Up City’s Lack of Racial Progress
As a parent of former George Mason High School students, I read about the renaming of the City schools with a rich sense irony over the hand wringing. It’s such a classic exemplar of the Falls Church bubble.
The renaming of the schools, to salve the conscience of an ever so “woke” community, when in fact it’s a total whitewash. Several have noted that Falls Church City has a fundamental, foundational legacy of white supremacy, a city that literally tailored itself to preserve white supremacy in its voting booths.
The City coughed up one third of its land so as to exclude blacks, which accounts for the reason why it is today the smallest city jurisdiction in Virginia. And the wealthiest. And the most white in the entire D.C. area, according the The Urban Institute. Among the black majority land it pushed back to Fairfax County is Tinner Hill, which today the City nonetheless extols in an annual festival tribute. The point is that while it argues amongst itself, the City is the epitome of white privilege, something that it actually has no intention of changing despite “window dressing,” such as changing the names of schools.
Because if the City of Falls Church was truly interested in righting its injustice, if it was truly engaged in doing more than tongue flapping about equity, it would ask Fairfax County to expand to include the residential areas, made up largely of minorities, that it pointedly excluded in the first place. For Falls Church City then could take on the real work, to actually share its wealth, its built up white privilege and resources — such as its high performing high school that could actually then serve with a more diverse and economically needful population Of course, this would threaten the comfort of the sanctimonious name changers, perhaps erode their home values and the average household income in what is the richest little jurisdiction in America.
So, righting its foundational wrong and addressing the original sin of the City is moot. Better to just change the name of a school, and carry on as usual. After all, “we’re allies.” Just let’s be careful where that town boundary is.
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