Every town has its battles for Brookline while vastly diverse in its community makeup, the underlying racism now appears to be the problem.
For those who have been raised here the racism isn’t so obvious unless you want a job within the town’s administrative structure. Then you’re definitely out of luck despite whatever qualifications you might have. Don’t get me wrong, you can get a job as a police officer, firefighter or teacher, even a principal in an elementary school. But you won’t get the job as the High School Headmaster or Town Selectman.
Unfortunately the racism trickles down to the children from the adults. I can tell you a bunch of stories, but I will share just two. My twins were in preschool at the Heath school. They came home one day in November of 2005. The older of my twins was crying as she couldn’t understand why her classmates had been so mean to her. Apparently they had told her that I couldn’t be her real mother because my skin was darker than hers and my hair wasn’t like hers so she had to be adopted. The second story involved my youngest daughter when she was in 2nd grade at Pierce on picture day in October of 2010. My daughter was in line and a girl tapped her on her shoulder saying you’re supposed to be at the back of the line because you’re black. The woman taking the picture told her that wasn’t true and to stay where she was. The young girl said to my daughter that no one would take her picture because she wasn’t pretty enough. My daughter wouldn’t tell me who the girl was, I knew she had to know who it was, but I’ve always assumed that it just hurt her too much to think about it, so she just put it out of her mind.
Despite these ugly truths I find myself continuing to love the town I grew up in. At this point, I just want to find a way to ensure that me, all of my children and my family can live happily here in this place that we know to be our home. We will continue this dance with race upon our table.
They Dance with Race on the Table©
By Felina Silver Robinson