MONROE COUNTY’S SECRET ROADMAP TO RESEGREGATION

busses resized

It’s 7:30 am at the bus stop on Truman and Emma.  Eleven-year old Dimitri is about to climb into the morning school bus.  Like him, most of the kids sitting on the bus are African American.  Like them, he has a mere 40% probability of graduating from high school with his classmates; a stark difference from his white brothers, who have an 83% graduation rate [2013 data].

When we interviewed parents in Bahama Village about this disparity their responses raised an unexpected red flag.

“I didn’t want my son to go to HOB,” says the mother of a fifth grader, “He’s going to the white school.”

BP:  “The white school?  What do you mean?  What white school?” Continue reading

Blue Lagoon Children: A Hard Landing Into Key West’s Racial Divide

Bhajan and Naomi

Naomi and Bhajan grew up on boats anchored behind Wisteria Island.  Like many other kids living on the anchorage, they explored the island, sang for tips at Mallory Square, and rowed back and forth on kayaks to boat sleepovers.   When Hurricane Wilma sunk most boats, the families moved onto Wisteria Island for a time.  With no TV or computer, Bhajan and Naomi became avid readers and, of course, in keeping with the tradition of their bohemian lifestyle – they never went to school – until this year that is.

In 2013 they both decided that at 16 it was time to start wearing shoes and meddling with those “house kids”.  They both enrolled in Key West High School.  But, this new experience was met with very differing results.  At this point it is important to mention that Bhajan is white and Naomi is black (at least half black; her father is steel band musician and singer Toko Irie.)

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