May 29, 2014

A Latino mother is outraged that the West Contra Costa Unified School District held the African American Students of Honor Ceremony on Monday, calling the event racist for excluding other district students.

“I completely disagree with the school district’s decision to exclude all other races from the ceremony,” wrote Pinole resident Rachel Carranza in a letter to Bruce Harter, superintendent of WCCUSD.

Carranza argued that more than 50-percent of WCCUSD students are of Latin American descent. She offered data she says shows that Latino students “mirror their African American counterparts in all levels of proficiency and academic performance.”

Carranza’s letter is below:

complaint.5-29complaint.5-29 (2)complaint.5-29 (3)


  1. First I would like to give these students the praise they deserve,it has been a long time waiting for this recognition of our young African American students,it seems that in this day and age a lot of people are still in the dark ,not understanding that Any history of African Americans in America,has barely even touched the surface in our school system,like how long it took to apply the African American Studies to the class room,however that was by no fault of the students,so it would not be fare for these students to be denied the recognition they have earned,not because they are African American,but because they have earned it,the statistics show the unequal disparity’s that our young African American Students face in every facet of society,just because they are a different race, If you look at the picture from a whole point of view,we should not teach our young people that race is a factor in anything the do in life,by example. I am sure these student did not set out to excel in their education goals simple because they are African Americans. So I would like to see the Latino Students,stand by there fellow students in all of there goals and African American students as well,and understand that when one or the other reaches a goal each and everyone of them will be one more step towards reaching the goals they set out to reach,that’s what helps brake down the barriers. All of our student are wonderful valued highly in my book,and as a parent,it would be a disservice as a parent to thing my child deserved something that other have earned,simply because of race. I agree that the school district should not practice segregation,our student should be learning the lessons of unity and respect for the diversity of cultures and to share in those moments not embrace the race card,when it come to their reaching their goals. I hope that these students as well as the others,see how important it is for them to uphold one another and embrace each other and be glad when they excel,and share the opportunity to celebrated what they have accomplished and involve and include everyone in to that experience,be patience with one another. To all the young people today,don’t feel neglected or left out just hang in there,
    encourage one another and you will go far together.

    Anita Brokaw | May 29th, 2014
  2. In my opinion,the problem I see is that each and every time we as parents encourage race bating in our society and at home,it only takes our children one step away from reaching their full potential,not just in their educational goals but in their personal goals too. We live in a time now were opportunity’s that most of us will never have the chance to see,so why would we allow an issue such as race be a factor in how we guide our young people in to the future,as parents our goal should not be to continue from past mistakes,that have caused a great deal of harm to our society as a whole,our youth have the opportunity to set goals and reach them in ways that will not only contribute to their family’s but to society as a whole. To all of our young people today keep your head up, through all the struggles that seem impossible ,will only fade away, because in time you will see, you too will shine. that day will come .The promise wold be Lost, when the one who seeks it gives up hope that it will be full filled.

    Anita Brokaw | May 29th, 2014
  3. This issue has made me think fora moment,If I remember right,I think it was during,the Cinco Demio event,when they only wanted the Latino flag to be at the event,it was several other incidents,also I just remember that it was about not wanting others to be able to attend and I heard nothing about the fact that it was not a positive view of sharing in the diversity of their culture to exclude other from taken part,however There have been great strides that have been reached in the Latino community and I am proud of them for being true to their culture,it is a gift and a honor to have the opportunity to share it and express it in a way that reflects their place in a divers society. The topic of racism is one that should be address on a mature and valid platform,and the fact that so many of the issue around it ,has gone ignored,overlooked and just assumed that its the way it is,it becomes the norm,for people to act and behave a certain way.,to say that this event held for these students was “racist” because, all students should have been given recognition, has nothing to do with race,however the very statement it self is racist,

    Anita Brokaw | May 30th, 2014
  4. I know these posts are old; regardless, I am compelled to respond.
    I cannot phantom the reasoning behind this reply to Ms. Carranza, “to say that this event held for these students was “racist” because, all students should have been given recognition, has nothing to do with race, however the very statement it self is racist”. Apparently it has everything to do with race if the Latino American student has reach the same level of success as the African American student; unless you are saying these deserving students are different from one another in some other obvious way? Then again, you are attempting to decontextualize “flag flying” at a cultural event (Cinco de Mayo) by comparing it to the recognition of hard work and dedication at an academic event (Honors award ceremony)? I do not know, and you can call me crazy, but; the only thing these two events may loosely have in common is culture. By participating in the celebration of one’s culture, you are proudly displaying your heritage; whereas participating in the other, either confirms or debunks the stereotypical labeling of one’s culture ( underprivileged, unintelligent, unmotivated vs. privileged, intelligent, and driven).
    When speaking of African Americans and Latino Americans, is there a greater historical struggle? Yes, African American were taken from their home land, and although I cannot speak of all Latino Americans, but the home land of Mexican American was taken from them; for that fact, the same is true for the Native Indians. Yes, African Americans share a horrific exploitive history that continues to leave an imprint on their lives; in todays society, the struggles endured by Latino Americans is also undeniable and continuious.
    Although I do not claim to know the degree of disparity among all the ethnic groups it is clear that arguing over past wrong doings will not fix the present or the future. However, I do believe as Ms. Carranza, in that the educational institution is handicapping our youth; by making one feel “less than”, one is less likely to aspire for “better than”, as a result these individuals will continue to be the pawns for racial inequalities while the privileged continue gain power and control over them.
    Ms. Carranza’s letter is addressing the institutional racism that continues to perpetuate inequalities. This is a parent who is simply stating what the educational institution is accomplishing through the practice of segregation. Categorizing by any means, denies all people the opportunity to learn about and gain from other cultures. As far as “wanting to see Latinos stand together”, They Do! However, someone who does not understand the culture, cannot see this. Latino Americans are not as publicly outspoken as other cultures, nor do they display attitudes of entitlement; what they do display is the same parental tenacity you yourself would have towards those who insist on depriving your own child of their accomplishments by excluding their participation.
    On a final note;It is very likely that Ms. Carranza’s nationality is Latino American and her point is clear and concise; she is not an individual attacking another individual. However, by your statement, your intentions are less clear, in my opinion each of your statements fail to produce rational thinking, they lack grounding and sensitivity, and clearly ethnocentric and patronizing.
    The point to my response is this: acquiring a education is hard, if we allow institutions to place us at the back of the line, we would starve to death. However, if one manages to acquire a higher education and continues hold themselves as separate, they have accomplish nothing. We must let the world know how much we have grown; stand together, we can conquer.

    Michelle | Apr 8th, 2015