By Richard F. Miniter
I attended one of the premier educational institutions in the United States in the nineteen fifties: P.S. 104 on the corner of 95th Street and Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. It’s still there. But as Dr. Thomas Sowell said about one he attended in those years, it might be the “same building” but it’s not the “same school.”
Despite the fact that my wonderful grandmother was a native Swedish speaker P.S. 104 didn’t feel compelled to celebrate my “heritage” the way it would today. They taught me where Sweden was because we studied geography (and don’t we wish our children still did) but not to put too fine a point on it, they knew I wasn’t growing up in Stockholm.
I had a friend whose father was a senior NCO at the Fort Hamilton Army Base a few blocks away and nobody went lyrical about how he, just by being black and therefore “different”, enriched our educational experience either.
I had another friend whose father had flown a Focke-Wulf 200 multi-engine bomber for the Luftwaffe during WWII and it goes without saying that there wasn’t a chance in hell of anybody applauding his antecedents.
Or for that matter the fact that another’s father was deputy something-or-other at the Yugoslav mission to the United Nations, another’s a survivor of the Holocaust or maybe just up from Puerto Rico with the family hoping to start a better life.
None of that mattered.................More