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Texas’ Jim Crow-Styled Highland Park ISD

May 23, 2022

On May 22, 2022, the Wall Street Journal published this story about three remarkable sports figures who graduated from Texas’ Highland Park Independent School District (HP ISD)– without mentioning HP ISD’s prolonged and quite intentional history focused upon establishing and maintaining white privilege.

On Twitter, Southern history writer Joshua Benton relays in impressive detail HP’s efforts at preserving their whiteness in their community and their ISD.

Below is Benton’s discourse, which includes commentary by Chinese-American author Jamie Ford, who in 2017 spoke at HP ISD (“I’ve visited 100+ schools. HP was the only one where students called me a chink.”)

Originally tweeted by Joshua Benton (@jbenton) on May 22, 2022.

Let me close with the “Dear Highland Park” video referenced above, a 2020 effort by HP ISD students to address the “us versus them” attitude of race entrenched in school and community– and where “us” means “white.” One request that a student makes of HP ISD is that it “invest in educators and administrators of color, with precautions against tokenism.” Another student comments that for over a century, Highland Park has been known as a “sundown town”– unsafe after dark for people of color. In reference to the murders of persons of color including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, yet another student asks, “your students have cried, petitioned, and protested, but where are you?”

There is so much pointed content to this 24-minute video, and what has HP and HP ISD done in response since its creation two years ago? Not much, it seems.

Watching the video on Youtube allows one to read the comments– an education in themselves.

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