However, more minorities in a school does not always bring diversity. This is something that I learned recently through hard experience with Alicia's class at Tobin School in Cambridge. The class was almost entirely composed of minorities -- Alicia was the only white female in the class. The social results of this were quite clear to me when I chaperoned a field trip for the class: She was completely excluded. Even when trying to get her and her group together for a picture, it was obvious that she was left out.
There was absolutely no integration program of any kind at the school to try and help Alicia, who had just moved from an almost-entirely white school in New Hampshire, adjust to the new social setting she had gotten into. Apparently such a program used to exist, but was chopped by city administration.
This was my first experience with integration of groups which would regularly be minorities not leading to greater diversity. I never really understood before how someplace could have that happen. It was a very weird experience for me. Growing up in St. Charles, and later in Manchester, I was used to a very very small number of non-majority students in all of my education. Trying to make people understand that Alicia was suffering due to the complete lack of social integration with the rest of the group was hard to do without seeming racist.
I think that it was important for Alicia -- it taught her what it is like to be a minority, to be outside the standard circles that the rest of the people around you are in. This is still something that I've never had to do, however, and I have no idea how I would handle it if i did. I'm glad that she's gotten into someplace that seems much better for her now.
It is very strange that minority integration does not necessarily lead to diversity, but it's definitely true, and something that I never would have realized before moving to Cambridge and seeing it for myself.