An essay by George Packer in this month’s Atlantic absorbed most of my commute yesterday. It’s titled, “When The Culture War Comes for The Kids,” and it relates Packer’s and his wife’s struggles to honor their values and do right by their kids in New York City schools, both public and private. That struggle is mostly centered on values of racial and ethnic diversity, as well as a belief in the importance of public education for democracy. It feels like an acute struggle in New York, but it’s present everywhere. The essay is troubling, engrossing, and deeply personal. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It’s not online yet, though, so you’ll have to find a copy of the print edition. I’ll even loan you mine.
Here are two quotes from it that I’ll be chewing on for awhile:
“Identity alone should neither uphold or invalidate an idea, or we’ve lost the Enlightenment to pure tribalism.” And . . .
“Constantly checking your privilege is one way of not having to give it up.”