I was lucky. I lived the diverse life, not by force. As a military brat living primarily overseas (on the Pacific side), this was my exposure. I am eternally grateful for it because I believe that has made me the "diverse" individual that I am.
As a mestiza (a child of mixed race), I grew up with other mestizas and mestizos. This mixture was varied: black with Filipino, white with Filipino, black with Thai, hispanic with Thai, and so on. You get the picture. So my BFFs around me were white, or mixed from many possibilities.
The community we made was military brats. We united based on our common theme of being from a military base.
Our schools were not always community-based. We had to ride to the nearest school that was off the base. However, when I was in elementary school at some bases, I could walk or ride my bike to school.
I have had the best of both worlds.
I like the idea of community-based schools in the world that I grew up in: my kids and I can walk to school, join school activities without driving through traffic everyday, and they mingle with their classmates of all cultures and backgrounds.
Community-based schools also alleviate traffic and the number of buses that need to be employed.
It also allows kids to go to school with friends that they play with _after_ school.
The ole bitties of the neighborhood can watch out for who's good and bad and tell on them.
But my world doesn't discriminate based on class either. Again, in the military, us brats were all one class...except for NCO vs. officers' kids, but in the end, they were part of our community. We all lived in similar housing on the base. No one had a better neighborhood than the other.
I don't have my 'armchair quarterback' answer to this problem. We are facing it BIG TIME here in Raleigh. We were even mentioned in this USA Today article, pointing out the 'desegregation' of schools in our nation.
But I believe strongly that busing 'lower class' communities to schools too many miles away to meet a diversity number is wrong. In Raleigh, when a majority of minorities are working class citizens, this is logistically unfair. These are people with strict job schedules (unlike us white collar workers) who don't have the leisure of working, perhaps, only 8 hours a day, or can take off whenever they want, or can AFFORD to take time off to go to the other end of town and meet with a teacher. It's ridiculous to expect these families to do this...
And I have to ask: who are the biggest proponents for diversity? The yuppie parents, driving around in their big-ass, expensive SUV, drinking their Starbucks, boasting with their fellow McMansioned neighbors about how their little Johnny has a black friend and how culturally diverse he is for it?
Cheesy statement to be revealed: Cultural diversity starts within your heart, your home. You can't FORCE it. You can't put a statistic to it and then stamp yourself DIVERSE and walk around feeling good about yourself.
To what you wanted to see good, has made you blind- Soundgarden