Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Former schools director Pedro Garcia finds "racial code" in Nashville; compares board member treatment to Cuban dictatorship

"Refusal to Resegregate Nashville"

"Racial code ... permeates the culture of our community"

Former Metro Nashville Public Schools Director Pedro Garcia authored a document titled "Refusal to Resegregate Nashville" that has surfaced only now in the context of the city's school rezoning plan. In it, Garcia covers a wide variety of topics related to segregation and his history in the top job at MNPS, and he compares his working conditions under the Nashville school board to the dictatorships of his native Cuba.

From the Nashville City Paper:
According to the document, Garcia believed racial politics permeated life in Nashville.

“I had never lived in the south before I came to Nashville,” the document says. “This is a great city and we have many friends here. But, I have also had to adjust to many racial issues. There is some sort of racial code or expectation that permeates the culture of our community. Sometimes it is like having an elephant in the living room of your house but refusing to recognize it is there.”

The document compares the behavior of some school board members with life under dictatorships in Cuba.

“I spent the first fifteen years of my life in Cuba living under two dictatorships, Batista and Castro,” the document reads. “I saw and experienced hate, violence and abuse. I expected such behavior from tyrants and oppressive regimes. However, I never expected board members and community leaders would become acrimonious and demeaning.”

“I believe in parental choice and in freedom of expression. I fought against Castro for these rights from the age of thirteen. And yet, here in America, I was the target of behind the scenes manipulations and fear tactics. My tenure at MNPS should not have ended this way,” the document states.
Copies of the documents can be found here on the Tennessean's web site or here on the Nashville City Paper's web site.

The complete story about school rezoning and Garcia's document can be found in either this article in the Tennessean or this article in the Nashville City Paper.

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