Kids take a stroll through Archie Bunker’s neighborhood at diversity event
BY STEPHEN KLOOSTERMAN
Ottawa County, MI —
Building a community takes more than bricks and mortar.
The kids were randomly assigned to different ethnic groups, which had
different parts of the neighborhood to develop. Before the kids could
erect tiny buildings built out of note cards and masking tape, they had
to secure building permits from volunteers, who role played as racist
and corrupt government officials.
“It’ll be a little better if we had a little more room,” said Mitchell Suarez, an eighth-grader at Holland’s West Middle School who was assigned to the neighborhood’s Asian-American ghetto.
“The people in the white communities instantly recognized the amount of the power they had,” said volunteer Tedd Parsons.
“We got very good deals on our buildings, and got moved to the front of the line,” said Daniel Ballesteros, an eighth-grader at Vanderbilt Charter Academy who had been assigned to the white group.
The exercise concluded with a discussion about what had taken place, and how students could have built a better neighborhood.
High school and middle school groups from Calling All Colors meet twice a year. At spring meetings, students share various activities they’ve done to promote diversity awareness at their schools.