The New Racism

Nothing's black and white at Millennium High School

Mack acknowledges that his son was cut from the team, but denies the allegation. He says, "I'm fighting the good fight."

And he points to the fact that Millennium has no black student union as evidence of his broader concerns about the school.

C.H.A.K.A., in effect, was Millennium's black student union, but the club fell apart because no one wanted to sponsor it. One of Impact's biggest problems was a lack of faculty leadership, Mack and Denman say.


Photo Illustrations by Jeff Newton

Too bad Michael Mack and Tiffeny Denman aren't qualified to sponsor school clubs at Millennium High.

Derald Wing Sue is a professor at Teacher's College at Columbia University. In his new book, Overcoming Our Racism: The Journey to Liberation, Wing Sue discusses the New Racism: a subtle, even unconscious form where the racist doesn't realize his or her actions. The new racist is unaware of the experiences of minorities and the stereotypes they face. Though this form of racism first appeared last century, Wing Sue calls it the racism of the new millennium. "There's a lot of unintentional racism that occurs," Wing Sue says. "These micro-assaults occur constantly to people of color."

But are they occurring at Millennium? Wing Sue says he wouldn't be surprised, but won't comment since he has not visited the school.

"You want to know the truth?" asks Ira Miles, the former sub at Millennium and co-founder of C.H.A.K.A. "Black kids see little representation [of their race] at the school." He says what the school is doing isn't blatant, but, to the black kids or their parents, it feels like it.

Oscar Tillman, president of the Maricopa County chapter of the NAACP, vows to keep a "very close eye" on Millennium. An investigator from the Arizona region of the Anti-Defamation League says the group might offer Millennium staff some sensitivity training.

Eleanor Eisenberg, director of the Arizona Civil Liberties Union, has been in contact with some parents and students at Millennium. "We have told them that we would step in now," she says. "We are certainly willing to support them in their efforts."

E-mail, or call 602-238-4807.

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