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October 26, 2007

An open letter to Sloane Citron, publisher of Gentry Magazine

Gentry2_2 Dear Sloane Citron,

I just read your shocking editorial in the current issue of Gentry (Nov. 2007) where, referring to your son's school, you write:

Gentry_image "While Hillview is a fairly homogeneous place, Menlo-Atherton is diverse. While it's impolitic to say, I'm not sure the diversity is such a positive thing in a learning environment. While it is the reality of our society, from a learning standpoint, it is one more impediment to the challenge of teaching and learning. And, as a result, the children are sometimes pushed into environments where 'real-world experience' is placed above the act of learning. In other words, the concept is real and honorable, but the result is sometimes less than satisfactory."

I had to read those sentences twice just to be sure you said what I thought you said. And what you are saying is that you feel sorry for your poor white kid who is about to be thrown into a high-school full of "diverse people."

I call it like I see it, and I call bullshit.  This is not merely a "politically incorrect", this is the very definition of bigotry. Who do think your audience is? Is your readership trapped in a time warp that landed them in the segregated South?  As the publisher of a magazine based in Silicon Valley did you really think you could get away with spewing such nonsense?

My "diverse" family moved from Honolulu, Hawaii (which, by the way, is full of "diverse" people so you may want to avoid going there) to Atherton in 1981 when I was 11-years-old. Talk about culture shock, but we made the best of it. I grew up in this area, attended schools here, and over the years have had to suffer a great many fools like you. I attended Castilleja School, and at the end of eighth grade, I begged my parents to let me go to Menlo-Atherton. My parents balked, having gone to private schools their entire lives, but they let me go. I don't regret my decision one bit.

Even at the age of thirteen, I knew that a homogeneous school environment was not where I wanted to spend my high school years. I was actively seeking "real-world experience" and didn't want to spend my high school years in a completely sheltered environment with girls whose parents may have shared your same beliefs.

At M-A I became part of the fabric of school and made friends across cultural and socio-economic lines. When I got to college I was not only prepared academically, but I was prepared to—wait for it—live in the real world. I wonder what you really think as you walk through the halls of M-A, looking at the students, and dismissing them immediately if you see a non-white face. I mean really, how dare they encroach upon your son's "teaching and learning," right?

I suppose I'm not surprised that people like you still exist in the world. People who believe the best part of M-A is the teacher with the British accent who "brings...sophistication to the classroom." I'm just stunned whenever a bigot like you chooses to reveal his or her true colors in a public forum and expects to be supported.

The only reason I read your magazine is because it gets left on my doorstep (in a very environmentally-unsound plastic bag, I might add). We don't subscribe and I can't figure out why we get it "for free." We must have the "right zipcode," but I wonder if it still would be left on my doorstep if you knew we were renters.

Multiculturally yours,
Stefania

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