Letter to the Editor of the Marin Independent Journal

Time to Move Away From Our Racist Past

Dear Editor,

Thank you for your editorial saying that the Dixie school district should change its name. I agree that it is long past time to do so. It is important to acknowledge our real histories, even if they are embarrassing. Only then can we move forward toward healing and reconciliation. The name “Dixie” was not an accident, and it was chosen for a specific and racist purpose. Also, while I don’t know the actual details of the history of racial segregation in the Terra Linda and Marinwood neighborhoods that comprise the Dixie School District, those are exactly the kind of suburbs that routinely had written covenants that prevented anyone who was not “Caucasian” from purchasing a home there. I do know that the Sleepy Hollow subdivision near San Anselmo had such covenants in its deeds well into the late 1970’s. Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism by James W. Loewen documents how widespread this practice was in the north and west after WWII. Racial segregation in housing was not an accident, but was instead quite deliberately planned. How can African American children feel truly welcome in a school district named with a racist intent? If we want to welcome all, then it is time to say we are sorry for our past and to change the name. To do so would be a symbolic and significant gesture toward racial reconciliation. It is time. Black lives do matter.

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