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Here's The Problem With Comparing Betsy DeVos To Ruby Bridges

They say history repeats itself, but it's highly doubtful this can be said of Civil Rights hero Ruby Bridges and Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos.

If you need a little history lesson, Ruby Bridges was a 6-year-old black girl in Louisiana who was the first black kid to attend an all-white elementary school in efforts to aid the New Orleans desegregation crisis.

There is a famous painting by Norman Rockwell from 1963 called “The Problem We All Live With” which depicts the 6-year-old being escorted, which she had to be for safety, down a run-down hallway of a Louisiana school with racial slurs on the wall and things like food and trash that were thrown at her in real life.

So why are these two even in the same category suddenly?

A political cartoon created by Glenn McCoy has started to circulate around the internet and insensitively places DeVos in the same setting as Bridges in the painting by Rockwell except “Conservative” is written on the wall instead of the “N” word.

If you're initially having an issue comparing a billionaire who is now a cabinet member to a 6-year-old facing racial hardships she didn't ask to be a part of but was born into, don't worry; there are so many other issues with this political cartoon that can be broken down.

Betsy DeVos was picked by the president to be the Secretary of Education, while Ruby Bridges, at such a young age was put in the position of pioneering equality because there were laws that excluded a child from attending a specific school based on her race. That is, a child who had no hand in the deeply rooted racial inequality in America.

DeVos, who was recently confronted by protesters at Jefferson Middle School Academy in Washington, wasn't being refused at the door because she was a white, middle-aged billionaire, but because to the American people, she is seemingly ill-equipped to fulfill a job appointed to her by the president of the United States.

Not to mention, some of those people denying her entry were probably parents, but were they all parents of an opposite? Were they throwing things at her, and chanting god knows what, year-round because of the color of her skin?

Is she a 6-year-old facing a seemingly unbearable society that at one point in time didn't even classify her skin as equating to an entire person, but rather just two-thirds of one?

DeVos is not seen as someone who can get a grasp on or take into account the dynamics of all students, much like how people don't think the president who appointed her will ever represent all Americans.

DeVos and Bridges can not and will not ever be used interchangeably. DeVos has security because people are angry with the position she is in with little experience, while Bridges was threatened with being attacked, had items thrown at her and crowds of white protesters who didn't want to see her next to their white children.

Placing DeVos in the shoes of Bridges is a stretch that only continues to pull at this idea that anyone can be placed in the role of a victim.

DeVos is not a victim, nor is she making any historical advances or strides like Ruby Bridges. DeVos has a choice; Bridges didn't. Bridges couldn't just stop being black to have an easier upbringing, but DeVos can very easily say no to the position she chose to take on.

Could this annoying demonstration of swapping two completely different people to try to make a point also speak volumes to why President Trump had issues connecting to black voters?

We hear again and again about the drugs and horrible homicide-stricken inner cities, sadly populated by many African Americans, but we always hear about how it affects America as a whole.

America is the victim, not the cities and the people who have to try and survive in them every day. Once we stop trying to use things interchangeably, like DeVos and Bridges, we'll see that it is not the whole that makes something singular, it is all the differing parts that lead up to a whole.

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Jasmine Vaughn-Hall

Staff Writer

Jasmine is immediately attracted to anything Edgar Allan Poe and tacos. Writing is also something that feeds her soul.
Jasmine is immediately attracted to anything Edgar Allan Poe and tacos. Writing is also something that feeds her soul.

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