Hello Meltingpot Readers,
Let's play a game. I'm going to share with you an "ethical dilemma" and I'd really like your honest opinions in the comments section. Okay? Here we go.
Dear Meltingpot Ethics panel,
I am a college professor with two children and one on the way. My husband, lovingly known as el esposo is currently a full-time student and receives a modest stipend for teaching two college classes. Needless to say, money is tight right now. Really tight. If you peeked at our bank statements, debt records, etc you'd probably say we were two steps away from skid row. But we're not poor. Not really. We know that this is a temporary situation. We know that when el esposo finishes school in a couple of years we'll be in a much better place. But right now we're clipping coupons, eating lots of beans and pasta, growing our own veggies and cutting corners where we can. And here's the part where the dilemma comes in. Summer fun for the kids.
As a resourceful parent, I've found a city-sponsored summer camp that is extremely inexpensive and looks to be very well run. But it is clear that the camp was created for kids from low-income neighborhoods. But it is not exclusive to that community. Or at least none of the camp literature says so. Just recently, I also discovered a soccer program that is completely free and it is for "kids from underserved communities." I signed my kids up for that too because they both really want to play soccer and the fact is, this program is so much better run, with better instructors etc, than the one I was trying to scrounge up the cash for at the local YMCA. Did I mention it is free?
So, here's the thing. I know my two brown boys will be able to "pass" in these community programs. But I know that even though we're cash strapped right now, we're not the target market for these camps. I feel a little guilty playing the race card, but I also feel proud of myself for finding some great programs that will allow my kids to have a fun summer. And FYI, I didn't lie on any of the forms or present myself as poorer than we really are. The fact is, by filling in the boxes marked Black and Hispanic on the forms and the fact that we live in the city limits, pretty much cinched our acceptance, I think. I could be wrong.
So, have I crossed any lines? Am I playing the race card to my advantage?