Bike Tangle at 32nd & St. Paul

Bike Tangle at 32nd & St. PaulTuesday’s ride was a tough one, straight up the hill and then down another and up one more on my way to an appointment in Mount Washington, winner of my Least Bike Accessible Neighborhood in Baltimore award. Then again, I got there, so I guess the least accessible is fairly accessible after all, but don’t forget your water. The ride home’s much easier, once that damn Lake Avenue is climbed. Thank you, gears, and thank you, self, for not being too stubborn to ride slowly enough the get passed by pedestrians. On the way back, the hill levels out right around Boys Latin School, with its sprawling campus and impressive tree canopy and bridge over the street so these high schoolers can make their way around the campus that looks more like a small college than a high school. “Living the Laker Legacy,” their signs say. I rolled down Roland Avenue, passing Gilman School for Girls and Bryn Mawr, the alma mater of a student I had in class this semester. She told us about a field trip her class took to the Inner Harbor. President Street was closed due to construction, so the bus driver took them through West Baltimore–I’m guessing Jonestown–to get around the traffic and get them back up the hill. Parents complained that the bus driver put their precious children in danger by driving a bus through West Baltimore. The bus driver was fired and the school switched bus companies because these kids were momentarily a little to the right of central Baltimore. There may be more to the story, but I suspect the “more” would be some tired alibis. So many private schools, so many examples of the wide gap between the education upper class white kids are getting in Baltimore compared to middle and working class Black kids. I thought about how the overwhelming response to integration has been the withdrawal of white people from the space being integrated. Rather than integrate public pools, so many communities just closed all the pools. White students abandoned public schools at increasing rates about Brown v. Board of Education, and it keeps happening as privatization spreads through what should be a public good. I was pretty worked up by the time I was back in Charles Village. And then I saw this tangle of one grown up and two baby bikes outside of a restaurant, the family inside, all still wearing their helmets, the oldest girl keeping her scooter with her. Oh, that made me smile. Gotta make room for it all, you know?

2 thoughts on “Bike Tangle at 32nd & St. Paul

  1. I can’t tell from your blog who you are, what you do professionally (sounds like you’re a teacher?), or what your main focus or concern is, but if you’re interested in criticizing the private-public divide in education in Baltimore, at least get your facts straight before you do it so that the hard-working educators and students in those communities can have their voices heard as well. I don’t know where you heard this story about the bus driver, but I do know that Gilman is a boys school, so it seems likely that your unfounded accusations about implicit racism at Bryn Mawr are probably equally erroneous.

    • This is a personal blog about my personal insights. The story about a bus driver was told by a student in my class. I retold it here without embellishment. I thought Gilman was a girls school, but I was wrong about that, I see. Regardless, that doesn’t invalidate my personal observations, or the long history of racism in public and private schools, nor does it invalidate the hard work students and teachers do at all levels in all kinds of schools to help bring up the kids. Again, though, this is a personal blog, so I don’t need to “make room” for any voices but my own.

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