There is a saying in the black community, “You can’t do what they do.” It is usually applied when black folks attempt to do what others are doing and come to find out it doesn’t work the same for us. No matter what the “what” is, as soon as black folks attempt to do it, the entire weight of the law comes to bear upon us.
As an example, take the case of Kelley Williams-Bolar. She is an Akron, Ohio, mom who lives in public housing and wanted better for her children. So she did what countless other folks have done. She used the address of the home where her father lives to enroll her children in a better school district.
The school district didn’t believe Williams-Bolar and her girls were living within its boundaries. So the district hired a private investigator who followed her girls home to discover she didn’t live in the district. The district tried to work out an agreement with Williams-Bolar, but she opted to fight back.
Now she’s been found guilty, her children were removed from the school system, she’s been sentenced to 10 days in jail (she served nine); she’s got two years’ worth of probation and is required to serve 80 hours of community service.
What was that old saying again? “You can’t do what they do.”
I found it quite interesting hearing and reading the commentaries regarding Williams-Bolar’s situation. People posted about fairness to the taxpayers. People posted about her cheating the system. People posted about her wanting her children to have a better opportunity, so she did what she did. And through it all, I kept replacing Kelley’s situation with the illegal immigration crowd and wondered why it is OK for Williams-Bolar to go to jail, but someone who is in this country illegally is supported, hand over heels.
I need someone to tell me the difference between young people protesting and asking for the Dream Act after being educated by taxpayers with no regards for whether their parents ever paid a dime in taxes, yet Williams-Bolar and her daughters are yearning for the same thing and they get jail time and expulsion. How and why is that?
Did I mention that Williams-Bolar now has a felony on her record? She was 12 hours away from getting her degree so that she could teach, and now she will have a felony that prevents her from teaching. I got a chance to hear the interview with Ms. Williams-Bolar. She stated that her children stayed with their grandfather quite a bit, and based on that information, she felt she could enroll the children in that school district. However in the end, that wasn’t enough for the Ohio school system.
The Williams-Bolar case has brought up issues of race as the school district she enrolled her children in is predominantly white. Whatever the case, the old saying that we can’t do what they do is ringing loud and clear.