February 9, 2007, - 1:20 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
If you live in the Detroit area, one of the most swanky, expensive private schools in town is Detroit Country Day School. Annual tuition is more than the average person makes in a year, and the school sends a lot of its graduates off to Harvard and the other Ivy League schools.
Country Day is also one of those bastions of the wealthy liberal noblesse oblige. While some conservatives send their kids there, it’s largely a very liberal place.
And that’s why I was amused by its racist marketing campaign, which I happened upon. Since I live in a black neighborhood, businesses near my home feature a lot of Black magazines and other cultural phenoma. At one business, I picked up a copy of the January issue of African American Family magazine. Below is the full-page ad Country Day uses to recruit Black students. It features NBA star and Country Day alum Shane Battier and screams: “Hey Homies, come play basketball wit’ us and reach the NBA. Hoop Dreams, Baby.”
Country Day always has a good basketball team because it recruits Black basketball stars and gives them scholarship. But not all Blacks who want a good education play basketball–most of them do not. And the ad is just plain insulting and bigoted.
Why would Country Day specifically market basketball to Blacks in order to recruit Black students? Is a basketball player the only type of student Country Day believes that Blacks are interested in becoming? Basketball would never be the marketing tool to advertise this tony, expensive prep school to White people. The school would market academics and ivy league admittees to them.
Then, I happened upon the latest Country Day annual report–sent to the school’s mostly White, mostly liberal donors and parents–at the gym. As I looked through, there wasn’t anything about Black basketball players. But check out the picture of Black students that the school markets to White limousine liberals. (A similar picture of Black female students appears on Country Day’s website.)
It’s a completely different message, designed to make them feel good about diversity and academic opportunities for Blacks at Country Day. It’s interesting to contrast the type of Black student that is marketed to Black people by this elite (and, apparently, elitist) school, and the type of Black student that is marketed to White people.
You’s never see this low advertising double standard from conservatives or a conservative private school. So why do liberals and liberal schools–which constantly decry racism, but apparently don’t practice what they preach–get away with it?
Tags: basketball, basketball player, Debbie Schlussel, Detroit, Detroit Country Day School, Harvard, Ivy League, low advertising, National Basketball Association, NBA, Shane Battier