I typically agree with much of what David Brooks has to say. However, I'm afraid that he was way off the mark with his article "How Covenants Make Us." Demographic diversity in the United States is a good thing. The problem has to do with the lack of integration and assimilation of demographically diverse communities.
There is a conversation Black faculty often have with Black students that we rarely mention in public, let alone in mixed company. The tone of this exchange differs to some extent if the student are U.S. born or from the diaspora. It follows discussions that open their consciousness as they grapple with accepting an inescapable truth -- they are Black.
After being the oldest in elementary school then adjusting to being the youngest in a brand new middle school, finding your way around a bigger place, having many teachers, meeting lots of new kids, finding your body changing, more expectations by parents and teachers -- phew -- who can blame your 12-year-old for feeling vulnerable?