Sunday, March 22, 2015

Brown vs. Board of Education - Hyperlinks

Brown vs. Board of Education was a 1954 Supreme Court case that ruled that separate but equal was not constitutional, specifically in terms of schooling. Previous to this case, schools and other places were allowed to segregate by race as long as the conditions were equal. However, there were rarely equal conditions for black and white children in schools. Brown vs. Board of Education made equal education law and with that ended formal apartheid. Tim Wise, in his book "Between Barack and a Hard Place" classifies this as "racism 1.0." This racism is classified by outright bigotry and ignorance to those of other racial and ethnic backgrounds. He does believe that we have ended this type of racism, as seen through the election of President Barack Obama. However, he believes that we are now a part of "racism 2.0," which he classifies as "enlightened exceptionalism." In our society, we see instances of racism 2.0. For instance, many people see the President Obama as an incredibly qualified president. They see him as transcending the norms associated with his race, which associates African Americans with less intelligence, more aggression and criminal behavior, and less-hardworking attitudes. Believing that these stereotypical norms exist is the basis of racism 2.0. Bob Herbert, in his article "Separate and Unequal," comments on this by saying "The election of Barack Obama has not made true integration any more palatable to millions of Americans" (2). Many assume that since America elected a black president, America had ended racism completely. This is far from true. Impoverished students are segregated from their middle-class counterparts by "residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom" (1). Even though the election of Barack Obama was a great step towards racial equality, these authors caution us by explaining the in depth racism that still exists today.

I found a Washington Post article from 2014 that explains Brown vs Board of Education's impact 60 years later. This article related to the Brown vs Board of Education website, Tim Wise interview, and Bob Herbert article. Though Brown vs. Board of Education desegregated public schools and made the "separate but equal" policy unconstitutional, Richard Rothstein states that this court case "was unsuccessful in its purported mission—to undo the school segregation that persists as a central feature of American public education today" (2). He goes on to explain that the court case only desegregated school; it did not properly integrate schools. Today, he says that the isolation of black children by race and socioeconomic class is at its worst. The achievement gap continues to remain between black and white children. He says that since schools are isolating these children, they are not benefitting as much as richer, whiter schools due to lack of resources and less parental involvement. Also, low-income housing complexes contribute to the isolation of these impoverished children, forcing them into the same schooling situations. We must first desegregate housing situations to desegregate schooling situations. Schools are more segregated today than in 1980, where "The typical black student now attends a school where only 29 percent of his or her fellow students are white, down from 36 percent in 1980" (3). Racism, though not the same problem today as during Brown vs. Board of Education, still has a major impact on all our lives and on our school systems.

I believe that this is another example of white supremacy, as seen in SCWAAMP and the McIntosh article on white privilege. This racial and socioeconomic segregation shows how white, middle class people have certain advantages over others in our society.

Talking point: All my classes, from elementary school to now, seemed to be predominately white. Did you have a different experience or does this racial segregation apply to your schooling as well?

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