Disclaimer: I wanted to do this post for a while now but I was discouraged when I first had the idea for fear that a lot of people would’t be able to relate. After reading the chapter on Black Education in Thomas Sowell’s Black Rednecks and White Liberals, I’ve decided to finally go ahead and do it.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
Decided: May 17th, 1954
“Segregation of white and Negro children in the public schools of a State solely on the basis of race, pursuant to state laws permitting or requiring such segregation, denies to Negro children the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment — even though the physical facilities and other “tangible” factors of white and Negro schools may be equal.”
This is taken directly from the syllabus of the decision of the Supreme Court.
I graduated high school in 1999. This is the race distribution of my high school that year. African American- 92.6%, White-3.13%, Hispanic-2.79%, Asian-1.22% and American Indian-0.26%. I went to a publicly integrated high school but based on the numbers my school might as well have been 100% African American.
Before I go any further allow me to state my stance. I support segregation in education.
Yes. Segregation. In public schools.
Why you ask?
From the time of post-antebellum America to the middle of the twentieth century it seemed that blacks in this country had a higher sense of pride when it came to educating themselves. Children dressed in their best to go to school. Learning was a serious matter not to be taken lightly. Like Malcolm X once said “Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today”. Blacks were infants in this country and had to readily play catch up despite the obstacles (put very lightly) in our way. Although men such as Booker T Washington and William Edward Burghardt Du Bois may have had their differences they both stressed the importance of education.
The term “separate but equal” was practiced in theory but not in reality. Even with lack of resources and funding there was no excuse to slack and feel sorry for ourselves. We did what we had to do with what we had. But do not be fooled separate but equal still exists today. Instead of segregating us based on the color of our skin, we’re separated based on our income. As an example look at the racial make up of my high school. Does that really look integration? There are many schools across the country whose numbers are more balanced but I would put money that in most major cities most schools have at least 60% of their population made up of one particular racial background. One way this was done is through the advent of school zones and neighborhood schools. It wouldn’t be that hard to keep Blacks, Asians, Jews, etc segregated this way since most neighborhoods were already segregated. So in a sense “separate but [un]equal” still exists in many facets today. No one wants to talk about it.
As soon as we learn how to the play the game, the rules change.
There are children who thrive in an integrated environment. There are also children who would lag behind and underachieve in a segregated climate. This surely wouldn’t apply to all children as each individual child learns differently. The one thing that is consistent is that Black children are seriously lagging behind White and Asian American children in this country as far as academics are concerned. We’re stumbling right out the block.
There have been schools which only serve inner city children and/or minority children that have excelled beyond expectation.
Urban Prep Academy in Chicago admits males from the inner city of Chicago. Over 85% of their students qualify for free/reduced lunch. For the third year in a row, 100% of Urban Prep’s graduates have been admitted to four-year colleges or universities.
Three years ago Toronto opened its first Africentric elementary school. The goals of the school are:
- High academic achievement
- High self-pride
- A high motivation to succeed
Much of what is said–and not said– about education of black students reflects the political context, rather that the educational facts. Whites walk on eggshells for fear of being called racists, while many blacks are preoccupied with protecting the image of black students, rather than protecting their future by telling the blunt truth. It is understandable that some people are concerned about image, about what is in private life might be expressed as: “What will the neighbors think?” But when your children are dying, you don’t worry about what the neighbors think.