60 years after Brown: Segregation now

Students at Barnard Elementary School in Washington, D.C., one of the first schools to desegregate after Brown. (Library of Congress)

Students at Barnard Elementary School in Washington, D.C., one of the first schools to desegregate after Brown. (Library of Congress)

Sixty years after Brown v. Board of Education ended de jure segregation, how segregated are we? asks Alan Richard on the Hechinger Report.

“In many states and communities, including many in the South, where I’m from, black and white children — and now Latino children and others — attend school side by side,” he writes.

Yet, there are signs of resegregation, warns ProPublica.

In 1991, 33 percent of black students in the South attended schools with 90 percent or more minority enrollment — but by 2009-2010 that level had crept up to 38 percent. Back in 1980, only 23 percent of black students in the South attended such intensely segregated schools, the researchers found. Now, white students make up less than 30 percent of enrollment in schools attended by the typical black students — the highest that figure has been since federal monitoring began.

Some older blacks remember aspects of their segregated childhoods with “fondness,” reports NPR.

Carmen Fields, a media consultant in Boston, grew up in Tulsa in the 1950s. “We had our own grocery stores, black doctors, lawyers, dentists, hotel, movie theaters, shoe repairmen, our own segregated YMCA,” Fields says.

Because colleges wouldn’t hire black professors, some teachers in segregated schools were PhDs, Fields  recalls. “We had the best of the best, the talented 10th, if you will, and they expected the best of us.”

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  1. Stacy in NJ says:

    It’s telling that the article focuses on the re-segregation in the South without detailing the same circumstance in the Midwest and Northeast. New York and New Jersey are highly segregated as are Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. Most blacks in those areas are in urban/large cities like NYC, Chicago, and Detroit.

    This is a story more about the depopulation of middle and working class people (of all colors) from large cities and their movement to the South and West leaving behind cities more economically unequal with poor(black) and rich(white) left behind.

    But why attempt to understand the motivation for movement, the demographics and economics when we can just focus on our national pass-time – race?

    • What’s telling to me is the repetitious invocation of the “s” word, segregation. The implication is that there’s something dastardly going on and that’s as far as anyone needs to, or had better, look.

      To help with the establishment of the taboo is the similarly repetitious invocation of Brown v. Topeka.

      But the definition of segregation reveals why the use of the word is inherently dishonest – “the enforced separation of different racial groups in a country, community, or establishment.” – which is the purpose of the linkage to Brown v. Topeka which was an example of segregation. Thus anyone who voices questions about what’s mendaciously referred to as segregation today is a racist and must yearn for the good, old days preceding Brown v. Topeka.

      But it’s lefties pining for the good, old days when you could start to say “racist” and before you got the second syllable out there’d be a general, and very satisfying, retreat by all opposed to whatever the issue at hand might be.

      Those days are coming to an end and lefties are unwilling to let them go so they grub for evidence of racism and, regardless of whether there’s any racism, they’ll find it. Provided no one looks too closely at the gem they unearth.

    • Mark Roulo says:

      It is also a story of the dropping percentage of non-Hispanic white children in the population (probably ~80+% in 1950, about 50% now). Put this together with clustering (e.g. Detroit or North Dakota; less extreme examples are within a given city) and you often don’t have enough non-minority children to “go around” in a given district. I don’t expect busing to return, so …

  2. So what? What’s so awful about going to a 99% black school?

  3. Miller Smith says:

    Here in Prince George’s County, Maryland we have had teachers, administrators, school board members and county counsel members say, “Children have a right to be taught by people who look like them.” not only do they say this openly, they are universally African American. Insistence on integration is considered racist.
    So how do you handle this?

    • PhillipMarlowe says:

      Ah, another PG resident, except for when I travel.
      Follow that argument to its ridiculous conclusion, and PGCPS will have classroom of AAs with a teacher/student ratio of 1:70, Hispanic of 1:130, white 1:1, and Asian of 1:.5, give or take.
      Tell them that and they will shut up, or urge a purge based upon, race.

      I know a Hispanic lady from Adelphi who attended PGCPS school, then Bowie State U. She took her teacher degree to go live and teach in MoCo.

  4. The failure of racial segregation in the US demonstrates how difficult it is even for very powerful governments to force large numbers of people to do what they do not want to do.

  5. Students self-segregate on campuses these days, why is this even an issue (or surprising)?

  6. Richard Aubrey says:

    Lame. If you don’t like what somebody is pointing out, accuse them of supporting it or liking it. Changes the subject and puts the pointer-out on the defensive.
    Get a new schtick. This one’s worn out.