A more frequent publishing of Rich Galen's take on politics, culture and general modern annoyances. This is in addition to MULLINGS which is published Mondays, Wednesdays & Fridays at

Friday, June 29, 2007

Race-based School Districts

In an extremely close vote yesterday, the Supreme Court eased pressures on local school districts on the matter of how much they have to factor in race when drawing attendance areas.

I have not read the opinion(s) (which are available by clicking on the Supreme Court Website) but here's what I think: In 1954 the Supreme Court issued the Brown v Board of Education decision which struck down the "separate but equal" rules. Rules which had institutionalized segregated schools and, in any event, were only half true: Black schools were separate but not even close to being equal.

By my count 1954 was 53 years ago.

Fifty-three years ago we were only eight years beyond the end of WW II; we were in the midst of the Korean war; no one yet knew that Vietnam even existed (except the French); Dwight Eisenhower was President, and the GOP Controlled the House of Representatives for one Congress which would not happen again for 40 years.

A lot of culture has passed under the bridge of American civilization since 1954.

Ozzie and Harriet gave way to Ozzie Osborne on TV. Bakelite dial telephones have yielded to iPhones (effective today). Standard transmission now means four-speed automatic, not a shifter on the steering column.

It seems to me that 50 years is long enough to give one group special treatment - even if that special treatment was not only fair, but absolutely necessary, when it was first invoked.

The hand wringing of the Democrats running for President over this decision was pandering to an audience at Howard University - an historically Black institution.

If we really want to dig into this, it is also well beyond the day when there should be a Congressional Black Caucus in the US House of Representatives.

Prior to the Voting Rights Act in 1965, there were but a handful of Blacks in the House. I would have applauded a group banding together to bring the issues of housing, education, and voting to the attention of their White colleagues.

As Chief Justice Roberts wrote in the opinion: "The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."

But this is 2007, not 1954 or 1965. At some point a culture has to assume responsibility for its own success or failure.

It is time to, dare we say it ... move on.

ADDITIONAL READING: Just found a terrific FAQ on the WSJ Online page about this case by Jess Bravin.



Sam L. said...

As best I recollect, wasn't one of the Brown vs. Board Of Education arguments about students not being allowed to go to schools near their homes and being bussed to a school not in their neighborhood? Which seems to indicate to me that the black population was somewhat scattered throughout the city, not specifically segregated to an area where "their" school would have been their neighborhood school.

June 29, 2007 6:57 AM  
Rich Galen said...

I think it was the opposite. Black sections of towns and cities did, indeed, have their own schools which - by any measure - were not anywhere near equal to the schools in the White sections.

Busing was instituted specifically so that students in the Black sections of cities could have equal access to the teachers, books, equipment and facilities that the White kids had.


June 29, 2007 7:07 AM  
Fishplate said...

Correct. The town I grew up in, in Florida (technically part of the South, despite being filled with exiles from Ohio), had separate sections of town where black folks were welcome to live. There were separate schools, and almost everything else. This pattern was almost universal at the time of Brown. Busing had the effect of forcing school systems to spread the money around, lest the white kids be forced to attend inferior schools.

I have noticed that things are different now.

June 29, 2007 7:15 AM  
Ed said...


Yes, they're different. Now almost all children in government schools are forced to attend inferior schools; and, their teachers resist any attempt to give them the opportunity to seek out better schools.

I am not sure that is a big improvement!

June 29, 2007 1:52 PM  
Jenn said...

Thank-you thank-you! Haven't had time to check this out! So glad it is "over" well, at least except for the pundits! Here we have those awful magnet schools and b/c the land is cheap the school district built them in "poor" neighborhoods. So the residents pestered the city about the "discrimination" because the neighborhood wasn't being served by the "new" school and now the magnet schools are teaching to the middle b/c they had to accept kids who didn't qualify academically but live next door.

I have a solution to this whole stinking mess.

Homeschool. If we quit worrying about "me" so much and spent a little effort focusing on our children we could turn this lousy socialist agenda around. But, it won't happen. Sigh.

Happier note. I'm so excited you have a blog!!! What fun to read! :)

July 1, 2007 8:10 PM  
depickens said...

IMHO, the most important factor is the way the case is styled - "PARENTS INVOLVED IN COMMUNITY SCHOOLS v.
SEATTLE SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 1 ET AL.". The Parents rights regarding their own children's education in the government school system has been affirmed (I hesitate to say re-affirmed). This could be a prelude to broader rulings in favor of tax dollars following the citizens as another right of the parents.

July 2, 2007 6:35 AM  
llb272 said...

If the ultimate goal is to end race-based discrimination then white Americans need to stop discriminating against other people based on their race. Fifty years?! Please. White people have been systematically discriminiating against people of color in the US since the founding of the country, and despite the advances of the Civil Rights Movement, that discrimination has not stopped. One of the lessons of the Civil Rights Movement is that without direct, legislative pressure whites will not stop such discriminatory practices in public life, not to mention in private. Affirmative action policies instituted over the last 50+ years have indeed had an impact, helping many more poor whites, and especially white women, achieve a measure of economic success. I am all for the end of discriminatory practices based on race, but let's stop deluding ourselves about who really is receiving "special treatment" in America.

July 2, 2007 7:53 AM  
Anonymous said...

I think that the whole concept of bussing is nothing but a band aid. To solve the problem of poorer and minority students attending inferior schools, the solution is not to transport them around town to fill quotas according to their race, but to fix the diversities of the school districts as determined by the neighborhoods. There are many great examples right outside of DC. Montgomery County Maryland (where I attended public school not that long ago) has managed to create neighborhoods where the wealthy live in relatively close proximity to the poor. I attended schools with sons and daughters of millionaires and kids whose parents bought their food with food stamps. Everyone attends their neighborhood school and the neighborhoods become much more diverse and culturally rich.

July 3, 2007 10:43 AM  
Ed said...


It is very glib to suggest that any discrimination by whites against blacks is "race based" of "color based"; regrettably, at least in one sense, it is not very accurate.

I discriminate with regard to people for a variety of reasons. Some of those people are black, some are not. Regardless of race or skin color, I discriminate with regard to these people for my reasons. While there are laws against discrimination on the basis of race, there are no laws against discrimination on the basis of attitudes (bigots and whiners, for example)or actions (drug users and prostitutes, for example). I believe I am an equal opportunity discriminator. I avoid these and some other types of people like the plague, regardless of their color.

I even avoid mouthy liberals and leftists, of any color, who are incapable of holding a reasonable conversation without extolling their righteousness and the evil intent of those who are not of their political persuasion. They manage to be both boring and infuriating at the same time, which I guess is an accomplishment of sorts.

July 3, 2007 1:15 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home