Monday, August 03, 2009

The Wreckage of Desegregation

Race and Education documents in heartbreaking detail the social destruction wrought by America's frenzy of forced school integration. It tells of the political seduction of legal scholarship that led the NAACP to make historical arguments in Brown v. Board so badly supported that not only did the Supreme Court reject them, but the authors themselves would later admit that they had made them in bad faith. It tells of the "social science" arguments that, notwithstanding the Brown court's endorsement, were so flimsy that the defendants didn't bother addressing them, much to their chagrin. It tells of solidly performing middle class schools destroyed by the influx of minorities, of white children subjected to intimidation and violence, and black students brought face-to-face with their own academic inferiority. It tells of schools, districts, and entire cites hollowed out by increasingly imperialistic efforts to force whites to do what they wold not do: share social space with large numbers of minorities.

Race and Education tells of the mounting evidence that neither desegregation nor racial proportionality did anything to help either the academic achievement or the social assimilation of the underclass. It tells of continued elite efforts to force integration long after America's black community had largely rejected school integration as a worthwhile pursuit.

And at the end of it all, what did we have to show for it? Barely more integration than we had when we started, substantial declines in school safety and academic excellence, and vast social disruption.

What a tragedy.

Here's my question: what drove all this? I can understand hiring quotas and racial set-asides; these clearly transfer resources from whites to blacks, and thus have their own built-in constituency. I can understand affirmative action in university admissions, which purport to do the same thing, although these transfers often turns out to be chimerical. But who benefitted from forcing black children into white schools? Who benefitted from forcing white children into black schools?

Could it all have been about making war on white communities?


PeterW said...

Nothing that sinister, I think. It was probably believed that inequality of educational outcomes must have been driven by inequality of educational systems. Thus forced integration would be a transfer from whites to blacks, just as with the other policies. Only now, after the data come in, do we know otherwise.

Justin said...

I think it was neither as sinister as a war on Whites, or as innocuous as attaining educational outcomes.

I think it simply done on the principle of it: We Make the Rules, and Thou Shalt Not Do That Anymore.

Call it Reconstruction, part 2.