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| | |-+  Brown v. Board of Education
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Author Topic: Brown v. Board of Education  (Read 2755 times)
A18
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« on: September 16, 2005, 08:16:12 pm »
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347 U.S. 483

A few things to consider...

1. In 1880, a mere twelve years after ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Supreme Court in Strauder v. West Virginia interpreted the article as "declaring that the law in the States shall be the same for the black as for the white; that all persons, whether colored or white, shall stand equal before the laws of the States, and, in regard to the colored race, for whose protection the amendment was primarily designed, that no discrimination shall be made against them by law because of their color."

2. In the years immediately following ratification of the Fourteenth Amendment, as Congress attempted to enact legislation enforcing the Fourteenth Amendment, a substantial majority of both houses of Congress repeatedly voted to abolish segregation in the public schools. This legislation failed only on account of that "great American tradition," the filibuster, and other procedural obstacles.

3. Even if originally segregated schools were considered to be consistent with equality, objective comparisons of facilities and resources had long since disproved this idea by the time Brown came before the court.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2005, 08:19:31 pm by A18 »Logged
dazzleman
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« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2005, 08:34:39 pm »
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I agree with the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling.  There is no basis for discriminating in education on the basis of race.

Unfortunately, though, this decision was made for some of the wrong reasons, and this led to a mindset and a number of decisions and philosophies that were far less constitutionally sound, and very harmful.

Foremost was the attitude that the government can fully control a child's educational prospects, and that integration alone would bring educational progress.  We spent so long pursuing integration that we failed to notice that it wasn't working.  We failed to recognize or admit that home situation, family structure and community quality are probably bigger influences on education than anything the states control directly.

The idea that segregation was psychologically harmful underlay this decision, and while that certainly is true, it is not a legal issue.  This belief soon transformed itself into pushing for active measures to force integration where it would not occur naturally, rather than simply enduring forced segregation.

In the early years after Brown, in the south, integration was relatively easy to achieve simply by allowing children to go to the schools nearest their house.  In the south, black children were bused past white schools near their house to schools far away.

By the 1970s, however, the integration effort had spread to northern cities.  It was met there by boycotts and violence by whites, particularly in Boston.  The goal had now shifted from ending deliberate segregation, to forcing together people from different communities, and busing children far from their homes, often to neighborhoods that were hostile and dangerous for them.

All this brought no improvement in educational opportunities for blacks.  If anything, the situation is worse than before for those who attend school in the inner cities.  Busing and forced integration meant that urban school systems lost all but their most deprived and needy students.  Busing in practice simply meant forcing together poor blacks with poor whites.

It's a terrible shame to think of all the energy that went into forced integration, and how little attention was paid to education itself.  It is a perfect example of the arrogance of liberals who exempted themselves from the policies that they were forcing down other people's throats, and their arrogance was so great that they couldn't acknowledge how badly the policy was failing.

I oppose deliberate segregation, but we also have to recognize that schools will reflect communities, and our communities are not integrated, by and large, for a number of reasons.  Until we take an honest look at the reasons our communities are not integrated, rather than trying to short-cut an undemocratic and unconstitutional "solution" to this problem, we can expect to make no progress on this issue.
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Emsworth
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« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2005, 08:41:39 pm »
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This is a very easy question to answer (unlike the other question on Bolling): Brown was correctly decided. The segregation of students in state-run schools undoubtedly violated the equal protection clause. A18 has summarized the argument quite neatly above.

I think that point 3 is important, but even if the facilities were actually equal, the equal protection clause would have been violated. (In other words, "separate but equal" would be unconstitutional, even if the facilities were indeed equal.) "Equal protection of the law" does not mean just equal facilities, or equal access to government programs, for different races, but full and absolute equality. The very separation of the races constitutes the discrimination proscribed in Strauder.
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dazzleman
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« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2005, 09:50:29 pm »
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This is a very easy question to answer (unlike the other question on Bolling): Brown was correctly decided. The segregation of students in state-run schools undoubtedly violated the equal protection clause. A18 has summarized the argument quite neatly above.

I think that point 3 is important, but even if the facilities were actually equal, the equal protection clause would have been violated. (In other words, "separate but equal" would be unconstitutional, even if the facilities were indeed equal.) "Equal protection of the law" does not mean just equal facilities, or equal access to government programs, for different races, but full and absolute equality. The very separation of the races constitutes the discrimination proscribed in Strauder.

I believe legislated separation of the races constitutes inequality.

But what about the type of separation we have today -- it is not imposed from the top down, as legislated segregation was, but effectively comes from the grass roots, the result of millions of individual decisions.

Millions of individual decisions by both whites and blacks have produced neighborhoods and schools with a degree of racial separation just as high as legislated segregation provided.

Do you think government has an obligation, or even a right, to do anything about that?

I would also say that equality in education is something that can only be talked about in the abstract.  There is never total equality, even among different classes within the same school.  Even within school districts, schools are not always equal, because some have a newer building, a better field, etc.  Not to mention that government can't control the most important input to a child's education -- family structure and home environment.  Parents are the primary educators, and in communities with inadequate family structure and many parents who lack interest in their children's education, it is very difficult to have good schools, regardless of the facilities, money spent, etc.  I think that one of the great fallacies of the whole movement toward school integration was the failure or refusal to recognize these simple facts.
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Emsworth
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« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2005, 10:05:21 pm »
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But what about the type of separation we have today -- it is not imposed from the top down, as legislated segregation was, but effectively comes from the grass roots, the result of millions of individual decisions.
As long as it is not government-imposed, the equal protection clause is not implicated.
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dazzleman
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« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2005, 06:42:28 am »
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But what about the type of separation we have today -- it is not imposed from the top down, as legislated segregation was, but effectively comes from the grass roots, the result of millions of individual decisions.
As long as it is not government-imposed, the equal protection clause is not implicated.


I agree.  But some people don't.

A group in Connecticut sued the state on the grounds that Hartford public schools are unconstitutionally "segregated" because they're overwhelmingly non-white, despite the fact that the state had nothing to do with imposing that "segregation."  Actually, that's probably not fully true -- liberal policies of tolerance toward crime, encouragement of poverty-producing behavior, and forced integration drove the white middle class out of Hartford and most major cities, with the result being a very black and disadvantaged school system.

This lawsuit started in 1989 and went to the State Supreme Court, which ruled 4-3 in their favor, on very dubious grounds, in 1996.  The court ordered the legislature to come up with a "solution" (as if one exists) but didn't make specific suggestions.

The group pushing this wanted busing, but wouldn't say so directly, and Gov. Rowland ruled out busing from the start.  In the end, the legislature passed some minimal measures, like cultural exchanges between cities and suburbs, and a very small school choice program, and bought off the plaintiffs with magnet schools in the Hartford area.

The leader of this effort actually said that "busing would be a very effective tool of integration" and that school integration should be accompanied by "housing integration."  Has this woman been in a coma for the past 30 years?  How stupid can a person be?  And how would "housing integration" be achieved?  By ordering every third white family to move, and replace them with minorities?  These people are so stupid it's scary.

So while I agree with the Brown decision, and think it's wrong to legislate segregation, I think it's just as wrong to use government power to try to override legitimate individual choices.  Forced integration is no better than forced segregation.  The Brown decision unfortunately spawned a lot of destructive and harmful thinking about how government should force integration between people who wouldn't be together even if they were the same color.
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