It’s a myth that Brown ended segregation!

MONDAY, MAY 19, 2014

Princeton teams up with the Post: Every ten years, we discuss, and/or pretend to discuss, the deeply important 1954 Brown decision.

This is one of those times! For that reason, yesterday’s Washington Post published this brilliantly muddled report by Princeton professor Imani Perry:

“Five myths about Brown v. Board of Education”

In our view, the professor’s piece leaves no muddle behind, though it isn’t all Perry’s fault.

In this high-profile weekly feature, the Post insists that writers debunk five myths about some topic—not four myths and not six. If the writer can only uncover four myths, she has to invent a fifth.

Also, the points of contention must all be “myths.” In comments, one reader suggested that Perry’s piece should have been called, “Five things some folks don't fully understand about Brown v. Board of Education.”

For ourselves, we wouldn’t say that Perry’s piece rises to that level. But sorry. That isn’t allowed!

To our eye, Professor Perry goes out of her way in this piece to create and extend points of confusion, rather than to dispel them. In fairness, the professor is largely reworking a set of standard claims.

These presentations are designed to heighten the drama about our current public school arrangements. They drive the sense that everything is bad about our racial culture—bad and getting worse.

What’s wrong or misleading in Perry’s report? For starters, she muddies the meaning of “segregation,” a practice which is now quite common.

At one time, analysts would work to clarify the distinction between “de jure segregation,” which Brown outlawed, and “de facto segregation,” which it didn’t address. Today, it’s much more common to blur the distinction. This helps create the sense that everything is worse, so much worse.

That said, how many myths about Brown did Perry manage to dispel? At most, we’d say she got to one. You know a “Five Myths” piece is in trouble when it starts like this:
1. Brown v. Board of Education was only about school segregation.

It’s true that the case concerned segregation in public schools, but its impact went far beyond education...
In just her first two words, Perry acknowledges that her first “myth” is “true.” In the long history of this feature, that’s record time for admitting that you don’t really have “five myths.”

Perry’s second debunking is especially sad. Sadly, she seems to say it’s a myth to think that the Brown decision ended segregation.

Here you see the second “myth” and the bulk of the refutation:
2. Brown v. Board ended school segregation.

American schools are as segregated today as they were 40 years ago, largely because of residential segregation and the racial gaps in wealth and employment. In the 1970s, white flight to affluent suburbs weakened the tax base of cities, hitting black migrants to Northern cities hard. Their schools became under-funded and more isolated than in the Southern Jim Crow states they had fled. Today, the Northeast has the most racially homogenous schools; New York state and Washington, D.C., have the most segregated schools—by race and economic status. And since there is no constitutional right to an education, the federal courts cannot mandate that schools get equal funding. Within schools, advanced programs have become forms of segregation. One study found that, as of 2006, African American students were underrepresented by 48 percent in gifted education; Hispanic students are underrepresented by 38 percent.
Did the Brown decision “end segregation?” Pshaw, Professor Perry says. “American schools are as segregated today as they were 40 years ago.”

Since Brown was announced 60 years ago, this doesn’t exactly address the basic question. Meanwhile, if Brown didn’t “end segregation” in some basic way, you’ll have to explain these enrollment figures from six Tuscaloosa high schools (city and county):
Bryant High: 19 percent white, 75 percent black
Hillcrest High: 57 percent white, 41 percent black
Holt High: 44 percent white, 51 percent black
Northridge High: 35 percent white, 61 percent black
Sipsey Valley High: 73 percent white, 25 percent black
Tuscaloosa County High: 60 percent white, 36 percent black
Before the Brown decision, black kids and white kids didn’t attend school together in Alabama at all. Today, large numbers of Alabama kids go to school black-and-white together.

Did “ancient aliens” make this happen? The History Channel might want to consult this high-ranking Princeton professor.

In fact, the Brown decision did “end segregation” in some fairly obvious ways. It’s sad to see the Washington Post let a Princeton professor denounce that claim as a “myth.”

Meanwhile, just for the record, is that other claim true? Are American schools “as segregated today as they were 40 years ago” in some sense?

In support of her claim, Perry links to this lengthy report; you’ll have to fumble through it looking for the evidence she has in mind (Table 7 may be your best bet). That said, Professor Perry seems to mean that American schools are as “racially unbalanced,” by certain measures, as they were in the 1970s, twenty years after Brown.

We’ll examine that (somewhat slippery) claim as the week proceeds. But even if that claim is judged to be true, that doesn’t mean that American schools are “segregated” in the way they were before Brown.

At any rate, that was Perry’s second myth; it’s a “myth” to say that the Brown decision “ended segregation!” On that basis, we had to chuckle as we perused her discussion of her third myth. It seemed to us that her third debunking conflicted a bit with her second:
3. School segregation was a problem only for African Americans in the South.

Although the starkest Jim Crow laws were found in the Deep South, school segregation was practiced all across the United States. Oliver and Darlene Brown, the lead plaintiffs in Brown v. Board, brought the case in Topeka, Kan. Two of the other cases joined in the Brown litigation were in Delaware and the District...

Brown v. Board of Education had national and multiracial impact. Before the Supreme Court decision, Mexican Americans were segregated in practice, if not by law, in California, Arizona, Texas and Colorado, with the justification that they were native Spanish-speakers. And in several parts of the country, Asian Americans and Native Americans were also segregated.
We’ll guess that many Post readers already know that dual school systems were maintained in the District of Columbia and in “border states” like Delaware (and Maryland) before the Brown decision.

(In the passage we’ve posted, we’ve omitted a chunk about segregation in Boston schools before the time of the Civil War. This was an informative chunk which, of course, had absolutely nothing to do with the Brown decision.)

That said, note the professor’s statement about the Brown decision’s “national and multiracial impact.” In her debunking of Myth 2, she seemed to say that the Brown decision didn’t “end segregation.” In this, her debunking of Myth 3, she seems to hail the way it did exactly that for Mexican-American kids.

Or something! The professor never exactly makes sense. Here’s our best guess at the reason:

For political reasons, all presentations on this topic must paint a gloomy picture. In her segment about Myth 2, Perry is saying that things are gloomier now than you might have imagined. In her segment about Myth 3, she is saying that things were gloomier then than you might have realized.

All things must be gloomier than you would have suspected! That explains the passage from Myth 2 about “gifted education” programs. Black kids aren’t “underrepresented” in such programs because of their academic profiles. They’re “underrepresented” because of segregation!

In this way, “segregation” becomes our Benghazi! Feel bad, feel very bad!

Perry’s fourth “myth” includes information which may be surprising to many people. Her fifth “myth” has nothing to do with the Brown decision at all. All in all, the Princeton professor presented a rather large puddle of piddle. Even worse, the Washington Post was willing to put it in print.

It’s a myth that Brown ended segregation! Feel bad, feel very bad, for kids who go to Princeton.

Feel bad, feel extremely bad, for people who get their heads all muddled up by things they read in the Post.

18 comments:

  1. Totally uncluttered 3:32

    KZ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jesus wept.

      Delete

    2. How To Stop A Divorce And Save Your Marriage?(Dr Brave).


      Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in TEXAS,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly email this wonderful man {bravespellcaster@gmail.com},i f you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to "bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, Thanks..

      Delete
  2. I was surprised and disappointed to read that In New York and three other states – Illinois, Maryland and Michigan – more than half of all black students attend schools that are 90% or more non-white.

    So we still have a ways to go and there do not seem to be any real solutions on the horizon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. A study of race and neighborhood self-segregation in Oak Park Illinois showed that people of either race started to feel uncomfortable in a neighborhood when people of their own race were less than 35% of the population. This happened whether homeowners were white or black. Once a minority group exceeded 35% that neighborhood would quickly become the overwhelming majority, regardless of race. They concluded that only by carefully managing home sales based on race could a 50% white/black balance be achieved.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Got a link to this "study"? I didn't think so.

      You also ever hear of "black flight"? That would be white people moving into a black neighorhood and all the black people suddenly putting their homes up for sale. I also didn't think so, although you seem to think it happens as often as "white flight."

      I happen to live in a 102-house in a "white flight" neighborhood. I bought the house because it was cheap, and it was cheap because of depressed home values because all the white people put their homes up for sale at practically the same time.

      Delete
    2. 102-year-old house, of course. With plaster and lathe interior walls, and hardwood floors.

      Delete
    3. Start here:

      http://www.liveinoakpark.com/history

      So sad to encounter someone so google-impaired.

      Delete
    4. @8:30 -- the study found black flight as black people preferred neighborhoods with a higher percentage of black people. There is also black flight from black urban neighborhoods that are deteriorating. Why wouldn't black people choose to live in neighborhoods that best suit their needs, given the chance? When you remove restrictions, people do choose and black people use color in much the same way as white people do. Where did the Obamas live in Chicago -- and presumably they could have picked wherever they wanted?

      But it is easier to believe your own preconceptions and stick by your own opinions than to consider actual data on a topic. The point of empirical study is to let it inform your thinking.

      Delete
    5. The link you provided was hardly a "study" by any reasonable understanding of the word -- and in fact, says the opposite of what you claim it says. It says that Integrated communities are certainly possible.

      Since you are unable to link to an real, bonafide study, I will presume you pulled it where you pulled the rest of your so-called "facts" about blacks fleeing neighborhoods when whites move in.

      And in case you are too dense to get that reference, it's a place where the sun don't shine.

      Delete
  5. This discussion would be more effective if blacks could be somehow categorized by class. When my children were in school in Berkeley, CA 35 years ago, there was a substantial black underclass in the city. There was middle class flight from schools with a lot of black underclass students. Those fleeing include whites, Asians, and middle class blacks. In fact, I was told that the problem of having a large black underclass was greater for black middle class students than for white or Asian middle class students.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would it be much more effective, or only slightly more?

      Delete
  6. The Atlantic has a really good article on this topic.

    ReplyDelete

  7. How To Stop A Divorce And Save Your Marriage?(Dr Brave).


    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in TEXAS,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly email this wonderful man {bravespellcaster@gmail.com},i f you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to "bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, Thanks..

    ReplyDelete

  8. Hello, my name is Miss faith, I'm from USA. I want to inform you all that there is a spell caster that is genuine and real. I never really believed in any of these things but when I was losing Garvin, I needed help and somewhere to turn badly. I found consultant.odia spells and i ordered a LOVE SPELL. Several days later, my phone rang. Garvin was his old self again and wanted to come back to me! Not only come back, the spell caster opened him up to how much I loved and needed him. Spell Casting isn't brainwashing, but they opened his eyes to how much we have to share together. I recommend anyone who is in my old situation to try it. It will bring you a wonderful surprises as well as your lover back to you. The way things were meant to be." you can contact the spell caster on ogbonispelitemple@hotmail.com he's very nice and great.

    ReplyDelete