MONDAY, JUNE 10, 2019

Starting tomorrow, Desegregation and scold:
How many American public school kids still attend a "segregated" school?

More the point, does it make sense to retain that historically fraught terminology? Does it generate more heat than light? Does it help elect people like Donald J. Trump?

Might it reek of stolen valor? You're asking some very good questions!

We can all be sure of one thing—it doesn't make sense to define "segregation" as our progressive professoriate now does. According to our progressive thought leaders, these would all be segregated schools:
Student enrollment, Public School S1
White kids: 50 percent
Black kids: 25 percent
Hispanic kids: 25 percent

Student enrollment, Public School S2
White kids: 40 percent
Black kids: 30 percent
Hispanic kids: 30 percent

Student enrollment, Public School S3
White kids: 25 percent
Black kids: 25 percent
Hispanic kids: 25 percent
Asian-American kids: 25 percent

Student enrollment, Public School S4
White kids: 50 percent
Black kids: 50 percent
According to our top thought leaders in this area, those would all be "segregated schools!"

Indeed, if we waved a magic wand and created perfect racial balance in all our public schools on a national basis, every school would be "segregated," according to the prevailing definition from the top progressive experts in the field!

Can we self-impressed modern progressives really be that daft? According to leading international experts, we can be and frequently are!

Starting tomorrow, we'll extend our exploration of this embarrassing anthropological topic. Last week, our initial reports on the subject went exactly like this:
Tuesday, June 4: "Segregation forever," George Wallace cried. What was "segregation" then?

Wednesday, June 5:
The Civil Rights Project defines a key term! What's "segregation" today?

Thursday, June 6: "Segregation" has come a long way, baby! "Segregation" wherever you look.

Friday, June 7:
"Segregation" arrives in Wobegon. Once again, "segregation" forever!
In those reports, we began to examine the peculiar way our tribe likes to discuss "segregation." Starting tomorrow, we'll explore a related question:

Why does the state of New York have so many "segregated" schools? Also, does our tribe's rather obvious love of performative virtue really help people like Trump?

Anthropologists say our tribe is involved in a love affair with "sacred misstatement" and with a type of scolding "performative virtue." We can't say for sure if these top experts are right.

At any rate, Desegregation and scold! Our reports begin tomorrow. We'll visit the sidewalks, and the empty expanses, of the (rather large) state of New York!


  1. "Also, does our tribe's rather obvious love of performative virtue really help people like Trump?"

    Um, Bob, but what exactly could you mean by "people like Trump"? Why, no doubt, the deplorables, the live ones - right? Live human beings outside of your zombie cult.

    Tsk. No, your bullshit doesn't help us, not by any conceivable definition of the word "help".

    This bullshit, so thickly spread by your zombie cult priests, it only helps your zombie cult leaders. Y'know, because it tends to motivate your rank-and-file liberal zombies.

    Does this answer your question, dear Bob?

  2. I guarantee that desegregation is not on the radar of any Trump supporters or anyone on the fence about voting for Trump.

    According to the list of labels quoted here a few days ago, most of those schools would be considered multiracial, not segregated. The idea that professors cannot think clearly about this issue is wrong. Somerby's denigration of professors and their concerns might be described as anti-intellectualism, a major thread in conservative thought. Once again, Somerby scoffs at liberal concerns (racial integration in schools) and attacks professors and education researchers, using a trivial non-issue repeated ad infinitum. Once again Somerby proves he is no liberal, although he pretends to be one.

    If there were anyone driving voters toward Trump, it is Somerby and his depiction of a false liberal. While Somerby rails about the made-up concerns of liberal virtue-signaling, he models a kind of narrow-focused triviality that is part of the conservative attack on liberals. So if his argument about desegregation fails, the manner in which he talks about this stuff "from a liberal perspective" will drive people away from the liberal camp. It's win-win for Somerby. That's why it is important that Somerby be clearly labeled as non-liberal and atypical of liberal concerns.

  3. "Also, does our tribe's rather obvious love of performative virtue really help people like Trump?"

    No. All human beings love performative virtue. Why wouldn't someone want to be seen as a good person according to his community's standards? But liberals do not do this any more often than conservatives or Trump supporters. What are those t-shirts and hats all about? Performative virtue. So are the chants.

    Somerby implies that people who are engaged in performative virtue signaling do not actually care about the issues they are using for performative virtue. Why would that be true? Why cannot someone both care about an issue (desegregation, Hillary's emails) while also engaged in performative virtue signaling?

    Professors are engaged in something else too. They may care about desegregation as a strongly held value, and they may engage in performative virtue signaling (who doesn't?) but they are also doing a job and earning a living. The research reported is a professor's work, their contribution to our society, their way of supporting their families. Most people feel that the work they do to earn a living is also something worth doing because it helps others or contributes something to the community. Researchers can choose what they study, so those professors have deliberately chosen that work to do, on a full time basis, to help others while earning a living.

    When Somerby implies that this is empty and valueless signaling of virtue, he ignores the contribution that a whole group of people are making to our understanding of how to best educate kids. I don't know what Somerby's motivation is for this ongoing attack on professors, but it is mean-spirited, false, and a waste of everyone's time. Just like the behaviors at Trump rallies and the efforts that got Trump elected. Just like the activities of Trump's appointees, now undoing the efforts of federal employees all over the country. Whatever professors do, it isn't anything like the destructive nihilism Somerby displays here day after day, mirroring the work of Trump's minions in office. Both are sick, destructive people damaging our country. Just like the trolls who are attracted to Somerby's offal, like flies to cow patties. Somerby should be ashamed.

    1. "Somerby implies that people who are engaged in performative virtue signaling do not actually care about the issues they are using for performative virtue."

      I look forward to deadrat's post denying that Somerby repeats nonsense Right-wing memes.

    2. TDH asks “"Also, does our tribe's rather obvious love of performative virtue really help people like Trump?” and @10:24 answers

      No. All human beings love performative virtue. Why wouldn't someone want to be seen as a good person according to his community's standards?

      You’re correct, @10:24, the answer is most likely no. But the reason is that people like Trump (and people who like Trump) don’t give a shit about public education beyond excoriating teachers unions and supporting efforts to turn the whole enterprise over to grifters like Betsy DeVos.

      But you’ve got the wrong idea about performative virtue, which isn’t a type of virtue, which everyone loves. Performative virtue is a display of support for a cause that either masks an opposite feeling or marks the limits of the performers' efforts. A combat vet marching in a patriotic July 4th parade is not an example of performative virtue: the vet actually put his life on the line for his country. Trump’s attempts at orchestrating a military parade, however, is an example. When he faced the draft, he got a phony deferment to avoid the draft; he disrespects the military when it suits his narrative; and he undermines the country’s institutions for his personal profit. The parade, i.e., the performance is all there is.

    3. @11:46,

      Speak my name three times. I dare you.

      Let me remind you that when right-wing memes are untrue, they’re not untrue because they’re right wing; they’re untrue because they’re wrong. This is not to say that you should ignore the source. As I’m fond of saying, if the devil offers you a light, it’s time to reconsider smoking. But smoking isn’t bad for you because the devil likes it; it’s bad for you because medical research has shown that smoking causes cancer. You may be forgiven your lapse because right-wing memes are almost always wrong, but to judge them by their company and not their content is intellectual laziness.

      TDH posits a harsh ethic: you can’t claim to care if you don’t act with care. TDH won’t accept that reporters care about education if they write articles in the NYT about education and get their facts wrong.

      TDH has a small point here: the words segregation and apartheid are terrible choices to describe the state of the schools in New York state because of the history of those words. They may mislead readers into thinking an old problem has re-emerged and may mislead others into trying to adopt inapt solutions.

      But TDH has missed a much larger point. The report he contemns regards the racial imbalance in New York’s schools with a clear eye. In fact, it directly addresses the dearth of white kids. The solutions it proposes do not contemplate a state of de jure segregation. If TDH read the report, he certainly didn’t understand it.

      TDH’s suggests that “stolen valor” is involved. This not only speaks to motive, something he can’t know, the authors of the report don’t commit the sins he ascribes to them.

  4. From Lili Loofbourow at Slate, via Daily Kos:

    "What remains concerning about that history is Biden’s tendency to enthusiastically claim life experiences that aren’t his own, whether because it’s politically advantageous or rhetorically exciting to do so. He didn’t just use hefty chunks from a published law review for a 15-page paper in law school. He didn’t just lift some phrases from Bobby Kennedy. In 1987, Biden started borrowing not just language but biographical details from U.K. Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock, citing nonexistent coal-mining ancestors and wondering aloud why he was the first in his family to go to college (he wasn’t). Biden also lied—repeatedly, and despite being repeatedly corrected—about marching for civil rights. He has (correctly!) said that he helped in other ways, but he did not march; that didn’t stop him from claiming he did and inviting people to “remember” those brave actions with him. Why would someone do this? …"

    I won't vote for someone who does this. It is no better than what Trump does. Lying is not OK in a president.

  5. @10:24 Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I agree with much of it. As you point out, virtue-signaling often promotes beneficial behavior. As a Jew working in an antisemitic industry, I benefited personally from virtue-signaling.

    Bob's contention is that in today's world, signaling one's virtue by fighting for school segregation does not promote beneficial behavior. Education is the main goal. Bob argues that many current efforts toward integration do not promote improved education.

    I think the situation is even worse in higher education. I think most colleges consider it an urgent goal in itself to have an adequate percentage of black students, regardless of whether their presence helps students of any race.

  6. Recommended reading:
    “The Racial Achievement Gap, Segregated Schools, and Segregated Neighborhoods – A Constitutional Insult”
    By Richard Rothstein • November 12, 2014

    Rothstein makes several important observations, including:

    - “Education policy is constrained by housing policy: it is not possible to desegregate schools without desegregating both low-income and affluent neighborhoods.“
    - “It has become conventional for policymakers to assert that the residential isolation of low-income black children is now “de facto,” the accident of economic circumstance, demographic trends, personal preference, and private discrimination. But the historical record demonstrates that residential segregation is “de jure,” resulting from racially-motivated and explicit public policy whose effects endure to the present.”
    - “We cannot substantially improve the performance of the poorest African American students – the “truly disadvantaged,” in William Julius Wilson’s phrase – by school reform alone. It must be addressed primarily by improving the social and economic conditions”
    - “Evidence is especially impressive for long term outcomes for adolescents and young adults who have attended integrated schools”

    And he comes to the startling conclusion:
    “But the conventional wisdom of contemporary education policy notwithstanding, there is no evidence that segregated schools with poorly performing students can be “turned around” while remaining racially isolated. “

    That directly challenges Somerby’s complaints, and it ought to be of grave concern to anyone who truly cares about black kids.

    1. Per Richard Rothstein via @12:40P:

      “But the conventional wisdom of contemporary education policy notwithstanding, there is no evidence that segregated schools with poorly performing students can be ‘turned around’ while remaining racially isolated.”

      Per @12:40P:

      That [quote] directly challenges Somerby’s complaints….

      It does? TDH complains about the low level of reporting and public discussion about education. When did TDH claim that segregated schools with low-performing students can be turned around? I’m led to believe otherwise by his skepticism about stories on “The Little School System That Could” and happy-talk reporting about test scores that are clearly faked.

    2. @deadrat
      My memory tells me that Somerby has said something along the lines of (not an actual quote) “desegregation can’t really work, so you libs will have to think of something else to address the achievement gaps given the current demographic situation”, and Rothstein is basically saying that the achievement gaps can’t be fixed *unless* you desegregate. In other words, Somerby’s discussion has never been solely directed at the media, and it isn’t just about the terms being used, but also about desegregation as a viable solution. Otherwise, why does he harp on achievement gaps if he doesn’t think they can be fixed?

    3. I think what he’s said is that there aren’t enough white kids in many urban public school districts to desegregate the schools in the sense of the desegregation goals of the 1960s. What’s your desegregation plan for TDH’s favorite example, the Laredo Independent School District, which is 99% Hispanic?

      The report that TDH disparages notes that failing schools are economically isolated.

      I have no idea whether TDH thinks the problem gaps can be fixed. That’s because he doesn’t write about solutions (to the never ending outrage of his detractors here). He writes about the refusal of the press to discuss the problem.

      I’ve read the solutions proposed by the CRI’s New York report, and to the extent they’re not feckless, they have as much chance of adoption as does the repeal of the 21st Amendment. So I don’t think the gaps have practicable solutions, but I can’t speak for TDH.

  7. Bob, you are (maybe unintentionally) a fool and a hypocrite.
    You taught for a decade in Baltimore. 99.9% of your students were black.
    How did they do under your tutelage?
    I'm sure that 300 years of slavery, 100 years of subjugation and 100 years of segregation had zero effect on their performance.
    But as you write over and over: It's all the fault of the liberals.
    Say hey to DinC and Mao and all the other bigots that are your fans.
    And keep covering your ass with "Trump is nuts".

    1. @8:39 you're missing the point entirely. The question is not why blacks do worse in school on average. The question is: What can be done to improved the situation? Bob argues that there are more productive approaches than focusing on racial integration. Given his many years of relevant experience, his opinion is worth paying attention to.

      BTW calling other people "racists" may make you feel good, but it doesn't help black students.

    2. For fuck's sake, @8:39, if David in Cal, this commentariat's Village Idiot, can tell you're missing the point, you need to seriously reconsider your position.

    3. "BTW calling other people "racists" may make you feel good, but it doesn't help black students."

      Agreed. Promoting the general welfare of the people is what is going to help black students. What's the hold-up? I say it's Conservatives harping about the richest nation in the history of mankind being too broke to help black students. That doesn't necessarily make them "racists', but it certainly makes them awful excuses for human beings.
      What say you?

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