A principal talks to 8th-graders about school safety in Wellsville, New York. Many public schools in the US remain largely segregated.

The dangerous hypocrisy of white liberals about race

But this is not an archive video of white southerners in the 1960s. The event was held last year in Howard County, Maryland, a suburban community that prides itself on ethnic integration. There, progressive white parents mobilized with other groups to try to stop a school integration program that sent poor students (mostly black and brown) to richer, more white schools.

The ferocity of the resistance shocked Willie Flowers, the father of two eighth-grade boys at Howard County School. He said it was a memory of the racism he encountered while attending school at Southern White University.

NAACP Maryland State Conference Chairperson, Hua Hua said: “I am from Alabama. I thought I was running away from this kind of nonsense.” “There was a situation where the Allied flags and epitaphs were used in high school football games.”

In 2020, white support for the “Black Life Issues” movement is Reach the highest in history. People are Bought a lot of books about anti-racism It is difficult for booksellers to stock up. Commentator said The George Floyd protests that erupted this spring could lead to “a bold step to address systemic racial inequality-bold, comprehensive compensation.”

However, any attack on deep-rooted racism will become one of the most serious obstacles to real change: kind white people.

The media likes to focus on people who are easily bullied by villains who play racist roles in mobile videos. But some scholars and activists say that good whites-progressives in Blue State Who will vote for Obama for the third time If possible-is the most tenacious supporter of system racism.

Many people are such dangerous opponents of racial progress because their goals do not see the arrival of racism, and usually they do not. Scholars say that these people are often motivated by unconscious racism. They hate to use harmless terms such as “neighborhood school” and “property value” to acknowledge and disguise racial hatred.

Only white people are willing to give up the power and resources where they live, otherwise there will be no real change. Matthew Delmont said: “Why fail: race, media and national resistance to school segregation”.

“Change is real, not a symbolic sign that people are making real changes to things near their backyards, such as supporting affordable housing in nearby areas, or plans to integrate schools,” Del Monte Say. Professor of History at Dartmouth College.

But he said that many whites have never been willing to take this step.

“Broadly speaking, white Americans and other people with socioeconomic status must be willing to give up something in order to build a more just and fair society.”

Why do comprehensive schools cause so much resistance

When it comes to this issue, history cannot inspire confidence. This is why not much has changed One scholar called racial equality “zero ground”: Schools and houses.

Today, more and more whites have appeared on the lawn of the “black life problem” sign. But statistics show that if more blacks start sending their children to school with white children, then these lives are not important.

Public schools in the United States are still highly segregated, not only in the South, but also in many blue states and progressive communities.

A principal talked with eighth graders about school safety in Wellsville, New York. Many public schools in the United States are basically in isolation.
Published by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), a non-profit think tank A report This year’s conclusion is that 60 years after the Supreme Court declared that “separate but equal” schools were unconstitutional, American schools “still remain severely segregated due to race and ethnicity.”

It said that less than 13% of white students attend schools with a majority of black students, while nearly 70% of black children attend such schools.

Attributing all these failures to white southerners would be a shoddy history. In the early 1970s, resistance to buses in places like Boston was as vicious as in the South. But those in the North who opposed school integration used terms such as “forced buses” to disguise their racial hostility.

Protests about integrated schools are not new. In 1965, members of the parents opposed the association that protested outside the Education Committee in Brooklyn, New York, and opposed the proposal to merge public schools.

Del Monte said: “In general, they will say that they are not racists, and they are not like the racists of the South. They are actually liberal and vote for the Democratic Party.” “But when it comes to their backyard At that time, they had different opinions.”

Despite such a high level of school isolation, evidence From 1964 to 1980, at the height of school segregation, this integration benefited both whites and blacks. During that era, the high school graduation rate and test scores of black students improved significantly, but integration also Reduce racial prejudice among whites.

It cannot be said that all progressive white parents who resist changing the racial makeup of their children are hypocrites. Del Monte said that some of their behavior is also caused by “opportunity hoarding.”

He said: “As soon as white parents enter a school district that they think is good for their children, they will do everything they can to build barriers around them and reserve resources for themselves and a few of their peers.”

Not all resistance can be attributed to race. Some parents in Howard County Said they opposed the school redistribution plan Because this will force them to commute longer and lose long-term friends, thereby hurting the wealthier students who are mainly black and brown. According to the “New York Times” report on the school’s struggle to regroup, in public meetings, many people said they were Democrats and worked for non-profit social justice organizations.
On November 23, 1975, the demonstrators carried signs of opposition to forced school attendance outside the Democratic Party Leadership Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.
However, their efforts failed. Howard County Passed the plan In November of last year. The plan is based on socio-economic integration (Supreme Court Race-based integration plans are no longer allowed), but it will change the racial makeup of some schools because many of the poor students who will be sent to wealthier, whiter schools are black or brown.

Huahua said he was still angry at the racial tension exposed in that episode. Since Howard County included Columbia, which was one of the country’s first planned integrated communities, his resistance also shocked him. He also said that some of the opponents of the school plan were Black.

He said: “It is surprising that the negative reaction, sulfuric acid, is not only the resistance of white families, but also other races.” “They all strongly opposed the idea of ​​letting their families and African American children go to school together.”

Why American cities are still largely isolated

There is a long tradition of white resistance to racially integrated housing. Pastor Martin Luther King Jr. once said that some of the most annoying people he encountered were white residents of Chicago who had boycotted the open housing movement he led in 1966. During a parade, Jin was hit in the head by a stone. These are the few times he showed fear on the camera.

Today, this resistance has disappeared. Many whites are increasingly accepting people of color nearby. However, if too many ethnic minorities enter, many whites will start renting vans. This phenomenon is so common that sociologists gave it a name: racial “tipping point.”

President Trump recently reviewed this history He quoted He revoked a housing law aimed at combating residential segregation.

In a message posted on Twitter, Trump told “all those who realize their suburban lifestyle dreams, you will not be troubled or financially hurt by building a low-income home in your community.”

Sisters Corlia, Kayla, Aaliyah and Kaylen Smith are standing on the front porch of B.W. Cooper's housing project in New Orleans.

American suburbs are becoming more and more diverse-the Democratic Party’s invasion of suburban voters shows this.

“However, the segregation rate of blacks and whites is still high,” said Richard D. Kahlenberg, the housing segregation agency. In a recent article Co-authored with Kimberly Quick, a scholar and contributor to the Century Foundation, an advanced think tank.

Both cited two “astounding facts” about housing segregation:

“Middle-class blacks live in communities where the poverty rate is higher than low-income whites; the average wealth of African-American families headed by a bachelor’s degree is less than that of white families headed by high school graduates.”

So, in the 1968 Fair Housing Act and other laws banning the rental, purchase and financing of houses based on race, religion, nationality or gender, how can housing segregation continue for decades?

Two words: Zoning.

Scholars and activists say that political leaders can still prevent blacks and browns from entering more affluent white communities by using exclusive zoning laws, which prohibit the construction of low-income homes or apartments.

A suburban community in El Monte, New York. Despite laws prohibiting housing discrimination, many American cities are still segregated.
This one High residential isolation Not limited to the red state. Some of the most racially segregated houses are located Progressive cities like Chicago.

Omar Wasow, an assistant professor of political science at Princeton University, said that the conflict between the politics of white homeowners and the zoning laws that made segregation possible could cause some strange visual effects. Vasso said that housing policy is “zero foundation” for racial equality because it affects the ability to obtain good schools and job opportunities and to create wealth.

“People in Princeton Town will have a “Black Lives Issue” sign on their front lawn that says “We love our Muslim neighbors”, but they oppose changing the zoning policy, saying you must have half an acre per acre. House.” He says.

“This means,’We love our Muslim neighbors as long as they are millionaires.'”

What is the real change

There are many examples of progressive white Americans who are willing to give up some racial progress beyond symbolism.

When Viola Liuzzo, a white Detroit housewife, was killed by racists during the Selma campaign in 1965, she gave her life for black voting rights. White people voted for Obamacare and other plans, which levied taxes on the wealthy in a disproportionate way to help blacks and browns. Some white families insist on sending their children to racially diverse public schools and do their best to worship and live in racially mixed communities.

James Juanillo poses and writes a chalk message outside his home in San Francisco, California on June 14, 2020.

There is also White City, where business and civic leaders are pushing for profound racial change.

Wasow cited officials in places like Minneapolis, Minnesota, who recently voted for “Upgrade” their city The zoning law allows the construction of more apartments. He also cited the example of Laurel Hill, a suburb of New Jersey, where the state once implemented a zoning policy to shut out low-income families until a series of court disputes forced the town to change its zoning laws to create more affordable housing. .
Will this change lead to a sharp drop in property values ​​and schools with high crime rates? Not based on a highly touted study Recently quoted by The New York Times. The book pointed out that a residential development in Laurel Hill, aimed at attracting more low-income people, is now seamlessly integrated with the community. Ten years later, most of the neighbors in nearby districts cannot even be named.Climbing laurel“.

Dartmouth Professor Delmont said the benefits of apartheid in schools are also well documented. He said that facts have proved that spreading educational resources around the metropolitan area can improve the community. He said that there is also a selfish reason that white parents should not worry about racially integrated schools.

He said: “If your child has not experienced integration before entering the labor market, then you are not trying to train your child as an adult in the world like now.”

Nevertheless, many whites have the talent to avoid these choices. Shannon Sullivan, Author of “The Good White: The Problem of Middle-Class White Anti-racism”.
Sandra Soto, the principal of public school 705, an elementary school in Brooklyn, gave a speech at a parent gathering in 2016. The pilot program allowed seven elementary schools in New York City to adjust their admissions policies to promote diversity by setting aside places for low-income children.

Some people do this by accusing lower-class white people of continuing racism. They pursue a lifestyle of “white middle-class kindness”-speaking the right words and avoiding public acts of racial discrimination-but using this kindness as a mechanism to evade responsibility and protect the status of white people.

Sullivan said that many progressive whites often do not realize this bias. They do not intend to intentionally exclude people of color from their public schools or communities. She said in the book that many attempts to protect her identity “are carried out unconsciously, but they still exist and are effective.” Sullivan said that one of the most popular deflection strategies is to call for racial reconciliation.

She said: “Reconciliation is to make white people feel uncomfortable.” “They don’t portray in this way, but they just don’t want to feel uncomfortable. If some black people are angry about it, it will make them not feel good about themselves. .”

Sullivan said that when Americans are now debating how to move forward, she prefers that fellow whites focus on another term.

She said: “I want to hear about justice.” I want to hear about the restoration of destroyed communities. I don’t want to hear how we can make white people feel comfortable again. ”

However, justice usually means giving up some power or sharing resources. This is a step that many good white Americans are unwilling to take. When was the last time you heard someone talk publicly about pursuing integration? This racial optimism sounds primitive, like a relic from another era.

Maybe George Floyd’s protests will change this racial pessimism. It is encouraging to see rubber bullets and tear gas on the “white mother’s wall” to promote racial justice. Yes, seeing white people buying things like “How to be an anti-racist“.

Everything is better than the racial hostility that was so common before.

But this is a disturbing fact. Many blacks and browns know from their painful experiences:

Unless more white people are willing to give up a certain opportunity to change the racial makeup of their place of residence and send their children to school, there will be no real racial awakening in the United States.

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