Monday, June 27, 2005

Time to overrule Brown

Inflammatory enough title?

Brown should go. It was a huge decision, unfortunately watered down by the pathetic phrase in Brown II, "all deliberate speed," combined with the understandable but totally unacceptable campaign of massive resistance based in the South and grounded entirely on hatred of blacks - no matter what anyone else ever tells you, the South did not resist out of love - and note that segregation, discrimination, and racial hatred are not purely artifacts of the South, although I do not currently see any State Constitutions outside the South that still have relics of slavery in their provisions... Alabama, I'm looking at you now...

End of digression. Brown.

Time for it to go.


Because it was decided poorly, that's why. Just as Roe v. Wade suffers today not because the public isn't in favor of it- most Americans do not want what the American Taliban wants (make it illegal for a raped 13-year old to abort her four-months-gone fetus, because she didn't ask her rapist-stepfather for permission first - or even, make it illegal for her to do it without informing him, which would be as good as a death sentence for her, she knows, because of his prior threats... the American Taliban doesn't just hate women, children, and the poor. It hates people, and sex. Especially people who have sex) ... most Americans support the right of a competent woman to choose, in consultation with a doctor, whether to terminate, for example, unwanted pregnancies (or unwilling ones, in the case of rape, particularly incestuous rape), or pregnancies which will threaten her life, or pregnancies where the child is known to be acephalic, and thus have no hope ever of leading any life worth living.

But Brown, see... Brown still looks good, some ways. Not to Justice Thomas, of course, a favorite topic of mine. So what's the matter with Brown?

Look at the book "What Brown Should have Said" and read what they wrote. Look at the first opinion itself. Seriously, go look. I'll post links later if someone reminds me to.

Brown said, "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, 347 U.S. 483, 495 (1954). This may have seemed true at the time.

But the truth is, "unequal educational facilities are inherently separate." The rich will always go a long way to avoid a bad school, and the poor and immobile will always be stuck with one, until we make equal education the hallmark and touchstone of equality law. Equal participation. Equal books. Less reliance on local property taxes for local schools (it lets the rich - and that's most often the rich whites, not that this is a _race_ problem alone, it's also a class problem - buy their way to better local schools, and thus a better entree to society), and more statewide and federal money. If parents want to buy their kids better opportunities, let them lobby and fundraise for improved schools for all public school kids.

So make the schools equal, and white flight can end. Make equal social opportunities available, and watch racism dry up as a weed without water or light.

Brown's wrong because a well-funded, well-supported all-Black school is a fine thing, and so is an all-white under certain circumstances. Here I'm thinking places like Minnesota or South Dakota, where it's not just a paucity of ethnic minorities [as defined by nationwide demographics], but that even certain flavors of white Christians are rare, because it's such a homogeous place. Segregation's not the problem, inequality is. If everyplace had equal facilities, who'd care if a particular group wanted to go off and live alone?

Reasons why segregation is still a problem in a future post - when I feel like it.


At 3:57 PM, June 27, 2005, Blogger Joe said...

I enjoy your blog, and have added it to one of my favorites that I read regularly.

At 4:57 PM, June 27, 2005, Blogger Eh Nonymous said...

You... you don't know what that means to me! [sniffle]

More seriously, the first ten commenters to this blawg will win a one-time-only prize, not redeemable in cash, offer void if prohibited by state law: I plan to do a review, see my Placeholder Post, of any blawg or blogger that is particularly nice to me, or I deem similarly deserving.

Substantive commenters will be included in the first batch, and in every subsequent batch until I reach, you know, 10. After that, I'll reserve the right to do what I feel like. :)

At 8:34 PM, July 01, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Equal funding for every public school. I can see a few problems. For example, different school sizes, population density differences leading to school district differences. School district differences resulting in less dense county schools getting screwed paying for ten times the busing. Well, I guess that's for the angry PTAs to figure out.

At 10:36 AM, July 04, 2005, Blogger Eh Nonymous said...

Is busing truly the expense? I always figured infrastructure, payroll, services like special ed and ESOL and translation / ASL support and special needs and, unfortunately, sometimes social services, were the main drags. I mean... buses? We can do the bus thing. Busing was always controversial, in the post-Brown sense, but I always figured it was a different kind of problem:

Picture a school with 17 children in the classroom, with textbooks for each, with internet access, with a rich media center, with a new gym, with green fields for play. Picture another school: 34 kids in the smallest classes, some sitting on lone chairs or perched on the windowsill or on the floor, with literally one ragged textbook for the class, with a hole in the ceiling dripping in the rainwater, with no A/C in the summer, with a dusty and padlocked yard for recess, with fear of guns all around (thanks to the Supreme Court on that one; good things using guns near schools doesn't affect anything "connected to" interstate commerce... [now overruled]).

I can picture small districts getting scrod, I guess, but I picture the denser _poorer_ districts getting the real raw deal. Westchester doesn't have the problems that North Philadelphia has, nor NYC, nor Cleveland once had (what's their status lately?), or Detroit, or certain other cities throughout the country.

Thanks for commenting, and if you maintain a blog you want us to read, let us know. I plan to review the commenters' blogs, as a way to say thank you, until the job becomes too big to bear- at which point, I'll be delighted.

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