FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
If you like your neighborhood you can keep your neighborhood
the new push toward forcible desegregation
One of the more entertaining traits of liberals is their unflinching desire to Balkanize the United States into a loose amalgam of racial and ethnic grievance groups. Unhappy with the existence of only two sexes, liberals have now created “sexual orientation” so that the psychologically disordered can be celebrated.
Probably nowhere is this more rigorously advocated than in K-12 education where liberals dominate the institutions and where, unlike colleges and universities, their personal jobs are not in jeopardy if someone follows through on their harebrained schemes.
This week the UCLA Civil Rights Project published a report called Brown at 60: Great Progress, a Long Retreat and an Uncertain Future. The report, as would be expected, bemoans what it sees as a return to segregation.
Civil rights organizations need to develop new strategies and legal theories to end the reversaland restart the movement toward a successfully integrated, truly multiracial society, as was done by the NAACP and Howard University in the campaign that led to Brown. The steady retrenchment of desegregation efforts began two decades after Brown and has now run twice as long as the period in which the Supreme Court announced and extended desegregation rights (1954-1974). While it is important to preserve what is possible of these gains, we must use new advances in social science understanding and contemporary demographics to shape new arguments that will be politically and legally persuasive.
There are several parts to this that should be troubling to any American, regardless of politics, who values freedom.
First and foremost there is no such thing as “desegregation rights.” In the Supreme Court case Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, the liberal minority acknowledged:
“the Constitution does not impose a duty to desegregate upon districts,”
There are federal laws which forbid racial segregation in schools and there are federal laws that forbid racial discrimination in housing. Fortunately, or unfortunately if you are one of the liberal elites that places race consciousness above all, Americans retain, at least as of this writing, the ability to live where they wish, consistent with their ability to pay.
The study found that Latinos and blacks and Asians and whites tend to live in communities where they are the majority. The upshot of this, of course, is that students go to schools relatively near their homes. If families self-segregate then schools will tend to mirror that effect. There is nothing pernicious here. This is what happens when you let humans make choices. I would go so far as to make a wager that if the entire nation was monoracial but with multiple languages we would find the exact same thing happening.
Broadly speaking, segregation is clearly an injustice if mandated by the government. But if we choose to segregate ourselves the only injustice arguably done is to ourselves. The state has no compelling interest to intervene in how I choose to live my life so long as my actions are licit, even if my actions extend to making my own life less rich and exciting than others would wish.
The second significant problem is that the study portends another round of court fights to achieve an artificial racial balance. Over the past two decades the courts have increasingly held that schools may not use race in assigning school populations. The door has been open to the use of other markers. Just as the use of property taxes for funding schools has been the source of lawsuits because some school districts are wealthier than others, we can probably anticipate that at some point there will be lawsuits to assign children to schools by household income, census tract/block, or other non-racial system which has the same effect.
While the state has a clear interest in and responsibility for each child receiving a quality education, the state does not have an interest in manipulating school populations based on skin color. This is wrong. It is dysfunctional. It is not the way a free society operates.