Thursday, June 28, 2007

Salads Do Not Melt

The Supremes ruled against allowing public schools to use race as a factor to determine where children went to school. The ruling, which a lifetime ago would have made conservative white folks very angry, now is making liberal black folks very angry. The ruling declares "racial balancing" as unconstitutional.

This technique, used by countless school districts the country over, attempts to create an equal balance of races in all the schools they reign over. This has not only had the nasty unintended consequence of denying a better student because they weren't the right race but making sure a student doesn't leave because they were the right race. In other words, it's forced integration.

Maybe it can be a good thing: people can learn through diversity. But all schools shouldn't be forced to comply with that particular strategy. At the same time, the Supremes shouldn't outlaw the practice, either.

I am surprised to hear that few talk about why schools are segregated, indeed communities in general. We have Chinatowns, black and white neighborhoods, and Little Tokyos. Yes, some of this is based on income, but people seem to prefer to hang out with people like them. They self-segregate. The melting pot seems like a fine idea in the abstract but in practice, most reveal they are happy with salad bowls, despite the possible benefits. Why force it any other way?

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