White America Getting Back To Normal—Embracing Segregation

And white America, in 2014, says George Wallace was A-OK in his 1963 racist affirmation of what he knew to be the true feelings of white Americans, especially in his Confederate South. Now, usually you will hear Republicans point out that George Wallace was a Democrat, and that all those awful Confederate Southerners, back in the 1860s and the 1960s, were Democrats. While that is true, Republicans did not continue to condemn these figures, but instead welcomed them into the GOP, after the white supremacist majority in the South abandoned the Democratic Party—on account of the Dems becoming the new main pushers for civil rights in the USA. The Republicans were so desperate for national wins, they threw their traditions, their integrity, and the nation's future into the trash to remold themselves as the new party of Confederate values. If George Wallace were making his clear, hateful, but honest statement today—he'd be making it as a mainstream Republican.
You know you’re in trouble, civil-rights-wise, when you have to explain to somebody, that is most Americans, what the phrase “Brown versus Board of Education” means. Worse is the impression that the relevance of that Supreme Court Decision, made sixty years ago today, which declared “separate but equal” segregation unconstitutional, is rapidly diminishing (and not for good, i.e. admirable, reasons).

“We conclude that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.”—Brown versus Board of Education, SCOTUS decision, May 17, 1954

"The persisting segregation of housing and the separation of most of our metropolitan communities into many separate school districts are fundamental causes of separate and unequal schooling...Severe segregation persists for African Americans, and no overall progress is being made in the residential integration of Latinos. The problems are by far the worst in a small number of metropolitan areas that experience hyper-segregation and are home to a substantial fraction of the nation’s students of color."—Brown at 60, 2014 study of US school segregation by the Civil Rights Project at UCLA.

Despite the strong declaration of a national policy of justice through racial integration made in the 1954 decision, the bottom line is that the nation’s schools are, in 2014, moving towards, not away from, increasing segregation, with huge numbers of Latino and black children attending schools that are predominantly racially segregated.

Of course, the same is true for white children. And the same is true, because in housing, and in most of the areas of life where private choice prevails over public ceremony or advertising one’s alleged love of diversity, white people choose to actively exclude racial minorities—especially black people—from their lives.

When we’re commemorating civil rights breakthroughs such as Brown, there’s always a disheartening subtext or shadow to the pride most Americans feel when they are reminded—or increasingly informed for the first time—that, for example, back in 1954 the USA started to try and not discriminate against non-white American children.

The subtext is two-fold:

A. It was necessary in 1954 and in subsequent years of the Civil Rights Movement, that the US government make white people do the right thing. There was no natural inclination—especially not in the still-very-Confederate South—on the part of white parents, to have their precious little angelfoods sit next to what they feared were wild, hypersexual, and most definitely dangerous devilfoods. The courts led the way in smacking down the de jure effect of that hysterically racist worldview because American legislatures and the Congress wouldn’t do their jobs. But, if you think about it, a Supreme Court decision doesn’t instantly nor necessarily make people better than they were. It just says, in this case, they were breaking the law if they exercised their character defects to the detriment of millions of fellow citizens. Naturally, that was likely to produce anger and resentment in the white majority, which came to view itself as the real victim of minority failures to adapt and assimilate into real (white) Americans. Barack Obama’s political success, often viewed as some kind of civil rights breakthrough, is largely attributable to the fact that white people were not afraid of Obama's bland brand of blackness.

B. Because legal change is not moral or character change, the impact of legal decisions such as Brown, is often limited, and the notion that anything like justice is going to prevail as a result is naive. History demonstrates the truth of this, certainly in the United States’ experience of the implementation of desegregation. As white parents expressed their horror that the United States government was actually going to force white people to have a regular, and much more equal association with black and other minority citizens, governors in the Confederate states began contemplating what they could do to exercise state’s rights to resist the federal government’s attempt to make their white citizens behave like decent human beings. In Alabama, along with Mississippi the degenerate epicenter of Confederate values (now GOP values) in the USA, the governor, George Wallace, drew his red line in 1963:
“In the name of the greatest [white] people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”
As shocking as that still may sound (to whom?), the fact is that the white portion of the USA has never been comfortable with the idea of racial integration, and has vigorously resisted it. While Wallace failed to stop the federal government in 1963 from forcing Alabama schools to integrate, the trend over the decades has been marked by the flight of white people into their own enclaves and towns—chosen specifically because they were racially much purer than the inner cities—and the return to the segregated norm that Brown was intended to change.

This has led to the segregation of communities, and thus to public schools. And this segregation has assisted the segregation in school performance and consequently probable outcomes for children going through the economically balkanized school systems of America. Simply, white schools tend to exist in places where the people have more money. The white majorities exist in communities where the costs of entry exclude poorer minority families. Because of the abundance of wealth in these segregated white communities, white schools tend to have more resources and other kinds of support from parents.

Unlike in 1954, nobody is seriously declaring that separate is equal. Test scores are making the painfully obvious point that is not true. But, nor are people arguing that desegregation is a way of solving the problem. Indeed, few people on the political right are even arguing that segregation is a problem worth attending to any longer. Instead, Republicans, especially, make arguments about the moral failures of minorities, and poor people in general. Republicans want to increase "opportunity" in racially segregated and poor minority areas by encouraging children in these communities to do such things as clean toilets in the schools, to help pay for their educations. In this way, we are told by Republicans, these children will learn the important value and dignity of work, which presumably they will not be taught by their parents.

In addition, components of government, such as the courts, can no longer be relied upon to be protectors of the rights of minorities—at least not racial minorities. While gay marriage is being enabled in more and more states—against the wills of legislatures and populations in many cases—continuing affirmative action (in all its meanings) and the need for it, respecting racial minorities, are not regarded as important (or even real) issues by most white Americans.

The Supreme Court, 2014 edition, led by a fascist majority of conservative Republicans, is solidly anti-civil-rights. The Congress is rent by divisions that seem impossible to mend, and the Republican House is even more anti-civil-rights than the SCOTUS. And then, out in the states, where the great “laboratory” is said to exist that enables the nation to try out solutions before launching them nationwide, the Republicans have worked extremely hard to take the USA back to May 16, 1954—the day before Brown. In fact, the Republican brand of white antagonism to civil rights (i.e., their brand of white supremacy) is so deeply, naturally ingrained in the party, they regularly refer to distinctly racist actions, such as their voter suppression schemes, as efforts to protect the “integrity” of the nation’s electoral system.

When integrity means destroying the voting rights of minorities, and when segregation is being fully embraced by a white demographic that tried that equality and justice crap and found it distasteful, you know you’re still living, in 2014, in the White People’s America.