Racism

Still Separate, Still Unequal  

U.S. and Gulf South School Segregation

by Jeanie Donovan, M.P.A., M.P.H. and Fred Kammer, S.J., J.D.
JustSouth Monthly, August 2016

Across the country, schools are opening and students returning to their classrooms.  Despite the Supreme Court’s 1954 Brown versus Board of Education decision to desegregate schools “with all deliberate speed,” too many classrooms are still segregated.

School districts made significant progress toward desegregation after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but the trend has shifted back toward race-based school segregation. [1] Following court decisions in the late 1960s and 1970s that required Department of Education officials to oversee implementation of desegregation plans, the rate of black students attending majority-white schools increased dramatically from 1 percent in 1963 to 43 percent in 1983. [2]  After federal oversight phased out and schools were left to make “good faith efforts” to maintain integration, significant backsliding followed. In 2012, 74 percent of black students and 80 percent of Latino students attended schools that were 50 to 100 percent minority; and of these, more than 40 percent of black and Latino students attended schools that were 90 to 100 percent minority.  [3]

This re-segregation trend often concentrates minorities in schools with fewer resources that face challenges attracting and retaining quality teachers. [4]  A mounting body of evidence indicates that school segregation has negative impacts on short-term academic achievement of minority students and their success in later life. [5]  Integrated schools have a positive impact on all students through promoting awareness and mutual understanding and ensuring that they have the necessary tools to function in an increasingly multicultural society. [6]  Not taking intentional steps to ensure that all students have the opportunity to attend quality, integrated schools perpetuates injustice, allowing the mistakes of the past to haunt the future.

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OUR PERSPECTIVE:

An Introduction to Race, Racism, and Whiteness

By Dr. Alex Mikulich

Over 100 years ago, in his introduction to The Souls of Black Folk, W.E. B. Du Bois wrote: “the problem of the Twentieth Century is the problem of the color-line.” Despite claims that we live in a “post-racial” society after the historic election of Barack Obama, the fact remains that the color line and racial hierarchy endures in the 21st century.  At issue for the Jesuit Social Research Institute, from the perspective of Roman Catholic social teaching and thought, is the persistence of disproportionate advantage for white Americans in relationship to pervasive and persistent disproportionate disadvantage for people of color in every sphere of life including health, wealth, income, education, housing, and the criminal justice system.  More than one issue among others, the contradiction between Gospel values and practices of racial inequality is scandalous. The contradiction between Roman Catholic and American claims for universal human dignity and equality, and the reality of social, political, and economic advantage that white Americans consciously and unconsciously accept and assume, betrays this scandal.  This article continues here

ARCHIVED Articles on Racism:

Stop Locking Up Our Future: End the School-to-Prison Pipeline-- Mikulich 

Get Smart Louisiana: Reforms open way for smarter, comprehensive sentencing in the future-- Mikulich 

Honoring Our Sacred Obligations -- Mikulich

Smart Criminal Justice Reform: Mississippi and Texas Leading Gulf South States -- Mikulich

A Last Will and Testament: The Freedom Riders' enduring legacy -- Mikulich

The Monstrous Elegance of White Supremacy -- Mikulich

Six Myths of Payday Lending -- Mikulich

Martin Luther King, Jr.: Becoming Maladjusted for the Beloved Community-- Mikulich 

Marching for Racial Justice in Contemplation and Protest-- Mikulich

The Gift of W.E.B. Du Bois and Double-Consciousness--Mikulich

Thomas Merton’s “Letters to a White Liberal”--Mikulich

A Victory for Democracy: Americans repudiate voter suppression, racism--Mikulich

Race and the 2012 Presidential Election--Mikulich

The Real Fraud in “Voter Fraud”: How so-called reform laws aim to disenfranchise voters -- Mikulich

The Payday Shark in Your Bank Account -- Mikulich

Changing the Script: A Starting Point for Reducing Gun Violence--Mikulich

Stop Casting Stones: The Failure of Punitive Crime Policy--Mikulich

No Relief in Sight: Persistent High Unemployment for African Americans and Latinos in Gulf South States -- Mikulich


View all Racism articles »

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