Friday, March 21, 2014

Brown vs. the Board of Education: Reflective/Argumental Piece

On May 7th, 1954, equal opportunity for different races to be integrated in schools was granted.

This is a fact I have learned about since the 8th grade. I have learned how America was separated into blacks and whites segregated from each other.  I have learned about the unequal education that occurred during this time. I have learned about the countless campaigns, leaders, rallies, amongst other instances that occurred to fight for the rights of African Americans. But as I was looking at the website dedicated to Brown vs. the Board of Education, this sentence stood out to me. "...(the act) did not constitute a perfect solution to the problem of unequal opportunity, but it did help end LEGAL segregation in the U.S"
After reading this sentence on the website, everything else I looked at weighed differently in my mind before. I have learned about this for years now, but I never saw it as a crack in the glass. Tim Wise shows that although the court system made a huge, positive decision by de-segregating schools, it does not completely take away racism. It does not mean that people of different races received better treatment, even though they were legally granted more rights. Tim Wise reminded me a lot of Johnson in the way that he explicitly spoke about the power, privilege, and difference. He had no problem defending black people, even though he was a white man. He just fought for what was right, and wrote a book about it to broadcast to people on how they should treat others; and how black people should see themselves. Both of his interviews have a lot to do with perspective, and I am sure everyone in our class agreed with everything he had to say.
Wise stated that things can be done to stop racism but it doesn't mean changes are being made to actually end it. I liked his idea of racism 1.0 and racism 2.0. Racism 1.0, according to Wise, is the idea of the "old school bias" people have towards people of a different race. Racism 2.0 to him meant "enlightened acceptionalism";  where people are in a place where they can move push through the cracks in the glass and have an open space. He spoke about white privilege, which reminded me a lot of Mcintosh in the way it is valued in society. Wise wants people to see that people's perception of people who are not white does not have to be so narrow; so that we can achieve equal opportunities for all in society.

These interviews with Wise really toggled the idea of how events in our history are important, but we still have to keep in mind how much work still needs to be done in order to erase racism and other issues altogether. Wise states that studies have shown that white people perceive black people as "generally less intelligent, more aggressive, and less patriotic". Why are thoughts like this still occurring in people's minds? However, what I really liked from the entire video was that "racism is not an excuse, but a reason".
It is a reason to move past the negativity, the hate and misunderstanding against something we should not be discriminating against. It is the reason to research, speak about, write books, and have classes much like our FNED class towards a positive, respectful environment without utmost respect for people of different race, class, gender, sexual orientation, or whatever the case may be. It is the reason for how our world can become a more well-rounded place. The sooner people see this, the sooner we can look back on situations like the Brown vs. the Board of Education and see that it really did help us achieve full appreciation for African Americans. Tim Wise has very strong beliefs against racism, as we all should. This entire compilation of videos and the website was a true eye-opener for me, and I am sure it will be for the rest of the class.

This article, titled Was Brown vs. Board a Failure?    goes hand and hand with what we are blogging about this week. It talks about how racism is still being seen, especially in schools. The writer of this article is questioning if it has to do with the achievement gap between white people and people of other races. It actually goes hand in hand with Separate and Unequal  by Bob Herbert. He states that even though we have laws which integrate students of all races into the same schools; more often times than not, the students ARE indeed segregated. Whether it be by the neighborhood, economic issues, or customs, people live where it is socially normal for them to live; which is within their culture. Herbert states that " Educators know that it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty. The best teachers tend to avoid such schools. Expectations regarding student achievement are frequently much lower, and there are lower levels of parental involvement. These, of course, are the very schools in which so many black and Hispanic children are enrolled. "
This quote speaks the most to me out of the whole article; because it makes a lot of sense. Teachers expect that students who live in poverty have less parental involvement, so they expect less of them. Many students have to learn on their own when they are not in the classroom. However, we have learned that just because a parent is working a lot to survive it does not mean that they do not have a lot to offer for their children; they just may not be as educated. So, since the students who live in these areas do not have the parental backbone that students have in higher achieving schools, they are perceived as inconsistent. Herbert then goes on to show that schools are finding ways to improve their curriculum to better students; so that's a huge plus!

Brown vs. the Board of Education will forever be seen in a different light to me now, because of all the ideologies people have created based upon the events and situations which have occurred after the Supreme Court made this decision. Yes, segregation is banned legally, but is it mentally?


  1. hey! awesome post! loved the pictures and also like you said have also been learning about this since the 8th grade. But after reading information on the website, everything had anew frame of mind and i couldn't agree more with everything you've said. nice job!

  2. Hey! I really liked your post! I liked how you incorporated quotes from the website as well as connections to other articles we have read. Nice job!

  3. Alex, I loved all of your points! I completely agree with you on every subject. And I liked how you related both McIntosh and Johnson to these articles/interviews. I related last weeks blog post to this and I never realized that these two other authors also related! It's great to see all these different view points :) Great job!

  4. Hey Alex! You did a great job on this post. I really liked all of your points and your connections to other articles we have read in class. I really liked the last sentence you wrote, "Yes, segregation is banned legally, but is it mentally?" Nice job!!