Day By Day

Friday, July 06, 2007

Diversity and The Brown Decision

George Will's column on the recent Supreme Court decisions banning assignment of students in school districts solely on the basis of race is excellent. He points out that such placement of students is a repudiation of the principles upon which the original Brown versus the Board of Education was based and itself constitutes a form of racism. He traces the process by which the ideal of a colorblind society that underlay the Brown decision gradually gave way to the concept of "diversity" that, in the hands of bureaucrats, became a new form of racism.

[The] promise [of] a colorblind society... has been traduced by the "diversity" exception to the Equal Protection Clause. That exception allows white majorities to feel noble while treating blacks and certain other minorities as seasoning -- a sort of human oregano -- to be sprinkled across a student body to make the majority's educational experience more flavorful.

This repulsive practice merits Clarence Thomas' warning in his opinion concurring with last week's ruling: Beware of elites eager to constitutionalize "faddish social theories." Often, they are only theories. As Roberts said, Seattle and Louisville offered "no evidence" that the diversity they have achieved (by what he has called the "sordid business" of "divvying us up by race") is necessary to achieve the "asserted" educational benefits.

Evidence is beside the point. The point for race-mongering diversity tinkerers is their professional and ideological stake in preventing America from achieving "a colorblind mentality."

Last week's decisions handed down by the Roberts Court were a direct repudiation of such diversity tinkering and a triumphant assertion of the principle of equality for all. As Chief Justice Roberts put it:

"The way to stop discriminating on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race."
How true..., how true!

Juan Williams, writing in the New York Times endorses this view, quoting Thurgood Marshall to support the contention that diversity was never the intent of Brown, and outlines the failure of Brown to achieve racial equality in education. He writes:

Racial malice is no longer the primary motive in shaping inferior schools for minority children. Many failing big city schools today are operated by black superintendents and mostly black school boards.

And today the argument that school reform should provide equal opportunity for children, or prepare them to live in a pluralistic society, is spent. The winning argument is that better schools are needed for all children — black, white, brown and every other hue — in order to foster a competitive workforce in a global economy.

Dealing with racism and the bitter fruit of slavery and “separate but equal” legal segregation was at the heart of the court’s brave decision 53 years ago. With Brown officially relegated to the past, the challenge for brave leaders now is to deliver on the promise of a good education for every child.

Read Will's piece here; Williams' here.