Friday, May 23, 2003

Happy blogiversary, HigherEdIntelligence! 

I'll do more than just wish Michael and Jeff a happy first blogiversary at Highered Intelligence. And I'll do more than tell you to go read their blog because it's outstanding (and it is! it IS!)

I want to direct you to a very good post by Michael about a story I just did a bare link to on Tuesday about segregating diversity workshops at Univ. of Colorado. I have wanted to pick up on this because I think these are not only insulting to whites but detrimental to blacks and other minority groups. But I can't say this as well as Michael does:

But let's say that there's some lingering background racism that makes life more unpleasant for minorities than would otherwise be the case. I've never really experienced it, but let's say there is. Is dwelling on it and discussing it ad nauseum really the way to go? I suspect that in doing so, the problem is magnified, brought to the fore of consciousness. Aristotelean perspective kicks in and all of the sudden, because you're dwelling on it, the problem seems much bigger than it was before.

Now, because it's a big problem, you need to make sure everyone else knows that it's a big problem. You find other people who might have had similar (trivial) experiences. You get them to dwell on it, and it becomes a big problem for them, too.

Rinse, Repeat.

The more I think about it, even as I type this, the more I'm becoming convinced that the primarily college-based "racial experience" of going over racism in your life over and over is deeply pathological.

It sure seems so. After you read that whole post, really give them a nice blogiversary and read this one as well on segregation and bussing in Dallas.
Is there segregation going on in Dallas? Yes, I'm fairly certain there is. But it's not the schools that are doing it. The schools are serving their communities. It's not the cities -- there are no laws saying the blacks have to live in a particular area. I think there are two forces at work, two forces that are doing the "segregation." The first is an economic one. Fact: black people in this country are currently poorer on the average than whites. Fact: Housing costs money. Fact: Housing cost is dependent in great measure on location - certain areas cost more. Fact: Schools serve geographic locations by and large. Ergo, many schools serve geographic locations that have similar housing costs and therefore can be likely to draw in greater numbers of white or black students based on the average housing costs.

But this does not explain why schools would be 100% minority, or even close. I fear that this can only be explained by racism -- groups of people wanting to associate with people who look like them.

What's going on in Dallas (at least according to the article) is extraordinarily interesting. First there was busing. Then there was racial hostility. Then the blacks decided to give up and go home.


If you grow up in an all-black, or all-white neighborhood, a neighborhood created by an attitude of racial separatism -- if you are surrounded by the idea that black people should live together and white people should live together -- how are you ever going to escape that? It's going to become part of who you are, part of who you think.

I don't have any solutions. I'm not about to advocate forcing residential racial integration. If people want to segregate themselves, then they should be free to do so. Maybe racial separatism is inevitable until we're genetically mixed up enough that it becomes psychologically impractical. Freedom to live where you want, to associate with whom you wish, is almost always a good thing. But parents should realize the effect their actions have on their children. Choosing to live amongst "your own kind" creates an insular bubble for raising your kids, and it fundamentally affects their world view.

I have a qualm with his last paragraph, for I don't think freedom of association is "almost" always a good thing. It's a right. And if parents make choices to live in racially segregated areas and that somehow harms their children's world view, I say "that's life". Who else should make that choice, if you think parents shouldn't? We may not like that choice, but that gives us no right to revoke that choice. Michael might well agree with that, but agreeing with it means we need to re-think the received wisdom of vilification of Plessy v. Ferguson.