The ruling that was made in the case of Brown vs.the Board of Education was essential in fighting and putting an “end to legal segregation in the United States.” Even though the decision in this case legally put an end to segregation, it “did not constitute a perfect solution to the problem of unequal opportunity.” I found that the Brown vs. Board of Education website gave useful background information of events leading to the decision made by the Supreme Court on May 17, 1954. The decision that was made was extremely important in putting a legal end to segregation in schools.
In the interviews with Tim Wise and in Bob Herbert’s article titled Separate and Unequal, both men argue that there are still problems that exist in the world and that racial equality is not fully visible in our society today. I found the interviews with Tim Wise very interesting. One quote that really stuck with me was when he said that “the proof of racial equity will be the day that people of color can be as mediocre as white folks and still get hired.” Wise argues that people of races other than white are still being discriminated against and that they will only be seen as equals when they are held up to the same standards as white people. In Herbert’s article, he says that “educators know that it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty.” Herbert argues that even though the Brown vs. Board of Education case legally eliminated segregation in schools, it still actually exists due to “residential patterns.”
While listening to the interviews and reading the article, I couldn’t help but think of our Service Learning placements. The article reminded me of not only our placement schools, but of other schools throughout the country when it stated that “if you really want to improve the education of poor children, you have to get them away from learning environments that are smothered by poverty.” Even though we may think that segregation does not exist in our world, we may be too blind to realize that it is still actually present. I also thought of Peggy McIntosh’s article, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, and how “whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege.” (page 1) We do not realize that in order for things to change for the better, we have to break down the walls that exist between the different social classes.
Talking Points: While reading the articles and listening to the interviews, I couldn't help but think of our own state of Rhode Island and how the schools in Barrington may differ drastically from those in Central Falls. What can we do to stop the segregation that exists in the world due to the wealth one has or where one lives?