Sunday, March 22, 2015

Brown vs Board of Education-, Bob Herbert, and Tim Wise

     Upon learning about the Brown vs Board of Education court case, I was able to take the information I had learned and apply it to my knowledge of school systems today, with the help of Bob Herbert and Tim Wise's contemporary issues with race. The historical issues the court case brought up, that being the segregation of races, and the contemporary race issues brought up by Herbert and Wise, coincide with one another in terms that while the original case was supposed to prevent further segregation for future generations, poverty and race still play a role in segregation in schools today.
     On the American History website featuring the "Separate Is Not Equal" reading, the website states that "On May 17, 1954, the Court stripped away constitutional sanctions for segregation by race, and made equal opportunity in education the law of the land." Through this court ruling, the educational system of the US had simply offered equal opportunity, not truly enforcing that segregation is illegal and that there should be no opportunities; equality for all should be enforced and acted upon, not simply offered or suggested. Although the court ruling did lighten tensions between races and has made the educational system more equal now racially, segregation in a new form has risen, fiercer than before. In Bob Herbert's New York Times article from 2011, "Separate and Unequal", Herbert claims that although racial segregation definitely isn't as bad as it once was, it has now been combined with economic segregation and is attacking anyone of any race that isn't as financially well-off as those in the middle-high class society. Herbert states, "Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality", bringing to light the fact that while racial segregation isn't as common today, by being at or below the poverty level in today's world or being in a less financially stable household, the students in these circumstances are being segregated by their wealthier, well-off peers. 
     In conclusion, these articles have overall helped me to understand the difficulties facing today's society. Even though the Brown vs Board of Education sentenced that segregation in schools would henceforth be illegal to do, new forms of segregation have risen out of the economic despair of the United States. Those who aren't as financially stable are basically forced into a social and economic segregation through no fault of their own, and because of this, are forcefully set up to encounter great difficulties throughout their lives. In Jonathan Kozel's article, "Amazing Grace", Kozel brings up a quote from Lawrence Mead, a political science professor at NYU, who stated ""If poor people behaved rationally, they would seldom be poor for long in the first place" (pg. 21 of "Amazing Grace"). Kozel then proceeds to say that people in poverty are more often then not in that state through no fault of their own, doing their best to provide for their families by working multiple jobs, no mater how low the pay, and generally doing whatever they can to give their families what they need. On top of this, Ullucci used the quote, “… they are poorly paid, underemployed, or working part-time. Thus, the problem is not that those in poverty are lazy and unmotivated, but that we have a low-wage and too-few-jobs problem (Anyon, 2005)", so again, this shows how the poverty problems are not the faults of those in poverty, but that of society as a whole. Bob Herbert stated at the end of his article, "Separate but equal. The Supreme Court understood in 1954 that it would never work. But our perpetual bad faith on matters of race keeps us trying" and in a way, this is true; despite the fact that segregation was a problem and will always continue to be one, we as humans will always find it in our hearts to try for a better world. Someday, I do hope total equality will be possible, but until then, I refuse to give up being kind and unprejudiced towards anyone that I meet. Like Lily James says in her role in the new Cinderella film, "Have courage and be kind."

(This particular topic made me think of the song "Imagine" by John Lennon since it expresses the want and dream for equality and world peace.)
I would have talked more about the videos from Tim Wise,  but the videos on Dr. Bogad's blog wouldn't load on my computer for some reason, so I just focused on Bob Herbert. I feel terrible I didn't to hear what he had to say, but I loved Herbert's article!


  1. I liked how you connected quotes from other articles that we have read. I love the song that you selected too! Your blog showed that you did some serious research on this topic. Great blog!

  2. Wow great blog Lauren! I especially love how you connected it to Imagine (I loooove the Beatles!). They were all about world peace and equality. Really great work on this =)