Open thread Nov. 27, 2018 Dan Crawford | November 27, 2018 8:00 am Tags: open thread Comments (4) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
I have not ever heard this put so clearly. The effects on the US were, are and will be so profound. I would think(hope) that the clarity of these statements could serve to put together a coalition that can make things better. Just as important, a coalition to stop things from getting worse.
“Hannah-Jones was selected in 2017 for her probing work on segregation in American society, particularly in housing and education. She’s probably best known for her two award-winning stories “Choosing a School for My Daughter in a Segregated City” and “The Problem We All Live With.”
I reached out to her after her grant was announced. We talked about the myths surrounding segregation in America, why it’s so damn hard to explain structural racism, and why she remains deeply cynical about America’s future. ….
When I give talks, I often put up a slide that shows these disparities in health care, education, employment, etc., and I say, “Is anyone surprised that black people fare worse in all of these things?” And no one’s surprised. We just accept this. It’s just the way things are. So then we don’t have to do anything about it.
Whenever I’m looking to write a story, I don’t think it’s enough to just say that racial inequalities exist. We have to write stories that show why, that show that someone is responsible. So I approach stories by figuring out if I can show how the past got us here, and how current policies are compounding this problem.
We have to challenge how we got here and make sure people understand that there are people, right now, who can be held accountable for it.
What do you think people least understand about school segregation in America?
What’s important to understand is that segregation is not about test scores; it’s about denying full citizenship to a caste of children who have not, for one day in this country, been given full and equal access to the same educational resources as white children. So it’s not really about closing the test score gap. Segregation is about separating black children from white children, and therefore separating black children from the same resources as white children. I think we have to talk about it in these terms.
What people also don’t want to acknowledge is that schools are segregated because white people want them that way. It’s not simply a matter of zip codes or housing segregation or class; it’s because most white Americans do not wish to enroll their children in schools with large numbers of black kids. And it doesn’t matter if they live in the North or the South, or if they’re liberal or conservative.
We won’t fix this problem until we really wrestle with that fact.
““People want hope and absolution instead of working to destroy a system that still holds black people last in almost everything””
Why is segregation, in housing and education, the primary barrier to equality?
Segregation in housing is the way you can accomplish segregation in every aspect of life. Housing segregation means that certain jobs are located in certain communities, that certain grocery stores are located in certain communities; it determines where parks are located, if streets are repaired, if toxic dump sites are built nearby. Segregation accomplishes so many other inequalities because you effectively contain a population to a geographic area and suddenly all the other civil rights law don’t matter.
We don’t have to discriminate if we’re living in totally segregated neighborhoods; all the work is already done. If you look at the history of civil rights legislation, it’s the Fair Housing laws that get passed last — and barely so. Dr. King had to get assassinated in order for it to get passed, and that was because it was considered the Northern civil rights bill. It was civil rights made personal; it was determining who would live next door to you and therefore who would be able to share the resources that you received. The same is true of school desegregation.
Education and housing are the two most intimate areas of American life, and they’re the areas where we’ve made the least progress. And we believe that schools are the primary driver of opportunity, and white children have benefited from an unequal system. And why is this so? Why have white people allowed this? Because it benefited them to have it that way.”
And the benefits include:
“Let me make it clear. Some of the best people I know are from Mississippi—colleagues and friends, great chefs, and people who run fabulous independent bookstores. Archie Manning is simply the nicest man I ever have met, anywhere, under any circumstances.
Most of the music I love best is from Mississippi, and all of the music I love best is influenced by music from Mississippi. Medgar Evers believed in Mississippi even though it cost him his life. Bob Moses went to Mississippi to register voters, lived through the worst violence of which American apartheid was capable, and still started his remarkable Algebra Project in Jackson. Mississippi progressives keep on keeping on against the worst undying headwinds in American politics. And they are brave and true.
I did not envy them Monday because the president* was coming down to Mississippi to campaign for Cindy Hyde-Smith, a Varina Davis wannabe, a glitchy prototype from Stepford that never made it into production, and an unreconstructed Confederate cosplay artist.
This combination of raw materials had the potential to produce a grotesque goat-roping even by the president*’s standards. It was a week in which both Hyde-Smith’s inbred bigotry and the president*’s volatile combination of racism and xenophobia collided with each other clangorously in the national media. (Here, for example, is Hyde-Smith, hilariously beating feet away from MSNBC’s Vaughn Hillyard. I presume the staffer who locked the car door has been fired by now.) She is still favored to beat Democratic candidate Mike Espy, an African American and a Clinton-era retread who has done a decent job of staying out of the way while Hyde-Smith’s CSA masquerade played itself out over the past few weeks….
Cindy Hyde-Smith is a woman who has benefitted from white supremacy, who has gloried in white supremacy, and who is fully expecting that white supremacy will carry her into a full term in the United States Senate, where she will be an undistinguished but reliable vote for all the white-supremacist measures, and all the white supremacist judges that will rule on them, that will come to her from this administration. And now the president* came down to mix the toxic icing from the old poisoned recipe. Tuesday’s election is one of history’s altar calls. God alone knows what will come of it.”
And the beat goes on….
“Now, a new report from the Jackson Free Press has dug up some biographical details that shed light on Hyde-Smith’s easy way with bigotry. She’s an alum of a segregation academy—a southern private school founded with the express purpose of continuing segregation after Brown v. Board of Education ruled that public schools must integrate.
Hyde-Smith apparently attended Mississippi’s Lawrence County Academy. The senator doesn’t advertise that it’s her alma mater, and describes her education only from college onward in her campaign literature. But a former classmate gave the Free Press a yearbook, naturally titled “The Rebel,” that contains multiple photos of Cindy Hyde as a high schooler. In one picture, she joins the rest of her cheerleading squad in posing with the school’s mascot, a confederate flag-bearing soldier. Hyde-Smith isn’t the only Mississippi politician to try to distance themselves from the explicitly racist circumstances of their education; Governor Phillip Bryant, who appointed Hyde-Smith to the senate seat she now defends, also attended a segregation academy….
As an adult, Hyde-Smith decided to send her own daughter to a different segregated private school, Brookhaven Academy. Like Lawrence, Brookhaven was founded in 1970, which wasn’t at all coincidental. Though the Brown v. Board ruling came down in 1954, many states did their level best to preserve segregation for as long as possible. Mississippi’s governor didn’t order its schools to integrate until, you guessed it, 1970. The schools were among hundreds of havens of racism that popped up all over the south—Jerry Falwell opened his own Virginia segregation academy in 1967. Most of these schools were explicitly Christian institutions, and across the country, enrollment in religious schools more than doubled through the 1970s. Fewer than three percent of students at most of these schools were non-white.”
You should move to Mississippi… and act against white supremacists!
Or is White Supremacy like climate change?