Sunday, March 23, 2014

Brown vs. Board of Education


I decided to take what I have heard in the Tim Wise videos and the New York Times article by Bob Herbert on "Separate but Unequal" and connect it to "In the Service of What", and "White Privilege Knapsack". Also touching upon the Supreme Court case of Brown vs. Board of Education and how Time Wise and Bob Herbert view it. 

          McIntosh suggests in her article "White Privilege Knapsack" that white people are taught not to recognize the way their race gets valued in the larger culture. She says that unless white people actively pay attention to it, whiteness will go unnoticed and unacknowledged. Tim Wise agrees with McIntosh by saying "If you want to know if a problem is still a problem it probably makes sense to talk to the ones who were the target of it not to the ones who don’t have to know" (3:45-3:55). Meaning if you want to know if there is still racism in the world don't ask the white people because they will say there is no racism. You have to ask the black people to get a true and honest answer because they are the targets of racism. Wise gives an example of asking an able bodied person if the transportation is appropriate for disabled people, well how would they know honestly. You again would have to ask the disabled people who are targets of the problem. These examples relate back to McIntosh ideas of white supremacy being an invisible system that white's (able bodied people) aren't always aware of. 
          One other article that I thought had a connection to this week's topic was "In the Service of What" by Joseph Kahne and Joel Westheimer.  A particular thing that this article talks about is charity versus change when you are doing volunteer work. [I give Jaclyn credit for this idea]. We all want to change the way racism is displayed in our school systems but will people only become involved because they want to look good or do they want to see a change for the future students who are growing up in this society. Bob Herbert says in his article that, "Everybody's in favor of helping poor black kids do better in school, but the consensus is that those efforts are best confined to the kids' own poor black neighborhoods" (¶ 13). He's saying yeah some white people want to help black kids get an education but are they doing it for the kids or are they doing it to be able to say they were the ones who helped get those black kids get their education.  
          Just to say a little about Brown vs. Board of Education it was enacted on May 17, 1954 declaring segregation in public schools as unconstitutional. This court case made it to the Supreme Court due to the involvement of lawyers, community activists, parents and students. It was a stepping stone in the right direction ultimately towards the Civil Rights Movement. One other well known Supreme Court case that was before this was the Plessy vs. Ferguson case that on May 18, 1896 enacted the separate but equal law. This stated that segregation was constitutional as long as the facilities and treatment were equal among the races. They then had Jim Crow laws that separated the two races with "white only" or "colored only" signs. From the outside looking in it was clearly not equal. 
          Bob Herbert says that the students who are poor will benefit more if you put them in a more affluent environment. He also states that the Supreme Court knew that in 1954 separate was not equal, "but our perpetual bad faith on matters of race keeps us trying" (¶14). I'm curious to see what people think that quote means because I don't exactly know myself. I also think that the issues that he raises in his article build upon the reasons why the Brown vs. Board of Education had to happen.

          Had it not been for Brown vs. Board of Education there might not have been a Little Rock, Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr. maybe even no interracial marriage. So if all of this didn't happen I would not be here today and for that I am grateful. 

This link brings you to a site that talks about the Brown vs Board National Historic Site.

1 comment:

  1. Mariah, I really like how you made the connections to White Privilege and In the Service of What. I agree that both articles can connect very well with everything that we read and watched. I think that the last quote you posted might mean that people have a never ending feeling that people of a different race can get along and that is what keeps us from actually being able to make a change for good. I really liked your post and think you have some really good ideas.