- The Washington Times - Saturday, May 29, 2004

Ominous-sounding headlines like “The return of segregation” and “School districts resegregating” imply all is not well in America. The 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education (1954) has come and gone, but Brown-inspired social engineering lives on.

Plessy vs. Ferguson (1896) established the legality of government-sanctioned segregation, and Brown, however wrongly decided, declared it illegal. Instead of allowing integration to occur at its own pace, however (it would have occurred), liberals set out to radically change America overnight in pursuit of a classless, crime-free, 100 percent equal, racially mixed utopia.

The experiment failed. By refusing to take into account free enterprise, existence of evil, differences in personal drive, ability, work ethic and motivation, legitimate resistance to government coercion, and that nagging constitutional right called freedom of association, social engineers used the courts to try to force their idealist vision.

Chief Justice Earl Warren knew America was changing and it was only a matter of time before the court was faced with more cases like Brown. But that was only the beginning of a long line of decisions in which judges essentially disregarded laws and wrote new ones to achieve an America that exists only in the court’s collective mind.

“With all deliberate speed” was the order issued to schools to desegregate in Brown II, a case heard little more than a year later. But progress was slow.

By 1964, about 98 percent of Southern black children were still in totally segregated schools. Passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 helped speed things, but the levels of integration liberals wanted to achieve remained stubbornly elusive.

Beginning in 1968, the Supreme Court authorized one of the worst social experiments since Massachusetts legalized homosexual “marriage”: forced busing. Without a single vote by the people, the court imposed unconstitutional policies in search of its “racially balanced” fantasyland. Racial quotas would now be used to create this balance.

The law of unintended consequences was on full display as whites fled government-run schools in droves, leaving black students in predominately black schools. Urban schools began decaying as community tax bases shrank. At one point, black students were bused from their neighborhoods to predominately black schools across town. Even more ridiculous, hundreds of school districts across America are still under desegregation court orders.

Noticeably absent from the anniversary hoopla was a serious discussion about the persistent, wide achievement gap between black and white students. Writer John McWhorter and others point to a culture of anti-intellectualism in the black community. In “Losing the Race: Self-Sabotage in Black America,” Mr. McWhorter contends too many blacks embrace a set of counterproductive values and distorted notions of “cultural blackness.” They follow this pattern through life, blaming racism for everything and romanticizing ghetto life.

But the liberal media prefer stories about how society has failed blacks, not how blacks have failed themselves. When segregation was the law of the land, black educational standards were higher, families were stronger, and illegitimacy and crime rates lower. Today, educational standards for blacks have dropped, the illegitimacy rate is 70 percent, and even higher in some inner-cities.

Eighty-five percent of black children living in poverty reside in female-headed households, and the black crime rate is high. In 2000, blacks were more than 7 times likelier than whites to commit homicide and 6 times likelier to be murdered. From 1976-2000, 94 percent of black victims were killed by other blacks. Something other than racism is going on.

The irony of Brown is that while it ended government-sanctioned discrimination in public schools, the government still sanctions discrimination in public schools. Race preferences are not only repugnant to the Constitution, but the Supreme Court’s endorsement of this insidious practice smells like “separate but equal.” Ignoring history dooms us to repeat it.

Welcome back, Plessy.


Ms. Barber’s blog may be found at www.lashawnbarber.com.

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