Despite school desegregation laws, White parents have been fighting efforts to allow poorer Black students from failing districts to attend the same schools as their children.
As a result, school segregation has increased over the last three decades, Vox reports, citing an in-depth report on Sunday’s This American Life, which took a hard look at the difficulties of desegregation, “and how strong the resistance to school integration still is.”
Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times Magazine reported from Missouri’s Normandy School District, where Ferguson’s Michael Brown went to school before he was shot by police officer Darren Wilson last August:
“Students from Normandy began to integrate majority white schools in the St. Louis suburbs almost by accident, when Normandy lost its state accreditation. Students from the district, which was almost entirely black and had a dismal academic record, could transfer into Francis Howell, a majority white district with much better test scores. A thousand parents — one-third of the district — opted to send their students to that district, even though it was 30 miles away. Some buses left as early as 5 a.m.”
The most powerful section in Hannah-Jones’ report is from a meeting in Francis Howell, where parents vehemently objected to accepting poorer, black students from a failing district, even though they were required to by law.
In an effort to block integration, some White parents have portrayed Black students as criminals, demanding “metal detectors” and “drug-sniffing” dogs. Other parents are worried about their child getting “stabbed or taking a drug or getting robbed,” the report says.
It strikes us that White parents have underlying fears and concerns that have nothing to do with Black students attending the same schools as their children. If anything, the recent change in numbers since the Brown vs. Board of Education decision are indicative of the intense racial climate we currently live in.
You can read the full report here.