Free Response Piece/Connections
Throughout many of my years in school, I have learned about Brown vs. the Board of Education and the desegregation of schools. The American history website was able to provide all lot of great information about some of the most influential people and organizations like the NAACP. It took tremendous effort and decades of work to be able to finally desegregate schools, and sway the ruling of the Supreme courts. It took dedication by members of the community, activists groups, parents, students, teachers, lawyers, and a tremendous amount of time to finally desegregate schools.
Before winning the Brown vs. Board of Education Case, Plessey vs. Ferguson was a large step toward giving people of color free education. This was known as separate but equal. But in reality there was nothing equal about it. The Plessey vs. Ferguson case discussed on the website reminds me of Kozal and the community Mott Haven. They segregate this poor community from the rest and even put all of the sick people in one apartment. This only makes the sick get sicker with no opportunity to improve. Much like how the article by Herbert said "evidence show that poor kids of all ethnic backgrounds do better academically when they go to school with their more affluent — that is, middle class". This shows that putting all of the kids in poverty with lower learning skills in the same school will not give them the opportunity to improve.
The way that I see the case Brown vs. Board of education is altered after reading the article by Bob Herbert, and watching the videos by Tim Wise. I used to see it as just a monumental change in education for colored people and blacks, which it is. But now I know that it is not even close to solving the problem of racism completely. According to Wise "is still very evident". Despite the progress that they made, it all happened over the span of decades, and took multiple series of events. Brown vs. the Board of Education was definitely a big event, like the civil rights movement, and the voting rights act. Neither of these are a complete solution on their own, just a tap on the glass. Wise has a great way of explaining racism with a 1.0 and 2.0. Racism 1.0 is what we have already defeated like segregation and the overly bias type. 2.0 is where people are starting to view people like Obama as a "transcending racist".
There was a particular part of the video that I found very interesting. Wise spoke about a type of racism that has to do with expectations. When Obama became President Wise claimed he "broke the glass ceiling". But they never would have let a black person with some of the same credentials as someone like George Bush become President. He also gave examples of some presidents with past bad reputations and still becoming president. Like "crashing five planes and graduating fifth from the bottom of the naval academy". Obama would not have even been considered. There should not be a double standard for blacks and whites. Why is there an acceptable blackness, but no sort of acceptable whiteness? Obama is an exceptional person, there are very few of us that can be a bright, articulate, and intelligent as Obama. A great point made by Wise in regards to this was "racism will end once blacks can be as mediocre as whites". This could not be truer, black are still given stereotypes like they are not as smart as whites, or they have a potentially higher crime rate.
Obama becoming President does not change everything, but like Brown vs. Board of Education and our history leading up to where we are today with racism, it is just another event in the series of steps leading to the end of racism.
Herbert made a great point in his article about how racism is not close to an end, although there have been some great steps towards ending it. A majority of teachers and educators tend to stay away from schools with "high concentrations of poverty". This is a racist thing to do, by just assuming they don't have the ability to learn as well because of their social class and situation. He also said that we need to stop dancing around the topic of racism and for some reason "we pretend that no one's a racist anymore, but it's easier to talk about pornography in polite company than racial integration". This could not be truer and it is extremely sad that it is a true thing. It is a real eye opener for me to actually take the time to realize that these things are happening in the world today. This idea from Herbert goes hand in hand with Johnson who says "WE JUST NEED TO LEARN TO SAY THE WORDS!" Stop avoiding conversations about race and just say the words.
My original ideas about Brown vs. the Board of Education were changed after reading and watching the videos by wise about contemporary views of racism. I agree with their ideas about how racism has not ended, and it takes a lot of time and a lot of events to get the ruling of the Supreme Court, and the opinions of everyday Americans to be changed. There are more subtle forms of racism today, although they are not as prominent and overly prejudice as those acts of racism in our history, they are still detrimental to society and it needs to end. We need to find a way to help those suffering, but it can't be a narcissistic act, it needs to be on that is altruistic. In order to change racist views we need to continue with what history has done, and continue fighting for change, and take each event like Obama as the first black president, and Brown vs. the Board of Education as a step in the right direction.
This is an interesting video coming from the contemporary view of everyday people, not the researchers that we watched videos of and read articles about, they are pretty similar to their views, just not as articulate and well researched.