L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

29 June 2007 Blog Home : June 2007 : Permalink

Diversity, Schools and Race

The news is filled with the US Supreme Court's racial schooling ruling. The liberal part of the commentariat seems rather sad, the BBC World Service report managed to dig up all sorts of spokespersons for the ACLU, NAACP and/or other alphabet soups that I've never heard of who all said that this would be a return to the days of segregation etc. etc. The BBC's web article is a bit better providing both Justice Robert's statement of common sense and Justice Breyer's rather less obvious disagreement:

In the legal opinion, Justice John Roberts asked: "What do the racial classifications do in these cases if not determine admission to a public school on a racial bias?"

"The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race," he added.

But the court's four liberal justices, who voted against the ruling, published a dissent.

"This is a decision that the court and the nation will come to regret," Justice Stephen Breyer wrote.

The liberal judges argued that the decision undermines a landmark 1954 ruling which first outlawed school segregation.

The liberal folks seem to be taking their line from Justice Breyer. This is a pity because simple logical analysis would indicate that outlawing enforced mingling is not the same as requiring segregation. I think it is fair to say that all but the most mouth-frothing white supremacist believes that the system that was outlawed in 1954 was a disgrace and deserved to be removed. However what the liberals seem to have missed is that its been half a century since then and, while there are undoubtedly still a few misguided souls, the sort of overt racism seen then is no longer seen as acceptable. The BBC, in a second article, quotes Hilary CLinton as saying:

"Once again, the [Chief Justice John] Roberts court has shown its willingness to erode core constitutional guarantees"

This is flat out nuts. The constituion says effectively that all men are equal not that some are first amongst equals. The school boards are saying essentially "black kids are more special" and given that the desegration acts have been removed from the statute books, this is clearly against the constitution as Justice Roberts clearly explains. Hilary is not the only wild-eyed frothing moonbat (but I repeat myself). In the blogosphere there is this comment by one Mark Graber:

Today’s opinions in the Seattle school case feature the too usual lectures from conservative justices on the meaning of the “good” civil rights movement, the one which asserted that “the constitution is color-blind.” Of course, neither Chief Justice Roberts nor any other member of the majority were actually members of that “good” civil rights movement. To paraphrase Dick Cheney, they had other priorities at a time when police dogs were being set upon African-American children who dared insist on the right to drink at the same water-fountains as white children.

"Other priorities"? There were 5 Justices who voted. Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, Roberts and Alito. In the late 1950s/early 1960s two of these Justices, Roberts and Alito, were growing up. Given that they didn't live in the deep south this seems to be a valid excuse not to have got involved. Justice Thomas was umm, one of those "African-American children who dared insist on the right to drink at the same water-fountains as white children" more or less, having been born in Georgia in 1948 and having been banned from the Savannah Public Library while growing up. The only two with a limited excuse not to be "members of that “good” civil rights movement" are Justices Kennedy and Scalia. The rant continues with:

They could do so in good conscience because somewhere in the late 1960s, the “good” civil rights movement was replaced by the “bad” civil rights movement, a movement which insists that persons of color be actual as well as pro forma, legal equals. Curiously, this transition took place even though the vast majority of participants in the “good” civil rights movement remained in the “bad” civil rights movement, included almost the entire leadership.

If blacks and whites are actual legal equals that that means that neither whites nor blacks should not be forbidden to send their children to certain schools. This ruling was precisely on that fact, certain whites could not send their children to certain schools. In other words Seattle and St Louis School disricts were guilty of racial discrimmination something that M Graber claims to be against.

PS The BBC's first article at this moment has the following interesting blockquote:
Justice WHO?
Justice Breyter? Shome Mishtake Shurely? Don't these people have editors?(™ Tim W)