02 July 2017

Segregation: Our Most Cherished Myths

Newsweek recently sounded the alarm in a long-form piece on what they view as a troubling new trend:

Sixty years after Brown vs. Board, forty years after the end of busing, it appears that all the social engineering in the world can't make our multicultural dreams come true:
Economist Tyler Cowen, who is a conservative, calls white parents’ visceral fear of a mostly black school “discouraging.” ... [Journalist] Hannah-Jones agrees. “You’re gonna have to force and cajole people” into integration, she says, which is why the court orders of the 1960s and ’70s proved effective. We’re not going to do this voluntarily.”
By 1988, the high point of school integration in the U.S., nearly half of all black children attended a majority-white school. … Since then, however, the gains of Brown v. Board have been almost entirely reversed. 
Water will find its level. Yet the narrative remains that somehow, after enough 'forcing and cajoling,' a diverse and happy future awaits us all--even ethnic groups as radically different as Northwest Euros and Sub-Saharan Africans.  

We at TWCS, on the contrary, posit that: 

  • Any time a large flux of Afros has arrived among ethnic NW Euros (up to and including the present), the latter have reacted sharply by separating themselves, and 
  • Their reasons have been not senseless but on the whole fairly defensible.

The two biggest laboratories for this social experiment, of course, have been South Africa and the United States. We have chosen to examine the latter.

Is Hannah-Jones right? Will enough 'forcing and cajoling' bring about the multicultural blessings we've long been waiting for?  Or, on the contrary, have we believed so many myths about segregation that we've painted ourselves into a policy corner?