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New Toon: Resegregation Nation, or Goodbye Brown vs. Board of Education

mreids Icon Posted by Mikhaela Reid

June 29th, 2007

All you closet Klansmen out there, you would-be Bull O’Connors and George Wallaces, listen up: it is officially time to party! Get out your balloons and confetti, and iron your best white robes, because the Bush Supreme Court has officially declared that racial integration and diversity DON’T MATTER AT ALL. The Bush court says that not only is segregation totally cool (as long as it’s the “natural” result of segregated housing areas), it’s actively RACIST to oppose segregation. Why? Because racial diversity is AGAINST the spirit of Brown vs. Board of Education.

Yes, that’s right–it’s against the spirit of the decision that made it possible for children of all colors to go to school together to encourage children of all colors to go to school together. The only way to avoid racism is to DENY it and ignore it and NOT DO ANYTHING TO STOP IT. That’s what being “colorblind” is all about!

As the NAACP’s Theodore Shaw put it on The Newshour With Jim Lehrer tonight, it doesn’t get much more Orwellian than this. This is Civil Rights Lite to the extreme. Hence the vigorous dissent:

[Souter] said the chief justice’s invocation of Brown vs. Board of Education was “a cruel irony” when the opinion in fact “rewrites the history of one of this court’s most important decisions” by ignoring the context in which it was issued and the Supreme Court’s subsequent understanding of it to permit voluntary programs of the sort that were now invalidated.

I was particularly horrified by the anti-integration argument that many parents “don’t want this” (”this”, presumably, being the horror of their children going to school with black kids). For example, here’s Roger Clegg, president of the deceptively named “Center for Equal Opportunity” (his group filed an amicus brief in the case) celebrating the anti-integration decision on the NewsHour:

I think that school boards are also going to be sensitive to the fact that most parents don’t like it when they are told that where they can send their children to school depends on what color they are.


I think the question is whether anyone believes that a politically correct racial and ethnic mix, that kind of diversity, is worth the price of racial discrimination. And I think that most Americans would say that, no, it is not.

Sure, lots of Americans–bigoted and ignorant ones–protested school integration back in the day because they didn’t want it, either. That didn’t make them RIGHT. That was the whole POINT of Brown vs. Board! As the NAACP’s Shaw put it:

This [integration] is not about school districts telling people that they can’t go to school on the basis of their skin color. This is about school districts trying to continue to fulfill the promise of Brown and to avoid segregation. In no way is this comparable to the kind of regime of segregation and discrimination that existed under Jim Crow.


Finally, while we’re on the topic of Brown vs. Board of Education, this is particularly bad timing, because I just did a dystopian cartoon for Lambda Legal wondering “What would life be like without integrated schools?”:

Prepare to find out. And God Bless Our Colorblind America, where the playing field is level, everyone has an equal chance, and white kids can just learn about colored folks on their Tee-Vees!

Next up: in a landmark victory for Americans who don’t like sharing water fountains, the Supreme Court rules that allowing black people and white people to drink from the same water fountains violates the Constitution.

P.S. I would have called this cartoon “Separate But Equal: The Sequel”, but I already drew a cartoon with that title. Oh well.

P.P.S. Just so it’s clear–in the cartoon, the kids of color are locked up in a “Jim Crow Max Security Educational Facility” not because they’re troublemakers or deserve to be there, but because they live under racist segregation.

P.P.P.S. Check out the conservative commenter on my home blog claiming that Martin Luther King, Jr. supported segregation.

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