The Return of Legal* Racial Segregation and Discrimination (*not really legal, but people are getting away with it)

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Racial segregation is returning to the United States. No, this is not the result of former President Donald Trump’s policies still in place that new President Joe Biden has not yet gotten around to eliminating. In fact, racial segregation is being introduced mostly by those of liberal political persuasion. Of course, it is not called racial segregation. Often enough, it is not called anything. It is simply done, without comment or question. A recent example is from the Madison School District in Wisconsin. In response to reports of police brutality in the news and the Chauvin verdict, the district wanted to “work to build strong, trusting relationships,” among parents and students. To do this, they offered parents an opportunity to “openly share and dialog around such complex issues. We want to work together,” the district wrote to parents, “to help our students and families feel safe, discuss challenging issues productively, and think about how they can make positive changes in our community.” Bizarrely, the school district’s strategy for creating these “strong, trusting relationships” in order to “work together” and “make positive changes in our community” was to offer zoom sessions for parents segregated by race. I am not kidding. In the communication to parents, two zoom sessions were linked: one for “Parents of Color” and one for “White Parents.”

In Massachusetts, a parents group has filed a civil rights complaint against the Wellesley School District because the district held a racially exclusive event about anti-Asian hate crime. The district invited students to discuss anti-Asian crime after the murders of six Asian women and two others by a White man in Atlanta, GA. The invitation to the event read: “*Note: This is a safe space for our Asian/Asian-American and Students of Color, *not* for students who identify only as White. If you identify as White, and need help to process recent events, please know I’m here for you as well as your guidance counselors. If you need to know why this is not for White students, please ask me!”

In Trump’s last days as president, the Department of Education (DOE) judged that “affinity groups” in schools, that is, separating people according to race, was discriminatory because it led to people being treated differently based on race. According to Chrissy Clark, writing for the Daily Wire, “Racial ‘affinity groups’ are used in both K-12 and higher education institutions across the nation. They separate students and staff by race in hopes of giving black people a ‘safe space’ to discuss their experiences with racism while providing a separate space for white people to learn about their ‘white privilege.'” Critics of “affinity groups” claim they are simply an excuse for segregation based on race. The decision of the DOE came after a whistleblower reported that the Evanston-Skokie School District in Illinois was separating by race staff and students for various “racial equity” programs and school lessons, even instructing teachers to consider race when applying disciplinary measures. The DOE insisted that such programs would inherently cause people to be treated differently based on race, and that this was not allowed according to law. The Biden administration, however, rescinded the DOE’s decision that such racially segregated programs and lessons were discriminatory and illegal, thus allowing them to continue.

Christopher Rufo, who has reported extensively on “wokeism” and critical race theory, reports in The City Journal that, “According to new whistleblower documents, at least three public agencies in the Seattle region have implemented race-segregated diversity trainings that teach employees, in the words of one training manual, to ‘accept responsibility for their own racism’ and ‘question the white power structure.'”

The movement to restore racial segregation has been especially popular on the campuses of colleges and universities for some years now. Some colleges offer separate orientations and other back-to-school events that are segregated by race. Others offer spaces and social events on campus designated for Black and POC students. Segregation based on race includes segregated housing.

Schools, especially at the elementary, middle and high school levels, already continue to suffer practical if not legal segregation, much of it related to demographics. Blacks and Whites still do not often share the same neighborhoods, often for racial and economic reasons. We can now add Latinos to the mix, also largely separated by demographics determined by racial and economic segregation. Seema Mehta and Michael Finnegan, writing for the Los Angeles Times in a 2019 article, point out that, “The effect of segregation is profound. Children in integrated schools are more likely to graduate high school and attend college, and they get jobs with higher incomes, studies show. There is also a societal benefit when young people interact with peers of different racial and socioeconomic backgrounds, scholars say, ‘It’s important to have public schools play a role in helping young people and the broader community develop the capacity and commitment to live together in productive ways,’ says John rogers, director of UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access.” Our schools remain segregated, and the segregation is worsening, Mehta and Finnegan allege, because our state and federal governments are not addressing segregation. The anger inspired by government forced busing was so intense that governments are not eager to confront segregation again, even decades later. As such, so many of our students are languishing in sub-par schools.

We know the harm segregation in society causes, and we know the benefits of integration. We know that students in still segregated schools do not perform as well as those in integrated schools. Beyond ignoring the reality of still segregated schools, why are we failing our citizens, especially our youngest, in the effort to re-introduce government or socially-sanctioned segregation? The answer is apparent: because woke activists, educators, media elites and politicians are more interested in their race-centered agendas than they are in genuine progress along racial lines. It does not profit them, financially or socially, and it does not increase their power to heal racial tensions and wounds. The opposite is true. They increase both their profit and their power by increasing and then exploiting the tensions and divisions among the different racial groups. The United States is one of the most racially heterogeneous nations in the world, likely in the history of the world. We have suffered so as a result, but we have also achieved significant progress in race relations. The racial heterogeneous makeup of our nation is at least partly because of those from other nations who immigrated here to take advantage of our political freedoms and economic opportunities. However, there are those who are enemies of American principles of equal justice under law, equal treatment under law, success according to merit, and racial harmony. These enemies have no interest in working toward the unity of all races under the American ideal. They are interested in tearing down the American ideal and fomenting racial tensions and divisions as a means to that end.

Last year, the California legislature approved ACA 5, an amendment to the state constitution that would allow for race-based hiring and admission into university. The measure went to ballot last November and was defeated by the voters of California, but just the idea that a state legislature would approve such a measure is telling. The Biden administration began a federal pandemic loan forgiveness program that offered loan forgiveness for “socially disadvantaged” farmers and ranchers who have had a rough time managing their enterprises during the pandemic. The program, however, has excluded White farmers, and a group of them are suing the Biden administration for discrimination. The lawsuit says, “These racial exclusions are patently unconstitutional, and the court should permanently enjoin their enforcement. Doing so will promote equal rights under the law for all American citizens and promote efforts to stop racial discrimination, because ‘[t]he way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.’”

COVID relief to farmers is not the only example of race-based aid directed by the Biden administration. The Small Business Administration was directed to provide relief to restaurants impacted by the pandemic according to the “socially and economically disadvantaged” identities of the owners, “who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias.” The presumption, of course, is that if you are a racial or ethnic minority than you must have been subject to such prejudice or bias sometime over the course of your business career, and if you are White you never have been. Apparently, it would be considered retrograde to offer relief simply on the basis of how badly was any particular business impacted by the pandemic.

Marin County California adopted a program where 125 single mothers will receive $1000/month as part of a “universal basic income experiment.” However, the program is only open to “mothers of color.” The assumption, I suppose, is that poor, single White mothers still have the advantage of being White. Both of my sisters were poor, single White mothers. It’s not clear to me what advantage their Whiteness provided.

During the Senate confirmation hearings for Biden’s cabinet, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) said she would only vote for nominees if they were POC or LGBTQ+. “I am a no vote on the floor,” Duckworth said, “on all non-diversity nominees. You know, I will vote for racial minorities and I will vote for LGBTQ, but anybody else I’m not voting for.” Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) also said she would not vote for nominees who are White and straight. I’m joining her in that,” Hirono said, referring to Duckworth, “which means that we would like to have a commitment from the White House that there’ll be more diversity representation in the Cabinet, and in senior White House positions. And until that happens, I will join her in voting no on non-diversity nominees. We’re not just calling for AAPIs (Duckworth and Hirono are the only Asian-Americans serving in the Senate). This is not about pitting one diversity group against another. So I’m happy to vote for a Hispanic, a Black person, an LGBTQ person, and AAPI person. I’d just like to see more diversity represented.” One can recognize the historic racism found throughout our government’s history and still be astounded that two U. S. Senators are so bold in announcing their intent to base their votes on race. Both Duckworth and Hirono walked back their original vows.

Then, of course, there is the announcement by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the first gay Black mayor of the city, that she would not grant interviews to White journalists on the occasion of her second anniversary in office. Lightfoot defended the decision as a way of pointing out that there are few minorities in the City Hall press corp. Charles Whitaker, dean of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, rightly pointed out that, “We would never, ever in a million years allow that of a white politician. And so it’s dangerous to say we are going to allow that of a Black politician simply to make the point about the historic inequities in media.” The National Association of Black Journalists said that it could not support Lightfoot’s decision, though they applauded her desire to increase minority representation in journalism. The Chicago Tribune decided not to interview Lightfoot on the occasion of her second anniversary in protest of the restriction. Lightfoot took considerable heat for her announcement, including calls to resign by Tulsi Gabbard, former presidential candidate. But, the fact that she felt she could restrict which journalists interviewed her based on race speaks powerfully to the, at least perceived, acceptance of the practice.

In his book, How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendi writes in defense of racial discrimination. “The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then is is racist.” In other words, the ends justify the means. I could go on about the difference between “equity” and “equality,” but I am convinced that it does not matter. Discrimination based on race, by definition, does not achieve either. At best, it achieves a poor twin of equity while excusing society from the work of achieving genuine equality.

Too many of our media, social and political elites have bought into the notion, pressed by activist elites, that the way to resolve historic and current discrimination against people of color is to discriminate against White people. The goal of a society where racial diversity is appreciated but race itself is not determinative of success or freedoms is, I fear, a goal abandoned by our elites in favor of one where racial identity is first and foremost in the lives of everyone and determinative of who will enjoy opportunities and who will not. This is nothing other than social sin. It always has been and it always will be. There are far too many factors that determine one’s future, and to reduce those factors to race and race alone is both an injustice and a lie. The only way to fight this trend is to refuse to respect it. That will likely mean being accused of racism (if White) or of being an “Uncle Tom” (if Black), being accused of not being an “ally” to minorities, perhaps even sacrificing reputation and opportunities for one’s self. But, it must be done. We cannot go back to a country where it is codified in law that a person’s freedoms, opportunities, reputation and treatment under the law were determined by the color of his or her skin. To do so would be a disgrace and a sin. And it would mean dishonoring all those who fought and sacrificed for a society built on character rather than color.

Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.

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