by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Before the Supreme Court ruled, in the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision, that racial segregation in public schools was unconstitutional, the lower District Court in Kansas conceded that such policies were “detrimental” to minority children since they contributed to a “sense of inferiority.” In subsequent years, legislative milestones such as the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the 1968 Fair Housing Act provided practical and symbolic relief from such degradation.
Or that has long been the consensus view, anyway. For decades, some have fought to reframe segregation as a progressive cause, and in recent years, their “anti-racism” has found fertile ground on campus. Last year, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) published an investigation, “Separate but Equal, Again: Neo-Segregation in American Higher Education.” The report’s authors studied 173 public and private schools, pulling from all 50 states. They found that 43 percent of the schools had residential segregation, 46 percent had segregated orientation programs, and 72 percent had segregated graduation ceremonies.
Just last week, officials at New York University — at the urging of a small, student-led taskforce — approved the school’s first racially segregated resident floor, which they plan to open in the fall of 2021. NYU’s policy was first reported by Washington Square News, a weekly student newspaper, which explained how an undergraduate activist group, the “Black Violets,” had created an online petition outlining its “demands.” The campaign was started by two black undergraduates who claimed to have “noticed that their experience was different from that of their Black peers,” because they had had black roommates and their black peers had not. They came to believe that “in the classroom and in resident life, black students bear the brunt of educating their uninformed peers about racism.” They concluded that “the university does not adequately provide for its Black students.” …