Friday, February 1, 2013
Response to Derrick A. Bell “Brown v. Board of Education and the Interest Convergence Dilemma’"
By Denise Francis
Bell explored the issues of overturning the Plessy v Ferguson decision of separate but equal. In theory the decision was used to legalized segregation as long as both black and white people had similar experiences. It was no a surprise that amenities, dining and traveling experiences of black americans would never be equal to that of whites. With this understanding, Brown v. Board of Education aimed to reverse the effects of the previous legislation for children of all colors to have a better education.
After Brown v Board was passed, integration into white schools was strongly resisted. Black children had experienced harassment from students, teachers and faculty alike. Black parents made conscious decisions regarding their children’s education. Currently there are programs that were established to integrate schools, usually urban students into suburban schools. Being from Boston, I’m familiar with the METCO program that has a five year waiting list to integrate schools. After hearing stories from friends who were in the METCO program, I highly doubt I would have enjoyed my experience at a suburban school. Many of my friends experienced being tracked into underperforming classes and feeling isolated from the larger school community. Bell explains that this form of integration and education reform are the exact issues that should have been dealt with under Brown v Board.
Bell receives a considerable amount of backlash from reformers because he says that demographic patterns, white flight and the lack of effective social reforms contribute to the continuation of school segregation. I completely agree with Bell’s argument simply from personal experience in the Boston public school system. In order to effectively integrate schools, the source of our social issues need to be adequately addressed.
All too often America turns to temporary fixes to bandage problems instead of actually fixing the problem. Bell advocates that we take a closer look at our nations and the terms in which it functions in order to progress our society.