Prior to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – a law that was passed by an overwhelmingly white Congress and signed by a white president – separating students according to the color of their skin was commonplace, particularly in southern states. Laws that had become known collectively as “Jim Crow” were designed to divide us by race. Black students attended ‘colored’ schools, which had colored teachers and colored sports teams, while white students learned in white schools. After 1964, as the integration of everything from schools to water fountains advanced, and as we moved on from the bigotry of Jim Crow, America’s transformation into the great melting pot accelerated. “We’re all Americans regardless of the color of our skin” was the mindset. Due to the effort of so-called progressives, however, we are in fact regressing back into segregation; a predictable outcome when we consider that progressives view virtually every aspect of our society through the prism of race.
By the 1970s, only a few years after the landmark Civil Rights Act, Americans were celebrating integration, particularly in schools. Millions tuned in to watch and chuckle at television sitcoms such as Welcome Back Kotter, a hugely successful show that featured white, black and Hispanic students dealing with the challenges of inner-city Brooklyn. Those characters were of different races and religions, but that wasn’t what defined them. They were just loveable kids, and we enjoyed laughing at the various dynamics within each episode.
Race relations continued improving into the 1980s and 1990s. Federal law had prohibited segregation, and our culture adjusted to align itself with that legislation. Separating us by skin color wasn’t just illegal, it was culturally unacceptable. Racial tensions hadn’t disappeared, but they’d certainly lessened dramatically. By 2008, we had elected our first racial minority to the presidency in Barack Obama – something virtually no other country has ever done – and by 2010, a vast majority of Americans believed race relations in America were improving.
In a little over a decade, however, we now appear to be on the precipice of having come full circle, with the practice of segregation coming back into vogue, provided those practitioners are woke. A recent offering from the Piedmont, California school district is just the latest illustration of leftist educators promoting segregation.
On the heels of the jury verdict which found former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, the Piedmont school system sent an email announcing a “White Student Support Circle” aimed at allowing attendees to discuss the “impact” the Chauvin case was having on them. The headline itself screams divisiveness, but the subsequent statement from the district addressing the uproar that followed is even more indicative of how ridiculous the situation has become.
A statement released by district superintendent Randall Booker uses all the key words and catch phrases of woke-ism. Mr. Booker clearly has a firm grip on leftist schtick as he points to their “pursuit of racial justice,” refers to their “journey of anti-racism,” and capitalizes letters when referring to one’s skin color. But the line from Booker’s statement that is most revealing of his wokeness and bigotry is his apologetic explanation that, “A poor choice of words in the subject line of the invitation to White students led to the perception that White students needed the same kind of ‘support’ as our BIPOC students.”
For the uninitiated, the acronym BIPOC stands for “Black, Indigenous, People of Color,” and is enthusiastically used in acknowledgement that not all minority groups have the same level of victimhood. It becomes clear, therefore, that Superintendent Booker’s statement isn’t expressing remorse for having arranged a gathering of students based on their skin color; that’s perfectly fine. The school district’s sin, according to Booker, is that the subject line of the email may have suggested that white kids were somehow at the same level of victimhood as non-white kids. And that, friends, would be absolute heresy.
Even if we assume that the Chauvin verdict was the correct one, it’s still unclear exactly how students could have been victimized by events that happened 2,000 miles away, but that confusion misses a larger point. Having support circles based on students’ skin color is fine-and-dandy apparently, so long as they don’t imply a deviation from the left’s hierarchy of victimhood. That’s Mr. Booker’s message. But it’s not fine-and-dandy. It’s not OK. Government-funded institutions should not be holding and promoting events where the attendees’ skin color is a determining factor for admission; particularly when those attendees are school children. It’s wrong.
Segregation has become most popular, evidently, in our colleges and universities. The University of Michigan-Dearborn last year held an event called The BIPOC Café, the purpose of which was to provide “a space for student[s] from marginalized racial/ethnic/cultural communities to gather and to relate with one another and to discuss their experience as students on campus and as people of color in the world.” Please understand, there was no controversy with the BIPOC Café; at least not initially. But when the university announced The Non-POC Café (for non-People of Color… a woke way of saying “white”), critics had a conniption. Excluding white students based on skin color is not only acceptable, it’s admirable; but you’d better not exclude non-white students for the same reason. The university quickly backed down. Unfortunately UMD is not alone in their approach; far from it, in fact.
Harvard University takes modern-day segregation to a whole new level. Last fall Harvard announced their plan to “host drop-in self-care and wellness sessions for those experiencing heightened anxiety in response to the current moment (e.g., COVID-19, racial injustice, the upcoming election).” Aside from the politically correct verbiage, Harvard’s schedule for these gatherings could have been written by a 1930s Mississippi Klansman:
- Tue 10/6 – Non-POC (People of Color)/Allies for People with Marginalized Identities
- Thu 10/8 – International
- Tue 10/13 – LGBTQ
- Thu 10/15 – People with Disabilities
- Tue 10/20 – Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC)/Multiracial
- Thu 10/22 – Indigenous/Native American
- Tue 10/27 – Latinx
- Wed 10/28 – Black/African American
- Thu 10/29 – Asian/Asian American
What’s puzzling is why Harvard thought it was acceptable to have the white students (aka non-POC students) go first. Clearly that’s not woke.
To fully understand the phenomenon of our unmistakable return to segregation, we must first consider the motives of those driving the trend. Our friends on the left would have us believe their ultimate goal is racial harmony, and their current activities are designed to right the wrongs of our country’s imperfect past. They’re lying. That’s not the reason they want to separate us at every opportunity by skin color, or creed, or income level, or genitalia. The left needs us to be divided, they want acrimony. They want friction because they want power.
Hostility between identity groups enables leftists to exploit our differences and restructure government policy. Their script is obvious. “They hate Muslims, so vote for us and we’ll make sure we steer the country away from being considered a Christian nation. They have more money than you and don’t deserve it, so vote for us and we’ll tax the crap out of them. They have male genitals and those people disenfranchised people with female genitals over a century ago, so vote for us and we’ll do everything we can to stick it to them. And they have white skin and white people held slaves a century and a half ago, so vote for us and we’ll get you slavery reparations.”
Our country is going backwards, and it’s not by accident. The undeniable deterioration of race relations in America is by design. It’s part of a well thought out scheme by leftists to tear down our existing institutions and replace them with utopian substitutes and unachievable goals. Segregation is wrong; it’s evil. It was wrong in 1964, and it’s wrong today. We should reject today’s segregation loud and clear and call it out for what it is.
P.F. Whalen is a conservative blogger at TheBlueStateConservative.com. His work has appeared in multiple publications, including Human Events, the Western Journal, and American Thinker. Follow him on Parler @PFWhalen.