by Ana Lara and Nicole Zaager
The United States of America is a big and diverse country. Because of its history the United States was once known as the melting pot. You can find people of all the countries in the world in the United States, some states being more diverse than others. Many people around the world immigrate to the United States for many different reasons. The beauty of this country is its diversity in races, culture, languages and so on. In the history of the United States, people have suffered segregation in many ways.
In the early 1900s black people could not be mixed with white people, there were schools for white students and schools for black students; bars for whites and for blacks; public bathroom for whites and for blacks, even in the bus, black people sat at the back of the bus and white people at the front. Fortunately, all of that stopped and now black, whites and any other race are now allowed everywhere. But apparently, we are seeing some of that again in the school. In many school, we can see mostly white students, or mostly black or Hispanic. Students are mixing less and less; known as resegregation in the classrooms.
An article from the Christian Science Monitor notes that some of the causes of resegregation are, “white families moving out of central cities or removing their children from the public schools there; school districts being released from court-ordered plans, or abandoning voluntary plans, to promote integration after the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision; and a series of Supreme Court decisions since the early 1990s that have limited the tools districts can use for integration.” With many of these related to decisions of individual school districts, the truth is that an overwhelming number of schools are seeing more segregation. While the specific reasoning’s aren’t disclosed, it appears as though the fear of minority students, often those in low-income neighborhoods, causes white parents and school board members to push for segregation. Although they seem to be trying to help their own children, the chasm they are creating in their community is only widening, and the opportunities for all the students are being sacrificed.
Racial segregation in schools is more prominent than it was 50 years ago. According to an article by Dana Goldstein, “a third of all black and Latino children sit every day in classrooms that are 90 to 100 percent black and Latino.” Though this may sound shocking, the reality is that our children are learning with peers very similar to themselves. While the issue of the unequal educations different races are receiving is indeed important, a subsidiary consequence is the lack of multicultural experience the students are receiving. Without coexisting in schools with students of various races, it is hard to expect them to learn how to coexist in the world. We can’t expect the students to learn tolerance and acceptance of others, if these others only exist in explanations.
By allowing the segregation of students, we are only putting all of them at a grave disadvantage. Without being able to work together, they will never be able to learn from each other and about each other, and the various prejudices and hatred will only be perpetuated. By working to desegregate schools. We can work towards fixing the problem of unequal education, and afford our students with the rights and the benefits of working closely with people of other cultures. While it is imperative that we begin the process of diversifying our classrooms, it is also useful to acknowledge that desegregation will lead to a more compassionate and understanding population of students, who are motivated by each other to succeed, and are no longer afraid of the differences between them.