Boston's Mess 1974-1978
Research on the process of school desegregation in the United States reveals that even though notable steps were taken after the Brown v Board of Education (1954) ruling to reduce segregation, problems with this issue remained a pervasive part of social discourse. For instance, Cozens (1998) notes that all across the US, the segregation that occurred in schools was reflective of the segregation that occurred in the larger context of society. With respect to Boston, Cozens reports, “As America moved to integrate its schools in the mid-1900s, Boston, like many Northern cities, struggled with segregated housing patterns. Because students were assigned to schools based on where they lived, schools in primarily white areas…had a mostly white student body, while schools in black areas…were overwhelmingly black” (Background). What this effectively suggests is that just because the Supreme Court had ruled in favor of school desegregation, there were no effective means in place to ensure that this outcome would be achieved.
Cozens goes on to note that when the Supreme Court made its ruling in the Brown case, it specifically outlawed the de jure segregation. Under this type of segregation, whites and blacks were forbidden to go to the same school, even if they lived in the same district.
[...] The social and economic problems that had precipitated segregation in the public schools were not the result of efforts on the part of children to achieve this end. However, when the violence began in 1974, the children were the ones that bore the brunt of the violence. Given that the children clearly were the innocent victims in this case, it seems reasonable to argue that steps should have been taken to ensure that students were not caught in the violent crossfire. [...]
[...] By showing the impact of the event though the eyes of three families living in Boston during this time, Lukas is able to provide a clear understanding of how policy and law impacted social discourse. Overall, this appears to be a critical issue for laymen to truly understand the barriers that face African Americans when it comes to social justice. When the Brown decision was handed down in 1954, most civic rights activists and African Americans believed that this decision would provide the necessary changes that would ensure the equal treatment of blacks and whites. [...]
[...] The end result had been a complete lack of integration in the Mecklenburg County School District. In the Swan case, the Supreme Court ruled that: everything else being equal, students should be assigned to the school nearest their homes, but things are not equal in a system that has been deliberately constructed and maintained to enforce racial segregation'” (p. 233). Further the Court argued that the district would have to use whatever means necessary to ensure the integration of whites and blacks across neighborhood lines. [...]
[...] Although the issue of school desegregation is one that has been effectively managed in large urban areas, the reality is that in many rural communities, segregation in public schools still persists. Further, when one looks at the composition of inner city schools, ethnic minorities are still a majority. In response to the problems that have occurred as a result of racial tensions in the US many white families have moved to the suburbs. Many minorities have been left behind, because of their pervasive inability to afford the cost of living in such neighborhoods. [...]
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