Monday, March 23, 2015

Brown Vs. Board of Education; Wise, "Between Barack and a Hard Place"; Herbert, "Separate and Unequal"


First off, I thought that this week's assignment was really great. It's a nice change of pace from everything we've been doing in class. Instead of reading long articles about theories, we are reading articles and studies where those theories we have spent all semester learning about are being used in practice.  We get to see how things work in the real world when we apply all the knowledge and teachings we have learned over the course of the semester from Ullucci, Delpit, Johnson, Kozol, etc. Also it was incredibly hard to focus on this weeks assignment for some reason. I don't know if it was because it was a video versus articles or what, but I felt like I had some serious ADHD while doing this weeks post. 

Reading into the history of the Supreme Court case Brown vs. Board of Education was really intriguing. We all learn the basics of this historical case in elementary, middle, and high school.  The fight against segregation in schools was raging, and there were cracks in the glass being made all over the country. That final crack, however, was made on May 17, 1954 when the Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were unconstitutional and made equal opportunity for everyone to get an education. There are definite tones of Johnson in this article, because the people who fought for this case "said the words". They stood up for their rights and didn't stop until they were heard. They without a doubt did see their house on fire and did not stop for a second to think about yelling fire. This case "set in motion sweeping changes in American Society and redefined the nations' ideals". There is a great line from a Langston Hughes poem that I think captures the exact feeling of most African Americans during this time: 
"O, yes, 
I say it plain, 
America never was America to me, 
And yet I swear this oath -
America will be!"

Image result for tim wiseIn the video done by Tim Wise, his main argument was that racism is still going on today, and that even though we like to pretend that we are past the age of racism, that it is as prevalent as ever. Again, this reminded me of Johnson's article because he argues that we need to talk about things but we do not use the actual words "racism" and "privilege". He argues that the original form of racism that we all know (racism 1.0) is relatively nonexistent, but there is a new form (racism 2.0) that is equally if not more dangerous in our society.  Wise argues that while racism 1.0 is often noticed all the time, but racism 2.0 goes unnoticed on a daily basis, and that is what's so dangerous. Racism is also something that has only (for the most part) been experience by people of color. (As stated by McIntosh in the White Privilege Knapsack. Wise states that the proper thing to teach minorities is that they should do their best to reach where racial divides to not exist or thought about. That is exactly something that Delpit would say about the culture of power. 

Bob Herbert of the New York Times argues in his article is about the education of underprivileged black and hispanic students. Throughout the whole article I couldn't help but think of Ullucci. "educators know that it is very difficult to get consistently good results in schools characterized by high concentrations of poverty. The best teachers tend to avoid such schools". This goes back to ullucci when she mentioned that educators right out of college will try their best to avoid working in low class school systems. However, I disagree with the author about the fact that only the best teachers avoid schools like that. I don't think at all that where someone is a teacher has any impact at all on whether they are a good teacher or not. that is the last thing that comes to mind. One thing that Herbert mentions is that "schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are". I wholeheartedly agree with this. If you try to separate students based on their income level like a lot of schools due (With some schools being just low income students) it is essentially just another form of segregation. 

Talking Point: I took some extra time and read a few other posts from Tim Wise on his website and they are really interesting, and they all focus on relevant topics not only to our class, but also to current events and what is going on in this country. 


  1. I loved your allusion of America as a cracked mirror. I agree that this assignment was great because it was different from our usual assignments. I like how you included the Langston Hughes quote. That quote stood out to me as well. I also agree that some of the best teachers can come from a low income school. Those kinds of teachers actually teach impoverished students how to fish instead of just giving fish to them. Great post!

  2. I really find it interesting how in depth you went into on both speakers. You clearly stated the arguments of each person and that makes it easy to understand! Great job. I love your use of their portaits as well.