During confirmation hearings for Justice Alito, conservatives pooh-poohed his sketchy record on race by arguing that race wasn’t an issue the Supreme Court would have to face any more. When the Voting Rights Act was challenged in the Supreme Court a little later, conservatives argued that its stronger provisions should be declared unconstitutional, and suggested that the Act was outdated anyway. We’re post-racial and post-racism, they insisted.
A federal court has ordered the Walthall County, Miss., School District to eliminate policies that have resulted in significant racial segregation among students in the school district, the Justice Department today announced.
The United States filed a motion on Dec. 21, 2009, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi arguing that the Walthall School District is in flagrant violation of a prior court order from 1970, the Equal Protection Clause and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
“More than 55 years after Brown v. Board of Education, it is unacceptable for school districts to act in a way that encourages or tolerates the resegregation of public schools,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “We will take action so that school districts subject to federal desegregation orders comply with their obligation to eliminate vestiges of separate black and white schools.”
…permitting hundreds of [white] students … to attend schools outside their assigned residential attendance zone without restriction prompted a disproportionate number of white students to attend a single school in the district, leaving a number of other schools disproportionately black.
… the community regarded certain schools in the district as “white schools” or “black schools.” … officials in certain district schools grouped, or “clustered,” white students together in particular classrooms, resulting in large numbers of all-black classes at every grade level in those schools.
Or as Phil Ochs put it 50 years ago:
And here’s to the schools of Mississippi
Where they’re teaching all the children that they don’t have to care
All the rudiments of hatred are present everywhere
And every single classroom is a factory of despair
There’s nobody learning such a foreign word as fair
Oh, here’s to the land you’ve torn out the heart of
Mississippi find yourself another country to be part of