Ever been to the school district where Brown v Board of Ed was decided?

I have. About 12 years ago I traveled to Topeka, Kansas with my debate team (yes I was on the debate team, c’mon now). I was a teenager from upstate NY and had experienced racism in schools already. I was really curious about this high school that was used as the symbol for one of the greatest victories for people of color and their rightful access to a fair and equitable education. The high school was empty when we were there, but for some reason, we sensed the tension that was clearly still plaguing the school. Posters demanding that one support diversity and multiculturalism were everywhere.
It was not until I was a MA student in Equity and Social Justice in Education that I read that 50 years later, things hadn’t really changed much at the Topeka School District. That state by state, throughout the country in “high risk” places, it was almost impossible to counter segregation policy that disguised itself with benign terminology and strategically (busing, shutting down schools) created policy used to keep certain children out and away from their constitutional right to a fair education.
A few years later, I became a school teacher and worked for a public school district for 5 years in predominantly black and Latino schools. The conditions were atrocious, the curriculum was demeaning, the wages deplorable and there was not a white child in sight (unless they were mentally or physically disabled or very very poor). In the land where every child is left behind, schools are segregated right now whether the Supreme Court says so or not. Whether they take another tool in placing some of these kids out of these schools or not. This country survives on the miseducation of brown and poor boys and girls, essentially to have a labor force that will not become doctors, engineers, scientists, lawyers, and business folk. Their failure is built into the system.
The policy, cultural mindset and economic racism has been in place for a long time, but today the Supreme Court made the few slightly effective attempts at desegregation, that much less possible. Despite any small scale recognition of the *positive* influence of diversity, the main staples of good old fashioned racism shine through. Helping a school out of the warped and fucked up history of injustice against black and brown people by modest proposals of “maybe we can help you out because you are brown, but ONLY if you are as qualified” crap is a drop in the bucket, when you are talking about a system that survives on the suppression of your voice.
Roberts weakly argues, that integration initiatives are somehow racist towards white children. I am so profoundly struck by the racism implicit in this statement and all I can ask is, when was the last time you stepped foot inside a school?
I did it, I taught in the trenches, I saw how bad it was, how bad it still is. Nobody listens to these teachers, to these communities, to these students, when their toilettes are overflowing and they are using history text books that still say “USSR.” Nobody gives a fuck about this nations children that go to school everyday and are afraid to walk down the street, afraid on the school yards and afraid of going home.
What these kids and communities do know is that no one wants them. No one wants to go to school with them, no one wants them in their schools and no one wants them in their communities.
So thank you, newly appointed SCOTUS, for doing so much worse than we thought you could. And for forgetting those of us in the schools and in the communities working so hard against years of racist and classist policy that has pushed us to the farthest points of our national imagination and rendered us invisible. Thank you for letting us know, we don’t need your help anymore. Because, quite frankly, we never noticed we were getting your help in the first place.

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