This week has been the Anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
The First Lady went to Topeka, Kansas to deliver a speech about the Anniversary.
On the eve of the 60th anniversary of the landmark Brown v Board of Education Supreme Court decision, First Lady Michelle Obama speaks at Senior Appreciation Day in Topeka, Kansas, where the historic civil rights case began.
On this commemoration, there is a tendency in some quarters to take the glass half-empty approach to what’s happened in the past 60 years.
Yes, schools have gone back to being re-segregated.
Yes, there continues to be inequality in the schools, and it’s still a funding issue. If the discrepancy in funding didn’t seem to follow the re-segregation, I don’t think it would be that much of an issue.
But, don’t let anyone tell you that Brown is outdated.
That Brown wasn’t necessary.
Brown was absolutely, positively necessary.
Brown v. Board of Education was the death knell to what I call the ‘ Delusional World of Mad Men’.
Where we had a group of people believing that they were big fish in a big pond.
When, in actuality, they were fish in a pond where 90% of the rest of the fish were shoved into sardine cans.
Brown v. Board opened those sardine cans and let all the rest of the fish come out and swim in the pond. To be given the chance to swim in the pond and make it.
There is a underlying lie, that there simply weren’t qualified Black people to do jobs, and suddenly, after the Civil Rights Movement, all these folks just ‘happened’ to appear.
That’s a DAMN LIE.
The truth is, there were generations upon generations of highly qualified Black people who never got the chance to dream. To fulfill their ‘passions’. To explore ‘ possibilities’. All things that the youth of today do routinely.
I never forget that my father was a man who graduated from college with honors, then went on to score in the top 1% of the CPA exam, and couldn’t find a job. Not because he wasn’t QUALIFIED, but because he was BLACK. He was condemned because of the year of his birth.
I never forget that my mother and her three sisters, all honors graduates, with graduate degrees before Brown came down, literally had two professions from which they could choose: TEACHER or SOCIAL WORKER.
My Aunt had a PhD in CHEMISTRY, and the best she could hope for was to be a High School Teacher. That’s the closest she would ever get. No teaching in colleges; no going into ‘ research’ – whether for a private firm or for the public sector.
No. She could take her PhD and either become a teacher or a social worker. Unless she decided to join her fellow PhD’s at the United States Postal Service, where she would not have remotely been alone.
Brown isn’t a mere courtcase.
It is the foundation from which the building of dreams and aspirations were built. It opened the ENTIRE WORLD for people, who before had nothing but wasted potential and frustrations. How many dreams died. How much potential was murdered. How many souls were crushed because of American Apartheid? And how much did this nation lose because of that wasted potential? What cures took longer to find? What inventions came later than they should?
There’s a reason why the right wing hates Brown, because the world of their delusion has been dismantled, brick by brick, since that decision, and they can’t stand it.
Don’t let people box Brown in as just as educational decision. Don’t let the evaluation about Brown be done on such a narrow focus. The broader focus on Brown must always be studied and validated. The positives brought to this society because of Brown must never be allowed to be denigrated or disrespected.
We must always fight for a better, more just society. That will never stop. We must always gird ourselves to fight for the betterment of this country. To expand opportunity for all. Thurgood Marshall is a true American Hero. He and his colleagues NAACP Legal Defense Fund brought about the legal foundation for the dismantling of American Apartheid. This country must never be allowed to forget that. And, I will always hold him and his colleagues in the highest of respect and honor.
MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry joined her fellow MSNBC host Joy Reid on Friday to talk about the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Brown v. The Board of Education and modern racial dynamics in education. Harris-Perry, an educator herself, said that the metrics used to assess the quality of an education need to include diversity as well as factors like test scores and college attendance.
Harris-Perry and Reid wrestled with the history of segregation in education and eventually moved on to discuss the rise of charter schooling which both noted are now attracting minority students as well as white students. Reid noted that this phenomenon leaves public schools with fewer students who may not be of the highest academic caliber