It’s a powerful word because it evokes powerful feelings. Hearing the word “segregation” instills in our minds images of violence, exclusion, and a bitter hatred of innocent men for no reason beyond the color of their skin. We remember a time when little boys and girls couldn’t ride the bus together or sit at the same lunch table for fear of being shouted down, bullied, or even arrested. We know it represents a dark, evil, and unforgivable period in American history.
Or do we? Perhaps not, if we listen to local NAACP leader and spokesman Rev. William Barber, who was arrested today on charges of trespassing while screaming and pleading with fellow activists to rebel against the Wake County public schools’ recent decision to resegregate. This would be a compelling tale of a brave man resisting police state oppression, if he were correct that the schools are resegregating at all. Unfortunately for the good reverend’s cause, they are not.
Actually, the Wake County School Board is relaxing government controls that previously forced students to attend schools far away from their homes based only on their parents’ socioeconomic status. The bizarre and somewhat authoritarian policy of redistributing thousands of students to new schools every year, which encumbered students’ social development and caused abnormally long bus rides, was created with the intention of improving school performance through increased racial diversity. It is unclear whether there was any reason at the time to believe that racial diversity would cause students or teachers to become smarter. However, it is abundantly clear now that the plan has not worked. In 2007-2008, an abysmal 18% of Wake County public schools met the already lax standards of adequate yearly progress under No Child Left Behind. That is not the mark of a successful government program.
Now the School Board has voted to eliminate much of the harsh policies that forced redistributing students across great distances, instead focusing its efforts on neighborhood schools to avoid long bus rides. The obvious benefits of this are multi-faceted and substantial. Consumption of gasoline will decline, providing schools with a small but precious way to save money in a time of across-the-board budget cuts. Carbon emissions will be slashed, as well. Most importantly, parents will have greater choice in where to send their children to school, and children will enjoy shorter bus rides and a more stable base of friends as they can attend the same school year after year, if, of course, that is what they want.
The School Board’s decision is an invaluable step forward in the movement to put parents back in charge of how their children are raised. The emotional issue of racial segregation is a fraud, a scapegoat set up to distract debate away from the real issue of school choice and throw advocates of freedom into an un-winnable game while busy-body school assignment officials try to retain some semblance of usefulness. Concerned parents cannot defend themselves against the accusation of being racist because the accusation is made without evidence, and therefore cannot be refuted with evidence. What they can do – and what we all must do – is stand our ground and never waiver in asserting our right to choice and freedom, not long bus rides and bureaucratic control.
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News and Observer Publishes Excruciatingly Stupid Article – Reveals Total Disconnect from Rational People and the Internet
The Triangle newspaper The News and Observer has never been known for providing spectacular insight into the economic and political dilemmas of our day, but the Saturday issue demonstrated a new low for journalism. In a painfully anti-intellectual front-page story on black people using Twitter, the N&O indirectly illustrated how far out of touch the papers are with the rational, individual-oriented thought process of most Americans, as well as how little they know of the personality of the internet itself.
The article begins with a headline that cannot lead anywhere meaningful: “For many blacks, Twitter enables a vibrant online life.” The obviousness of this hurts; it never would have occurred to most people to think that blacks didn’t enjoy Twitter just as much as everyone else. The body of the article opens as such:
Janelle Thomas knows how popular Twitter is among African-Americans.
The soon-to-be UNC-Charlotte graduate has 300 followers on the micro-blogging service, most of them young African-Americans like her. One friend sends out as many as 100 tweets – or messages – per day, enough to clog her account and eventually force Thomas to drop him from her circle.
To reiterate, this is on the front page of the Saturday issue of North Carolina’s second-largest newspaper, and it was written by a reporter for the Charlotte Observer, NC’s largest. Reading about the Twitter life of a person who uses Twitter in precisely the same way that almost everyone else does cannot possibly be an experience worth any money, yet this article is published in for-profit newspapers. The article goes on to state more straightforward truisms about the internet:
“Literally, some people will tweet ‘Got up’ or “Going to class’ or ‘This girl in front of me is crazy looking,'” said Thomas, a communications major.
I hope she does well in her major.
The purpose of this article is not to convey meaningful news; it is to disseminate an arrogant, racist sociologist’s baseless opinions about groups of people. “Some researchers have surmised that African-Americans might use Twitter more heavily because they use it in a more conversational way than other groups.” There is no reason to use the flattering title of ‘researcher’ for a person who merely ‘surmises’ pointless personal opinions about people’s behavior based on their skin color. This is not research, and it is not even reporting. It is uninteresting speculation on par with that of a teenage boy’s obscure political blog, but without the associated expansive vocabulary and familiarity with use of the internet.
The greatest aspect of American thought is an aversion to collectivizing behavior: every action is considered in the context only of the individual who performed it, and we don’t link individual traits to meaningless groupings such as the color of a person’s skin. The internet is especially a place to celebrate this, since the anonymity afforded by the online community forces each person to judge another’s postings only by their content, not by generalizations of society. Yet the sociology majors who now control the mainstream media cannot think like this. They insist on insulting individuals by interviewing and examining them for their role in an imagined collective. Only in a demented, anti-individualist, philosophically void world could a trend of more black people using Twitter be examined for its sociological implications, as if blacks are using the internet for any reason other than that they want to use the internet.