So as you can imagine I haven't been following the news as tightly this week. Nothing seemed as important as the little telenovela showing in the little house on Amherst Street where Mojo and Peeper and I talked and organized things to get nearer to little Mei-mei.
So it was a bit of a surprise today when I read about the decision handed down today in the U.S. Supreme Court in the matter of two cases involving school desegregation: Parents v. Seattle School District and Meredith v. Jefferson County Board of Ed.
I'll let Scott Lemieux over at Lawyers, Guns and Money break down the salient points of these decisions. But the bottom line is that the Court said today that it is not constitutional for local governments to do anything about de facto segregation through school integration.
But I consider it sufficient to reduce the argument against this decision to this: is it in our (yours, mine, our children's, the nation's) best interest to perpetuate the racial concentration of poverty and disenfranchisement that we live with now?
Apparently the Roberts Court thinks so. Apparently the conservative position - since the 5-4 decision was crafted by the "right" side of the Court - is now that the sort of thing pictured on the left is past and forgotten, our dark legacy of slavery and oppression deep in the bosom of the ocean buried .
One of the reasons that this hit home is that suddenly, immediately, I'm thinking about...
...THIS sort of thing.
How do I explain to our little daughter that despite the fact that her ancestors were designing great works of engineering, culture and society when my ancestors were wiping their backsides with leaves and looking for stuff to eat it's still okay in a huge part of our country to publicly brand her a "China Doll" or a coolie or a nerdy little brainiac who can't drive?
And, especially if you're black, you just need to stay with your own kind. Apparently the intellectual concept of Bush-era-conservatives as typified by the SCOTUS includes the notion that this is OK: that so long as your government isn't doing anything to keep you segregated, it shouldn't try to do anything to keep you integrated, either.
One of the things that always amazes me about 20th Century "conservatism" is how often the packaging sounds so sensible and attractive but when you look at what the product does the result is often quite loathsome. It's like those flavored lotions that they sell in adult stores. The idea sounds appealing, but you get the lights turned down and the music low it turns out that the stuff tastes like licking a Barbie's ass and feels like WD-40 when you smear it on your skin.
I'm not sure what the right answer for the problem of de-facto concentrating poverty in minority groups in America is. But I'm sure of what it isn't. And the "what it isn't" is what the SCOTUS just told us today is our first and best option.
I'm sorry, kiddo. Sometimes some of us adults are just plain stone-blind stupid.