Sunday, November 7, 2004

Inherently Unequal

(Editor's Note: This is the segway into two upcoming posts I am writing dealing with segregation.)

In the course of history, we as a nation have rarely agreed on a single issue. From the morality of Roe v. Wade to the constitutionality of Brown v. the Board of Education, we all have conflicting views. This occurence once again and to this day presented itself in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. It is an argument worth fighting every step of the way. As Chief Justice Earl Warren stated following the ruling of Brown: "We conclude that the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." Segretation is, in every sense of the word, discrimination.

We cannot look at a man, regardless of the color of his skin, equally if he must be bussed to another facility designated to those of his skin color. We cannot ethically declare equality if two men of opposite skin color cannot drink from the same water fountain. Within the fourteenth amendment is room for speculation. "No state shall...deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." Constitutionally this means no person, government, business or any other organization has the right or power to segregate any group of people for reasons of race, color, religious preference, or gender. Maybe mypersonal interpretation of the constitution is a bit altered, but honestly, I do not see two sides to this argument. Segregation is discrimination.

Due to the formal and informal amendment process, Plessy v. Ferguson has been overturned. Through the Supreme Court's decision on Brown v. the Board of Education, we have realized and included in our governing that segregation is not equality and anything other than equality is discrimination. Chief Justice Warren was correct in concluding that the doctrine of 'separate but equal' no longer has a place in our society, but how do we make that up to the men and women of Birmingham, Montgomery, and Jackson who were sent to separate schools, delegated harder labor, and expected to drink from other drinking fountains?

1 comment :

Nick Speth said...

Today, "seperate but equal" sounds almost as stupid as "fake but accurate" does. I'm glad we've made such progress.

This makes me think of New York's Harvey Milk School, a small school for openly gay students who are uncomfortable in regular high school.,2933,95582,00.html

Now, I suppose this isn't that bad. If gay students want, for lack of a better word, "voluntary segregation" so be it, but somehow I wonder if Brown v Board would apply if someone challenged it. What if a straight kid wanted to go there? I mean, they spend more money per student there than anywhere else, New York's school board is broke. I can see someone thinking they'd get a better education there. But would they let a straight student in?