Promote diversity in segregated areas

A study by USC Assistant Professor Ann Owens published on March 17 showed that white families live in more racially homogenous areas than other racial groups. According to the study, white families aim to send their children to predominantly white schools. Thus, white children are less exposed to children from minority groups, and low-income minority children are given limited educational opportunities.

It is important to recognize this issue of modern-day racial segregation as not only a race problem, but also as an economic one in terms of the  quality if education that children receive. It also affects people’s ability to empathize with different communities. USC plays a role here — in its mission of promoting racial and economic diversity in education, the University must work against these forces and promote interaction between students and the community in order to foster cultural understanding.

White children — as Owens points out — will lose out on exposure to minority races, potentially undermining their cultural sensitivity and knowledge about other cultures, and thus increasing the likelihood of future prejudicial attitudes. This segregation further entrenches a familiar cycle, wherein low-income minority children go to schools with less funding than those that wealthier white children attend, thus jeopardizing the quality of education they receive and subsequently their future opportunities.

Take the stark difference between the racial composition of two public school districts in Los Angeles County: Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. In Los Angeles, according to census statistics that Owens compiles, 73.7 percent of students are Latino, while in Beverly Hills, 74.7 percent of students are white. According to Owens, these dramatic differences are primarily due to white families who choose — whether consciously or not — to move to majority-white neighborhoods. This decision segregates schools not only racially but also economically, due to the role that property taxes play in school funding.

Neighborhoods with a concentration of wealthy, white families have higher property taxes, and thus a higher likelihood of schools with better funding and resources. On the other hand, low-income neighborhoods with minority children would see the reverse effect: Schools with less funding and thus an inequality of opportunity for children in these areas. This is a problem that can occur regardless of race — for instance, low-income and racially integrated neighborhoods with a lack of proper funding for schools do exist — but it is one that racial segregation certainly exacerbates.

This then ties in with the lack of exposure that white children have to children of other races. This lack of diversity, while seemingly intangible, is one with very real consequences. The roots of racial prejudice often lie in ignorance. By not acknowledging or being exposed to the experiences of the oppressed, or even seeing how minorities are oppressed at all, it is easy to assume that the status quo of racial discrimination is acceptable. The interactions between white children and children of other races are thus important in shaping their early attitudes toward cultures other than their own.

When neighborhoods are segregated in the way that Owens highlights, these interactions are limited, if not lost altogether, and characteristics such as cultural sensitivity are less present in the daily lives of white children.

Los Angeles is especially famous for being a melting pot of people of an endless range of different cultures, identities and backgrounds. But despite this narrative, the city is divided into pockets of communities centered on their ethnic identity. In fact, the area surrounding USC features much of Los Angeles’ famed cultural diversity, but the University must do more to promote interaction between USC students and faculty and the community around them in order to foster less homogenous, socioeconomically segregated communities.

A step toward solving both these issues — the racial and the economic — lies in dismantling the segregation that occurs when white families specifically choose majority-white schools for their children. By promoting racial diversity in both predominantly white as well as predominantly minority school districts, children can interact more frequently with peers of other races, and those who are currently at the mercy of funding imbalances between schools can receive higher quality education.

2 replies
  1. JasonHanwel
    JasonHanwel says:

    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.

    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?

    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?

    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?

  2. Tyler
    Tyler says:

    It was an interesting read. If prior studies showed that the segregation of towns and cities, by none other than free market forces, is done by all races, it would have been accurate. For instance, prior to the migration of Southern Blacks to the North. Northern Blacks and Whites lived in harmony. Both groups had the same culture and the same values. When the migration of Southern Blacks, who adopted the Southern White culture (which many describe as “having a chip on your shoulder” and which we have seen evolve into what we know as Rap Culture or Inner City Culture), came to the North. Even Northern Blacks along with their Northern White counterparts distanced themselves from these new comers. In fact it wasn’t until Southern Blacks came to the North that many Northern Schools forced segregation. One in Chicago had it till 1961. Those moves by all parties involved was not driven by race because when Southern Whites came to the North they were said to espouse a culture that drank on Sunday’s, lazy and generally abhorrent to be around (which is what racists claim of blacks today). When Southern Whites moved North the same thing occurred, a form of segregation which is why we see poverty stricken Southern White communities (though less dense than their inner city counterparts) having the same issues with drugs and violence. So it is not a question of Blacks not living with whites, it is not segregation based on ethnicity or race. But rather on the basis of culture. Which if one culture has different values than another, than do not expect those people to welcome integration of different cultures. If that type of culture, though encompassing a minority of the population results in half the murders in the county, then do not expect tolerance. The normalization of this culture is the scary thing and pushing for such a desegregation of culture, either by private or public means, is erroneous. This type of agenda has been pushed before and we have seen drastic challenges. If the author was serious about solving the disparity in education it would recommend the introduction and cut of regulation on Charter and Public Schools. Opening up the private market and allowing the free market to intervene would increase competition, make pay competitive and in the end, as it did in NYC, increase the quality of education for lower income areas (which in NYC were predominantly minority in composition) where it is badly needed.

    *EDIT: Source for all of the above comes from “Black Rednecks and White Liberals” – Thomas Sowell, an African-American Economist

Comments are closed.