The usual pomp and celebrations of commencement ceremonies in schools around our nation this month of May pours from the media with news and TV shows featuring commentaries about the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.
The landmark U.S. Supreme Court Decision tore down the Jim Crow doctrine of “separate but equal.” Implementing the law resulted in chaos and civil unrest.
Integration in the South was enforced at the end of a bayonet amid a sea of angry white faces. In the North, integration was stubbornly resisted by tumultuous protests. By provisions of law, segregation of the races in schools ended 60 years ago, but we all know what is happening in real life in America. It was not ended when the 1964 Civil Rights Act was passed. It was not ended in 1969 when first lady Michelle Obama started kindergarten. In fact, when she was growing up, Chicago was completely segregated. For sure, overt racism in America has ended. But in a commencement speech at a black college in Baltimore, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the greatest threats are “more subtle” and they “cut deeper.” He said studies show that African-American men receive sentences that are almost 20 percent longer than those imposed on white males convicted of similar crimes. Holder said new restrictions on voting, “disproportionally disenfranchise African-Americans, Hispanics, other communities of color and vulnerable populations such as the elderly.”
Guy M. Guerrero