Re-segregation: A Step in the Wrong Direction
It is impossible not to notice the racial tensions that are growing within the United States as many Black Americas are enduring hardships and navigating their pent-up anger from the accumulation of racial injustices. Black Americans are justified in being fed up with how this country has handled race relations; however, to gain any substantial progress it is essential for the current generation to act wisely and deliberately as did the Civil Rights leaders of the past. It is imperative that as Americans we understand that hate will not produce love, and that re-segregation will not get rid of inequalities. Recently I read an article on re-segregation where the basis of the article was simply stating that the author was for re-segregation because it would help specific racial communities flourish if that specific racial group were to simply ban together and exclude other racial groups. I disagree with this perspective for various reasons:
1). If people were to re-segregate, than the lines of communication and understanding would close.
It is sociologically proven that people naturally form prejudices, which are reinforced by a person’s social environment such as school, family, neighborhood, media etc. As a result of individual being shaped by society and close individuals around them, prejudices are naturally taught to them. This can be seen through certain images shown in the media such as the “dangerous Black male thug”, or racist jokes or memes told between friends. Such prejudices have real consequences as we have seen in current news headlines about racial profiling. Since people naturally form prejudices, the only way a prejudice can be refuted is by open dialogue and communication. It is known that in this society many fear Black men and women. If Blacks re-segregate, how will people realize that not all Black men and women are loud, angry, criminals looking for a fight? It is up to Blacks and all people of color to desegregate to therefore show that they are kind, intelligent, hardworking and trustworthy just like other racial groups that have those character traits automatically assigned to them. The only reason why the American Society has come so far in regards to racism is because institutionalized segregation was taken down for the most part. During the times where segregation was the norm, black people had no voice. If Blacks re-segregate, than we risk losing our voice. People learn through communication and new interactions and therefore if we de-segregate as much as possible we can reeducate those who accept the lies fed to them from the media and other social influences.
2). Re-segregation rejects everything that many during the 20th century Civil Rights Era fought for.
People gave their lives to eradicate segregation because they personally knew the negative effects it had on communities of color. If people segregate again, it will make it easier for institutionalized racism to perpetuate itself. Since power in this country is still with the White American majority, the images and ideas that are released into society are still controlled by those in power. This means that people of color will continue to not have equal representation or equal access to resources as the white majority does. Re-segregating would only make it easier for those in power to keep people of color down. The phrase “divide and conquer” comes to mind. If those in power are successful in dividing people of color against each other, than there will be no substantive progress. The Civil Rights Era as well as during the times of slavery had people from many racial backgrounds fight for equality. People of color as well as white Americans gave up their lives for racial equality. During those times of everyone (people of color and whites) banning together against institutionalized racism is when the Civil Rights movements were most productive.
3). Practice of “racial love” only helps to perpetuate racism.
I read an article explaining how an Asian man only would conduct business with other Asians, which therefore meant that he was practicing “Asian love”. I strongly disagree with this reasoning. Let’s put things into perspective. If a white store owner said “I only conduct business with white business owners”, he would obviously be looked at as a racist, all people of color need to be careful in not doing the same. Doing business with someone should not be contingent or race in general. People should do business with whomever meets the professional qualifications for the job. Hiring anyone or excluding anyone on the basis of race is discrimination.
By being inclusive, people naturally become exclusive. The solution is not to become more inclusive, however less inclusive to give everyone with the talent a chance to be successful. If we take the logic of “Black love, Mexican love, Asian love etc.” and to “engage business only with our own race” than can we really blame whites for doing so all throughout American History. People have already applied the concept of doing business only with “their own”, which is why there is such inequality in the United States today.
4). Desegregation has never fully been accomplished, which is why to some it may seem that desegregation has not worked.
Contrary to popular belief, segregation still exist in the United States, and is still very evident in a variety of social settings. Like I stated before, I attend Sacramento State, which is arguably one of the most diverse campuses in the United States. With this said, I still observe segregation every day. The segregation that I observe is not forced, however chosen by the people who knowingly or unknowingly engage in self-segregation. An example of what I am talking about is how although a campus may have diverse demographics, many tend to spend time with and engage in activities with members of the same race. In order for desegregation to truly be successful, the American society must first truly desegregate, and by doing so it would truly breed a greater understand and a collective push for equality.
Instead of re-segregating, communities need to unite, and not on the basis of race. The problem does not lie in being desegregated, however it lies in the fact that many have adopted the mindset of looking out only for “me and mine” rather than looking to see how they can help those around them and increase the standard of living for all. It is dangerous to believe that in the United States racial groups should simply stick together. The concept of re-segregation should not be adopted because it puts the solution on turning inwards and banning together. To adequately produce a greater understanding open communication with all racial groups is essential to produce lasting results that work for the good of everyone.
I believe that the authors of the articles I have read are actually trying to address a different problem that is within the Black community. Members of the black community should not pull each other down like crabs in a barrel, but rather up lift and support each other. An example of what I mean can be seen in numerous real world examples such as skin tone and hair texture.
Growing up, I have heard many men exclaim “I only date light-skinned Black girls”. This single phrase works to tear down some black members and elevate others within the Black community, and is therefore problematic because it illustrates a blatant rejection of Black qualities such as dark skin, while reaching towards physical White attributes such as light skin.
I read an interesting book by Beverly Tatum called “Why Are all of the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”. In her book she stated how spending time with members of your own race is beneficial, however it ultimately depends on the motives. If a person is exclusively spending time with their own race to simply reject all that is associated with another race, than it is counterproductive. However, if a person decides to spend some time with members of their own race to encourage each other regarding racial struggles, than it is beneficial.
Black Americans should share who they are with those who do not understand them, or with those who only know the Black stereotypes shown to them in the media . Doing so would debunk the fearful and negative stereotypes that people have about the black community and in result breed acceptance and understanding from all racial groups. To sum it up, open communication is key, and communication comes from de-segregation and seeking multiracial interactions.
As racial tensions increase in this country, it is important to not self-segregate, but to show the love of Jesus to everyone. To love your enemies and to forgive as we have been forgiven. There is evil in this world, however the Bible says: