On What Is Learned In Segregated Schools

Whatever else we learn in segregated schools, we also learn that people are different, and that it is natural to be in separate communities and civic institutions. That some people belong together and others should be kept apart.

It’s a small step from there to believe that some people are better than others, or that others are our rivals.

Many schools are still highly segregated, though not by law, and a lot of us probably take those steps, whether we know it or not.

Segregated schools and segregated upbringings make us ignorant about other people’s perspectives and experiences. They make it easier for us to believe stereotypes. They make it harder to empathize with others.

This all makes it easier for racism and other hateful ideologies to thrive and to seep into our minds, even if it is in subtle ways that we may never notice.

Desegregated schools would not automatically solve all these problems, and sometimes segregation can help vulnerable people protect themselves or their cultures from others who aren’t tolerant of them.

But socializing “different types” of people together in equal environments would give people’s basic human decency a better chance to win out over ignorance. And wouldn’t that be nice?


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