Redistributing Whiteness in Maryland

 

Is whiteness a commodity that can be allocated like money or social services? Maryland’s wealthiest suburban counties are embarked on race-based school policies that will not end well. Busing is back in a big way in suburban Maryland.

In the 1960s, my father worked on desegregation plans in Tennessee and Mississippi as a civil rights attorney with the USDOJ Civil Rights Division. He said there was an implicit understanding among those who worked on these plans about a psychological “critical mass” in white communities. That meant that when a formerly all-white school reached or exceeded a certain percentage (“critical mass”) of black students, “white flight” would ensue and the schools would rapidly re-segregate. As a matter of law, these plans had to be implemented no matter what because the segregation was de jure and there was no way to simultaneously mandate entire communities to exchange residences to achieve residential integration so the schools were always a principal focus. So “white flight” was widespread.

He also said that when the dust settled and the politics had worked their way, it was invariably only the poorer southern whites who got bused. The children of doctors and lawyers prepping for admission to Duke or Vanderbilt were never bused. The benefit to minority children from mingling with the least advantaged whites was always likely rather limited even if there was a big benefit from removing the stigma of forced segregation.

This pattern repeated in Boston in which it was judicially decided that black students had suffered academically and socially by not going to school with Irish kids in South Boston, a proposition that is difficult to defend if one has spent enough time (i.e., more than 30 minutes) in Southie to sample its intellectual ambiance. The ferocity of opposition among white parents in Boston equaled that in any Southern city.

In 2020, de jure segregation is long gone. Existing disparities in income and academics are far more likely to be the result of the Great Society and destructive ideologies than of the legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. To adopt a quasi-punitive posture toward white communities as if latent racism is the real cause is factually and morally wrong as well as counterproductive.

The current situation in the Maryland suburbs is also different in that there are no docks, factories or mines in the affected communities. The white population is almost uniformly white-collar and with incomes largely above the national average. There is no recognizable sacrificial white working-class element to use for busing fodder.

In Howard County, south of Baltimore, the plan is to select and bus entire neighborhoods to other elementary and middle schools to increase “diversity.” The neighborhood-swapping idea is designed to undercut the complaint that busing severs ties between communities and the local public schools. In Montgomery County, one of the wealthy suburban counties around Washington, DC, upcounty families are in an uproar as a plan to funnel white students from Clarksburg to Seneca Valley is being imposed over loud opposition.

The other longer-range tactic apparently underway in Montgomery County is to build mega-high schools to reduce the number of high schools and to draw upon larger geographic areas to make “diversity” easier to achieve.

The enraging truth about “diversity”-fostering white liberals in power is that they do not really believe much less practice the anti-bourgeois, anti-private, anti-organic-community doctrines they publicly espouse and impose. Here is the truth:

  1. Advantage derives not from skin color but from a family environment that fosters constructive behaviors and values. The achievement levels of so many Asian-American kids demonstrate that “whiteness” is not the key ingredient of academic and career success.
  2. School communities in which functional families of higher educational attainment predominate will invariably lift expectations, skills, and habits broadly within the school community and the curriculum—if they are not prevented from promoting such values and expectations.
  3. School communities in which the norm is broken families, low income, low expectations, and no broad familiarity with college preparation will establish a cognitive and behavioral environment that will not elevate students but likely limit their opportunities for formation.
  4. The resource is healthy families with the effect of larger social promotion of positive behaviors, not “whiteness.” The real resource must be preserved and fostered and must be the controlling ethos if its benefits are to be shared.

Housing policies that concentrate the disadvantaged necessarily result in dysfunctional local schools.  The solution is to learn the eternal lessons of Pruitt-Igoe and never, never build large residential entities to concentrate and segregate downscale, program-dependent minorities.  Once you do that, classroom proximity with upscale white kids will not undo the deformational influences of these dysfunctional communities built by government fiat.

White kids bused to become a minority population in a demonstrably inferior and more violent school far away from their home neighborhoods is a kind of collective sacrificial offering to social justice, the fate of those individuals and their families is not cognizable in paleo-liberal thinking.  Oddly enough, whiteness carries the culpability for slavery but not for the disastrous injuries of the Great Society (crafted entirely by white policy gurus and politicians). Whiteness is simultaneously the mystical source of innate knowledge and behaviors that confer power and an intrinsic evil that must be constrained and punished.

To complete the harmful effect of cumulative bad policy and stupid ideology, the schools will not be permitted to rigorously insist on “white” norms of behavior and performance (presumptively racist and patriarchal), the same norms that county school officials almost certainly enforce in their own families. As a result of this ideological perversion, the “critical mass” required for adverse impact will be even smaller and the hope of any kind of curative environment for the most environmentally disadvantaged minority kids crushed out and some white kids’ education and well-being sacrificed for naught.

But none of that will prevent some liberal politicians and bureaucrats from feeling good about themselves and, heck, how can you put a price tag on that?

There are 40 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos: To complete the harmful effect of cumulative bad policy and stupid ideology, the schools will not be permitted to rigorously insist on “white” norms of behavior and performance (presumptively racist and patriarchal), the same norms that county school officials almost certainly enforce in their own families.

    Good grief. I expect this decision means that we can’t tell boys to wear their pants over their butt cracks; that we can’t tell kids not to curse; that we can’t expect kids to be respectful to authorities, like their teachers; that we can’t expect kids to arrive on time at school. I could go on, since there is an endless list of “white norms” that we could inflict on kids. It’s too bad that the adults in the room don’t realize that is precisely what those kids need.

    • #1
  2. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: To complete the harmful effect of cumulative bad policy and stupid ideology, the schools will not be permitted to rigorously insist on “white” norms of behavior and performance (presumptively racist and patriarchal), the same norms that county school officials almost certainly enforce in their own families.

    Good grief. I expect this decision means that we can’t tell boys to wear their pants over their butt cracks; that we can’t tell kids not to curse; that we can’t expect kids to be respectful to authorities, like their teachers; that we can’t expect kids to arrive on time at school. I could go on, since there is an endless list of “white norms” that we could inflict on kids. It’s too bad that the adults in the room don’t realize that is precisely what those kids need.

    It is even worse than that.  Montgomery County appears to be moving in the direction of the infamous Minneapolis-St Paul policy in which sanctions have to be equally distributed by race which means that if your racial group is acting out more than others, you can’t be sanctioned until somebody in the other demographic does something just as bad otherwise the school administration is presumptively racist.

    • #2
  3. Unsk Member
    Unsk
    @Unsk

    Old Bathos,  I believe you are tangentially referring to the “Coleman Report” of 1966 which  alleged that once a minority (black?) population in  a school reached 40% all benefits from integration with the  greater white population and it’s dreaded ‘white norms’ ceased to exist.  This report was used over and over again to justify the school busing rage of the late 1960’s, but few took to heart the implicit warning in it that schools with a dominant black culture no longer benefited from integration.  School busing often then caused “white flight” which too often caused integrated schools quickly to become  largely segregated ones. 

    Also in a similar fashion, in the assault on the dreaded  “white norms”,  suburbia is under attack  by the City Planning all knowing Government do-gooders who think introducing high density low income government assisted housing into suburban single family neighbors all across America is the next big and great thing.  See the posts “Density Ideology will Destry America” by Edward Ring at American Greatness and “California’s Inept Central Planners” by Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox at NewGeography.com. 

    • #3
  4. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    My father was referring to a more subjective standard.  For most previously segregated communities, 40% was way too high as a breakpoint.  It could be as low as 10% depending on the history of race relations in that community and what people perceived as the trend.  There is also the issue of disparate treatment.  If a school is reluctant to discipline minority students or if the curriculum starts to skew away from AP or college prep content, the shift can begin at a lower percentage.

    Coleman’s observations were pretty obvious and commonsensical and thus under constant attack and largely dismissed out of hand by the geniuses who control education departments in our universities.

    • #4
  5. Limestone Cowboy Coolidge
    Limestone Cowboy
    @LimestoneCowboy

    I wonder whether some parents (both black and white) will game the system to ensure that their child remains in their preferred school? Industrial scale Rachel Dolezal-izing?

    I’m not even sure how the state can even classify students by race.. does Sherwin-Williams make a race color chip?

    And surely if boys merely by self-affirmation can get into and win in girls athletics, why can’t a black student simply self-identify as white, all appearances to the contrary? Surely race is, by far, less binary than sex?

    Might be some interesting court challenges to this daft and failed policy.

    • #5
  6. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Limestone Cowboy (View Comment):

    I wonder whether some parents (both black and white) will game the system to ensure that their child remains in their preferred school? Industrial scale Rachel Dolezal-izing?

    I’m not even sure how the state can even classify students by race.. does Sherwin-Williams make a race color chip?

    And surely if boys merely by self-affirmation can get into and win in girls athletics, why can’t a black student simply self-identify as white, all appearances to the contrary? Surely race is, by far, less binary than sex?

    Might be some interesting court challenges to this daft and failed policy.

    They are doing it with census data mostly. Then computing the race count once the kids are assigned and enrolled.

    There is a lot of pressure about school assignments in Montgomery County, MD (AKA “MoCo”).  Housing prices, college admissions, community prestige are all on the line in a generally high income, high education achievement population.

    There was an incident a few years ago in which it was revealed that a couple of dozen unrelated Asian kids were using the same home address to be able to attend Wooton High School in Rockville (always one of the top academic-performing schools).  The concerted effort by some determined folk to get around their district assignments is striking.

    There was a fun freedom-of-the-press issue involving a (true) report almost suppressed in the school newspaper that the principal at Quince Orchard High School was going around asking a number of low wattage and ESL students not to take the SATs on the date used to compute school averages but to do a later date so as not to bring down the Quince Orchard average.

    Pressure.

    • #6
  7. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    The simple solution is a boarding school society. Where all kids are thrown into boarding schools the populations of which are created by the distribution of teenagers from across the country, and where none of the students families reside within 200 miles of the school. This way you can balance school populations by geography, race, religion, really any conceivable factor. By making them boarding schools you also level the “home environment” issue and remove other sociological disparities. 

    Kids will love it. They can pretend it’s Hogwarts. And like Hogwarts’ students they can be easily formed into paramilitary units. 

     

    • #7
  8. Richard O'Shea Coolidge
    Richard O'Shea
    @RichardOShea

    I live in Howard County and it is contentious. Our next school board election will garner more attention than the statewide or presidential election.

    • #8
  9. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    The simple solution is a boarding school society. Where all kids are thrown into boarding schools the populations of which are created by the distribution of teenagers from across the country, and where none of the students families reside within 200 miles of the school. This way you can balance school populations by geography, race, religion, really any conceivable factor. By making them boarding schools you also level the “home environment” issue and remove other sociological disparities.

    Kids will love it. They can pretend it’s Hogwarts. And like Hogwarts’ students they can be easily formed into paramilitary units.

     

    Until a parent group wants to know why their kid was put in low-scoring House Hufflepuff instead of Gryffindor and strings start getting pulled, kids reassigned and the Ministry of Magic has to open a magnet school….

    • #9
  10. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Old Bathos: That meant that when a formerly all-white school reached or exceeded a certain percentage (“critical mass’) of black students, ‘white flight’ would ensue and the schools would rapidly re-segregate.

    If you de-link a home’s location from the school zone it’s in, you might not have this problem.  One solution would be school choice . . .

    • #10
  11. CarolJoy, Above Top Secret Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret
    @CarolJoy

    Twice in the last week, I have heard commentators talk about how busing was an idea whose time had come and gone, and that most Americans were not happy about  the process even when  it occurred.

    Circa 2005, I read in one San Francisco paper that the last two schools involved in busing were terminating the program. I was astonished to read the article and  find out that the kids being bused were on the bus some 1 hour 15 minutes each way! How much damage was done to their health traveling on SF area jammed highways with all the smog? How awful that kids who should be home playing in sports or just hanging with their friends were instead cooped up on buses for three hours a day, 5 days a week, 9 months a year.

    • #11
  12. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Those of us across the river in Virginia look at the People’s Republic of Montgomery County and see our future.

    • #12
  13. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge
    DonG (skeptic)
    @DonG

    Old Bathos: School communities in which the norm is broken families, low income, low expectations and no broad familiarity with college preparation will establish a cognitive and behavioral environment that will not elevate students but likely limit their opportunities for formation.

    I think “college prep” started about 3rd grade for schools my kids went to.  I have heard of college prep pre-schools. 

    • #13
  14. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):
    most Americans were not happy about the process even especially when in it occurred.

    FTFY.

     

    • #14
  15. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Richard O'Shea (View Comment):

    I live in Howard County and it is contentious. Our next school board election will garner more attention than the statewide or presidential election.

    I would love to know the backstory on the infamous school board vote. The diversity busing plan lost by one vote, they went in a back room and when they came back, a tearful woman changed her vote and the plan was approved. 

    • #15
  16. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    We are looking at Middle schools and I was noticing every magnet program is located in the most contentious neighborhoods. If you are familiar with O-Town, we have an IB program located on Semoran near the 408 expressway and a math and science one near the county jail.

    They are willing to bus.

    Demographics are now equal among all OC middle schools: 46/19/25 (hispanic/black/white)

    • #16
  17. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Stina (View Comment):

    We are looking at Middle schools and I was noticing every magnet program is located in the most contentious neighborhoods. If you are familiar with O-Town, we have an IB program located on Semoran near the 408 expressway and a math and science one near the county jail.

    They are willing to bus.

    Demographics are now equal among all OC middle schools: 46/19/25 (hispanic/black/white)

    If it were a good school in a good neighborhood there would be no need for the magnet designation.
    For the ultimate ‘magnet school’ saga,  Google Judge Russell Clark in Kansas City.

    • #17
  18. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    CarolJoy, Above Top Secret (View Comment):
    I was astonished to read the article and find out that the kids being bused were on the bus some 1 hour 15 minutes each way!

    Child abuse. I put it right up there with female genital mutilation.

    • #18
  19. Stina Member
    Stina
    @CM

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Stina (View Comment):

    We are looking at Middle schools and I was noticing every magnet program is located in the most contentious neighborhoods. If you are familiar with O-Town, we have an IB program located on Semoran near the 408 expressway and a math and science one near the county jail.

    They are willing to bus.

    Demographics are now equal among all OC middle schools: 46/19/25 (hispanic/black/white)

    If it were a good school in a good neighborhood there would be no need for the magnet designation.
    For the ultimate ‘magnet school’ saga, Google Judge Russell Clark in Kansas City.

    My home county had a magnet at every public school, but none of the schools were really in bad neighborhoods. The one that might be seen that way really wasn’t all that bad (Donny Culpepper’s alma mater), sporting IB program, ROTC, and Latin.

    • #19
  20. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator
    @Instugator

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    They are doing it with census data mostly. Then computing the race count once the kids are assigned and enrolled.

    Which is why I select “other” in the appropriate census block and write in “American”.

    • #20
  21. Ray Kujawa Coolidge
    Ray Kujawa
    @RayKujawa

    Old Bathos: White kids bused to become a minority population in a demonstrably inferior and more violent school far away from their home neighborhoods is a kind of collective sacrificial offering to social justice, the fate of those individuals and their families is not cognizable in paleo-liberal thinking.

    I was that minority, but it was our choice (no busing involved) in preference to an even worse choice.


    Old Bathos
    : Advantage derives not from skin color but from a family environment that fosters constructive behaviors and values.

    I am reminded of this truth by virtue of the one of my siblings who in our dysfunctional and half broken family who  escaped poverty (me), and my brother who didn’t.

     

    • #21
  22. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Old Bathos: Is whiteness a commodity that can be allocated like money or social services? Maryland’s wealthiest suburban counties are embarked on race-based school policies that will not end well. Busing is back in a big way in suburban Maryland.

    Man but it feels like the last decade has seen the recycling of every stupid bat-guano-crazy liberal race and power theory bad idea to have been resoundingly buried a generation ago.  It’s zombie cultural marxism, and like all zombies it’s all the worse than it was before because it’s both revenant and infectious.

    • #22
  23. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Old Bathos:

    To complete the harmful effect of cumulative bad policy and stupid ideology, the schools will not be permitted to rigorously insist on “white” norms of behavior and performance (presumptively racist and patriarchal), the same norms that county school officials almost certainly enforce in their own families. As a result of this ideological perversion, the “critical mass” required for adverse impact will be even smaller and the hope of any kind of curative environment for the most environmentally disadvantaged minority kids crushed out and some white kids’ education and well-being sacrificed for naught.

    But none of that will prevent some liberal politicians and bureaucrats from feeling good about themselves and, heck, how can you put a price tag on that?

    OldB,

    You have hit upon a gold mine of stupidity. You are very right that busing is one of the early examples of the sheer stupidity of identity politics. Instead of concentrating on how to improve the education of poor people of any color, changing the racial mix became the priority. Hopelessly elaborate schemes that degraded all actual educational standards, over time only produced the illusion of progress through diversity. Instead of educators, we had turned our schools over to interior decorators. Yes, some more black over here and a little yellow here and a dash of red and plenty of brown. Now it looks so good that we can all pat ourselves on the back on how we’ve made such wonderful progress.

    Thus the greatest educational system in the world was turned into an idiots bureaucracy.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #23
  24. drlorentz Member
    drlorentz
    @drlorentz

    Old Bathos: This pattern repeated in Boston in which it was judicially decided that black students had suffered academically and socially by not going to school with Irish kids in South Boston, a proposition that is difficult to defend if one has spent enough time (i.e., more than 30 minutes) in Southie to sample its intellectual ambiance.

    This sneering, condescending passage is emblematic of the supercilious elitism that has alienated so many in this country. As it happens, I’ve spent considerably more than 30 minutes in Southie, even as recently as earlier this month but also on many other occasions. I can assure the author, and everyone else on this thread, that the intellectual ambiance in Southie is just dandy. I know folks who grew up there during the Boston bussing era. They’re not knuckle-dragging, lower primates.

    In the run-up to the 2016 election, there was a giant Trump banner on a house near the place I was staying. If the Republican Party has any interest whatsoever in courting the votes of the residents of South Boston, it would be a good idea to cut out the snobbery and treat the voters like full members of the polity. Frankly, this is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s deplorables comment. And we all remember how that worked out for her.

    • #24
  25. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    drlorentz (View Comment):
    If the Republican Party has any interest whatsoever in courting the votes of the residents of South Boston, it would be a good idea to cut out the snobbery and treat the voters like full members of the polity.

    It’s terribly infra dig to court votes in a place like that. One’s bow tie might get out of kilter.

    • #25
  26. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Richard O'Shea (View Comment):

    I live in Howard County and it is contentious. Our next school board election will garner more attention than the statewide or presidential election.

    You need to write a post on this if you have time. I live in NoVA and don’t understand all that went on. I do remember the story about the one female board member browbeaten into changing her vote. So we have the patriarchy being mean to women AND the killing of the planet with all these buses spewing carbon. Hecht my proposal is high school students should not be able to drive to school at all. Everyone walks.

    • #26
  27. Kozak Member
    Kozak
    @Kozak

    I anticipate a booming market for private academies in Montgomery and surrounding counties.

    • #27
  28. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    colleenb (View Comment):
    So we have the patriarchy being mean to women AND the killing of the planet with all these buses spewing carbon. Hecht my proposal is high school students should not be able to drive to school at all. Everyone walks.

    I’ll vote for that.  

    • #28
  29. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    drlorentz (View Comment):

    Old Bathos: This pattern repeated in Boston in which it was judicially decided that black students had suffered academically and socially by not going to school with Irish kids in South Boston, a proposition that is difficult to defend if one has spent enough time (i.e., more than 30 minutes) in Southie to sample its intellectual ambiance.

    This sneering, condescending passage is emblematic of the supercilious elitism that has alienated so many in this country. As it happens, I’ve spent considerably more than 30 minutes in Southie, even as recently as earlier this month but also on many other occasions. I can assure the author, and everyone else on this thread, that the intellectual ambiance in Southie is just dandy. I know folks who grew up there during the Boston bussing era. They’re not knuckle-dragging, lower primates.

    In the run-up to the 2016 election, there was a giant Trump banner on a house near the place I was staying. If the Republican Party has any interest whatsoever in courting the votes of the residents of South Boston, it would be a good idea to cut out the snobbery and treat the voters like full members of the polity. Frankly, this is reminiscent of Hillary Clinton’s deplorables comment. And we all remember how that worked out for her.

    Deep breath, friend.  I have many friends from Boston and the tone is for their benefit. They get the joke. I have pointed out to them that despite the size and myriad of possibilities in this great country, they are the fourth generation still living on the same bus route that serves the docks where their ancestors arrived from Cork.  It is always a lively conversation starter.

    But the underlying demographic truth is that busing in that era was ALWAYS a matter of using whites on the lower socioeconomic rungs to achieve numeric racial integration and NEVER whites in upscale neighborhoods.  Louisa Day Hicks was not speaking for the residents of Beacon Hill.

    As for being potential Trump voters, the Boston Irish have a history of being really, really slow learners.  Re-electing Ted Kennedy who worked (and lived) in opposition to every cultural value of that community?  And the faux-Irish blowhard Kerry?  Frank? Studds? I always got a kick out of Billy Bulger but that generation of pols presided over moral rot in their politics entirely supported by the sheer inertia of the Boston Irish voter.  Maybe they will finally vote for their self-interest and throw off a party which deserted them a long time ago but I have my doubts.  And that is an empirical observation, not condescension.

    Oh, and the original source of the crack about the dubious benefits of busing to Southie came from my father, an expert on busing, an expert sidewalk sociologist and an Irish Catholic who grew up in New England. We are entitled to make fun of our own.  Get over it.

    • #29
  30. Valiuth Inactive
    Valiuth
    @Valiuth

    Old Bathos (View Comment):

    Valiuth (View Comment):

    The simple solution is a boarding school society. Where all kids are thrown into boarding schools the populations of which are created by the distribution of teenagers from across the country, and where none of the students families reside within 200 miles of the school. This way you can balance school populations by geography, race, religion, really any conceivable factor. By making them boarding schools you also level the “home environment” issue and remove other sociological disparities.

    Kids will love it. They can pretend it’s Hogwarts. And like Hogwarts’ students they can be easily formed into paramilitary units.

     

    Until a parent group wants to know why their kid was put in low-scoring House Hufflepuff instead of Gryffindor and strings start getting pulled, kids reassigned and the Ministry of Magic has to open a magnet school….

    The Sorting Hat algorithm that will be employed will be to complicated and obtuse to be questioned by simple plebeians. Plus the only people thrown in to Hufflepuff are to weak and stupid to question their lot. 

    • #30

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.