When the Civil War came to an end, African Americans finally believed that they would be able to have a place in society. They believed that the end of slavery who lead to the beginning of their civil rights. The 13th, 14th, and 15th Reconstruction Amendments were put into place to abolish slavery and to allow everyone the same rights no matter what their racial background may be. For a period of time, Blacks were slowly able to participate in the same opportunities as whites until the Jim Crow Laws were put into affect in 1876. The Jim Crow Laws initiated segregation in public places. Those who were being denied the same rights as White people were outraged but the Supreme Court found no fault in the issue. The courts believed that segregation was justified and was not discrimination in the Plessy v. Ferguson case.
Once the court decision in the Plessy v. Ferguson case was made, the African American communities in the South began campaigning for universal public education. It was a persistent and tedious battle, however, the fight would not be over until segregation was put to an end. Finally, the Brown v. Board of Education case sparked a change in segregated education. Chief Justice Earl Warren made the court decision and believed “Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law, for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the Negro group...Any language in contrary to this finding is rejected. We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”. The decision of the Plessy v. Ferguson case was overturned and segregation was declared unconstitutional. The states were ordered to put an end to segregation “with all deliberate speed”. There was no enforcement behind this order and desegregation did not happen immediately. It took several years for schools to finally allow integration in their classrooms.
Fast forward to today, people want to believe that we have overcome racism and have moved onto racial equity. We have made many strives and improvements since the Brown v. Board case, however, we are facing old and new issues of racism in today's society. The author of "Between Barack and a Hard Place", Tim Wise, would attest that society has overcome "Racism 1.0" (the traditional biased racism) but we have now upgraded to "Racism 2.0". Wise essentially means that we are becoming subjective to people of a certain race based upon their superiority. Our society has started to accept people from other races only if they fit a certain mold. Barack Obama’s election has shown that people are accepting of him because he is an exception to his race’s norm. The problem is that not everyone is able to express their ideas and opinions idea in the way Obama is able to communicate them. If a person from a different race does not dress in a certain way or come from an elite academic setting then our perceptions of their being and opinions are inadequate. We do not fully accept an individual from a different race unless they do not fall under their stereotype. Wise believes that we have not reached a level of racial equity until people of color can be just as mediocre as white people.
In our attempts to eliminate racism in our culture, we have now made racism more "sophisticated" by basing it off of one's social status. This is extremely evident in the current school systems. Brown v. Board worked to eliminate racial segregation in public schooling but now it has evolved into an economic segregation. Bob Herbert explains that "Schools are no longer legally segregated, but because of residential patterns, housing discrimination, economic disparities and long-held custom, they most emphatically are in reality" (Herbert). Students that come from lower class families are being placed in lower poverty schools. A majority of the students that come from these families are from another race. People believe that by separating the schools based on family income is beneficial to their learning. However, this is creating the exact opposite effect and is very similar to the student's in the 1940s before the Brown v. Board case. We are depriving these students of the education that they would receive at a higher income school because we can not provide them with what they need for academic success. The students would benefit much more if they were attending a school with students from all different social classes, "the poorer students benefit from the more affluent environment" (Herbert). We are focusing too much on the background of the student rather the academic element. The education of students is greatly suffering because we can not get passed the politics.