Integration or Separation?: A Strategy for Racial Equality

Integration or Separation?: A Strategy for Racial Equality

Integration or Separation?: A Strategy for Racial Equality

Integration or Separation?: A Strategy for Racial Equality

Synopsis

Roy L. Brooks, a distinguished professor of law and a writer on matters of race and civil rights, says with frank clarity what few will admit - integration hasn't worked and possibly never will. Equally, he casts doubt on the solution that many African Americans and mainstream whites have advocated: total separation of the races. This book presents Brooks's strategy for a middle way between the increasingly unworkable extremes of integration and separation.

Excerpt

Two persons--one white, the other black--are playing a game of poker. The game has been in progress for some 300 years. One player--the white one--has been cheating during much of this time, but now announces: "from this day forward, there will be a new game with new players and no more cheating." Hopeful but suspicious, the black player responds, "that's great. I've been waiting to hear you say that for 300 years. Let me ask you, what are you going to do with all those poker chips that you have stacked up on your side of the table all these years?" "Well," said the white player, somewhat bewildered by the question, "they are going to stay right here, of course." "That's unfair!" snaps the black player. "The new white player will benefit from your past cheating. Where's the equality in that?" "But you can't realistically expect me to redistribute the poker chips along racial lines when we are trying to move away from considerations of race and when the future offers no guarantees to anyone," insists the white player. "And surely," he continues, "redistributing the poker chips would punish individuals for something they did not do. Punish me, not the innocents!" Emotionally exhausted, the black player answers, "but the innocents will reap a racial windfall."

What to do about the American race problem? There is so much right and so much wrong on both sides of this conundrum. Perhaps there is no definitive solution to this, our longest running social and moral dilemma. Perhaps it is time to face such a possibility. As unthinkable as it is, that is the fundamental question raised in this book.

Part I argues that racial integration has failed to work for millions of African Americans, and that well-intended integrationists have got to awaken from their half-century's self-induced hypnotic trance and recognize that they are holding on to a tarnished trophy. Part II maintains that total racial separation, which had been tried in the past both at home and abroad and to which many middle-class African Ameri-

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