Race and Education: Social Science and Law
THE COLOR-BLINDNESS that was mandated by passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not last long, if it ever existed at all. Race- consciousness was already too deeply ingrained in the American psyche to be obliterated by statute. Although liberals tried gamely during the years after the Brown decision to eliminate questions about racial identity from application forms for school and work, the push for racial equality had come to rely on racial information as a way of gauging, first, the pace of desegregation and, later, the effect of various measures on black advancement. And, of course, it immediately became apparent that the aspirations loosed by the black social upheaval would not be satisfied by a guarantee that race would no longer matter. Since an important element of the strategy of the civil rights movement had been to mobilize blacks as blacks, and to make whites aware of (and responsible for) the historic injustices perpetrated against blacks, it was naïve to believe that race-consciousness would suddenly disappear.
Indeed, soon after the passage of the act, changes began to occur that altered racial relations and affected subsequent public policy. Though it was not immediately apparent, the nature of the civil rights movement changed. As an interracial movement led by blacks, its goal had been a