A recent decision handed down by a federal court judge has thrust the issue of school segregation back into the national spotlight. Federal judge Madeline Haikala has granted the Gardendale community permission to secede from the larger Jefferson County school district in Alabama.
While the judge has expressed grave concerns that her own decision may set back or even fully reverse progress that’s been made in the school district’s 60 years of integration efforts, she ultimately sided with the Gardendale community. In granting permission to secede, Haikala stated that school control should ultimately be kept as local as possible. She also voiced concern that, should the Gardendale schools not be allowed to secede, that black students and parents may be scapegoated and become the target of a angry parents’ wrath.
However, some observers are reading in between the judge’s lines. They say that the real reason that the Gardendale schools are being allowed to secede is actually the black parents themselves within the Gardendale community. The newly formed schools will be majority white but will still have as much as 20 percent of their student body comprised of blacks. What’s being left unspoken, say observers, is that these aren’t representative blacks. The 20 percent of black students in Gardendale represent the black elite, the upper middle class blacks of the Birmingham Metro area, many of whom are actually better off than their white peers.
This is a common pattern throughout the country and raises more questions. Do blacks in the United States have a right to discriminate against other blacks explicitly on racial grounds?