There’s no better time than the last day of Black History Month—the month formerly known as February, as the sorely missed Sam Francis once quipped—to continue looking at the failure of integration, only this time with an exploration of what worried whites as the Civil Rights Revolution began; and what even Leftists and Blacks have said about integration subsequently. The conclusion: one way or another, America must return to some form of Separate But Equal. What alternative is there?
In Integration Has Failed. Now What?, I cited two skeptical essays, one by Hannah Arendt and one by Norman Podhoretz. Arendt wrote Reflections on Little Rock [Dissent, Winter 1959 (PDF)] for Commentary, but the magazine rejected the piece because Arendt argued that using the schools to integrate society was imprudent and undermined the rights of parents. More famously, Podhoretz unbosomed My Negro Problem and Ours, his autobiographical lament about how blacks beat him, robbed him, and “in general hated, terrorized, and humiliated” him on the way home from school [February 1963 (PDF)]. He too implied that blacks and whites just can’t “get along.” Maybe his article was accepted because of its incongruous melioristic conclusion (see below).
The signers of the Southern Manifesto, developed by Southern federal legislators to oppose Brown, wrote that its “unwarranted exercise of power by the Court, contrary to the Constitution, is creating chaos and confusion in the States principally affected”—
It is destroying the amicable relations between the white and Negro races that have been created through 90 years of patient effort by the good people of both races. It has planted hatred and suspicion where there has been heretofore friendship and understanding.
Southern Nobel Laureate novelist William Faulkner thought likewise. “I was against compulsory segregation,” Faulkner wrote. “I am just as strongly against compulsory integration. Firstly of course from principle. Secondly because I don’t believe it will work” [Letter to a Northern Editor, Life, March 5, 1956].
Skeptic Faulkner urged caution:
I would say to the NAACP and all the organizations who would compel immediate and unconditional integration: “Go slow now. Stop now for a time, a moment. … You have done a good job, you have jolted your opponent off balance and he is now vulnerable.”
Yet forcing “compulsory integration” with sheer government power, which might invite resistance, wasn’t the only reason to worry. Other commentators candidly said blacks were unprepared to govern and fully participate in white society at large:
The central question that emerges is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically?
The sobering answer is Yes—the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the median cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.
There are respected Negro teachers, lawyers, doctors, writers. … But in general terms, where is the Negro to be found? Why, sir, he is still carrying the hod. He is still digging the ditch. He is down at the gin mill shooting craps. He is lying limp in the middle of the sidewalk, yelling he is equal. The hell he is equal.
[James Kilpatrick, Reagan’s Favorite Columnist Who Never Really Renounced Segregation, by Malcom Jones, Daily Beast, December 9, 2017]
In 1962, Kilpatrick had written that the “the Negro is fundamentally and perhaps unalterably inferior; he is also immoral, indolent, inept, incapable of learning, and uninterested in full racial equality. The segregationist South feels no guilt about keeping the Negro in his proper place—that is to say, in separate schools” [Petulant Plea, Time, October 26, 1962].
Both men repented—“grew,” as Leftists say, or cucked, as we say. See here and here. But what Faulkner called “compulsory integration” did indeed prove disastrous, and not just in the South. Boston’s Louise Day Hicks didn’t lead hooded Klansmen in Beantown’s mad protests against forced busing. Her furious foot soldiers were Irish and Italian Catholics.
Of course, low average intellect and high crime rates among blacks weren’t the only fears that whites expressed. Another was miscegenation.
“We face the gravest crisis,” Virginia Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr. said of forced integration, “since the War Between the States.” Byrd was blunt. If the South didn’t answer the federal usurpation of states’ rights with Massive Resistance, small children would be “assembled in little huts before the bus comes, and the bus will then be packed like sardines. … What our people most fear is that by this close intimate social contact future generations will intermarry” [Master of the Senate, The Years of Lyndon Johnson, by Robert Caro, Vintage Books, 2003. Emphasis added].
Similarly, Senator Richard Russell of Georgia believed “the experience of other countries and civilizations has demonstrated that the separation of the races biologically is highly preferable to amalgamation” [The Decline of National Review, by James Lubinskas, American Renaissance, April 9, 2012].
Unmentionably, Byrd and Russell were of course on to something. Miscegenation has indeed been a persistent tacit theme of the integration movement. As Marian Evans reported for American Renaissance: the “residents of Selma could be forgiven for beginning to wonder whether the demonstrations were as much about public interracial copulation as they were about voting rights” [From Selma To Montgomery, 30 Years Later, May 1995]. Reporters filed stories about and photographed the rampant, open-air sex; editors bowdlerized the copy.
By 2004, the cautious approach to pushing miscegenation—it’s all about the right to marry whom we want—was apparently deemed unnecessary. Monday Night Football offered an advertisement that depicted the beginning of interracial fornication.
Now, it’s de rigueur, a staple of movies, television, and advertisements.
Joe Biden was quoted recently as saying that
And by the way, the main reason why I’m optimistic, because your generation — black, white, Hispanic and Asian-American — did you ever think you’d turn on a TV…and roughly two out of three ads would be biracial couples selling a product? That never would’ve happened in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s.
When a 2014 Cheerios commercial during the Super Bowl featured a black father, white wife, and biracial child, an MSNBC staffer tweeted that “the right wing will hate it” showing, obviously, that it was a deliberate attack on white families. The RNC got the staffer fired because they insisted that they didn’t hate it [RNC: That's it, we're boycotting MSNBC until its president apologizes; Update: Griffin apologizes, staffer fired, HotAir.com, January 30, 2014].
So the Southerners were right to sense that, too.
Podhoretz, by the way, did half-heartedly recommend miscegenation to solve the black man’s sense of injustice on the theory that race would disappear. (Paradoxically, his son-in-law Elliott Abrams, who held positions in the Reagan, Bush and Trump Administrations, is an outspoken opponent of Jewish-gentile intermarriage [Is Elliott Abrams, Bush’s N.S.C. Guy, Still Separatist?, by Philip Weiss, Observer.com, August 18, 2003]).
Although no one in the Ruling Class listened to the opponents of integration, there subsequently emerged a pattern of liberal backpedaling on integration. In 1975, Joe Biden (yes! that Joe Biden!) strongly opposed busing and sided with “segregationists” on the matter. He said he didn’t want his kids going to school in the “racial jungle” that would result if integration wasn’t “orderly.”
Periodically, other Leftist intellectuals have openly confessed that busing and integration flopped. Writing at Slate.com under a subheadline that asked “Is segregation such a bad thing?” [Black Eyes, July 6, 2007], Geoffrey Anderson provoked blistering anti-white, anti-integration comments from blacks who not unreasonably resented what happened to their schools.
A commenter called soulgroove07, who was unwillingly bused across town, reported “no integration” outside sports and the arts:
[O]nly 5-10 percent actually [made] an olive branch effort across racial lines. The only thing that busing taught me was that whites could be devious in their dealings.
(Needless to say, Leftist whites and their black retainers who pushed integration, like Thurgood Marshall, never asked black parents if they wanted their kids bused thither and yon to rub elbows with whites.)
Black commenter soulgroove07 was unequivocal:
Civil Rights leaders believed too much in the goodness of white Americans when they should have never allowed our children to be educated by our white enemies. … This society will never accept African- Americans as its fellow citizens. African-Americans do not need to live, sleep, have sex or get along with the white population to live in this country. … [G]etting away from each other would ease the racial conflicts amongst black males and white teachers and give us as African-Americans a chance to develop our infrastructure in educating our children. ... White Americans are corrupt with privilege and dealing with them will only give you mental and physical problems.
That is not exactly an enthusiastic endorsement of what Leftist whites promised would be racial nirvana if only they could get the racist Kilpatricks out of the way.
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Another anti-white, anti-conservative critique in Slate complained that black parents opposed busing and integration but the Johnson Administration “fired up the buses” anyway:
Because Brown v. Board was such a landmark decision, the idea of integration and the larger civil rights movement became somewhat synonymous, wrongly so. Black America wasn’t fighting for integration, per se. … Black schools were unilaterally closed down, their students divvied up and distributed to whatever white school needed to adjust its numbers in order to avoid being sued, often over the very loud protests of black parents; at angry town hall meetings, integration was denounced as a white supremacist plot to destroy the black community. Some black students, fearing the prospect of a hostile white environment, dropped out of school rather than ride the bus.
[How the left’s embrace of busing hurt the cause of integration, by Tanner Colby, February 3, 2014]
In Leftist Politico, Ted Van Dyk, a staffer for Vice President Hubert Humphrey, explained why busing failed in Washington, D.C. [School Busing Didn’t Work. And to Say So Isn’t Racist, August 6, 2015]. The Van Dyks had two boys in at the Janney School when buses began delivering blacks:
The same buses picked up the same kids, immediately at the end of classes, and took them back to Southwest. They did not participate in any pre- or after-school activity. No black parents took a bus or drove from Southwest to attend evening PTA meetings or to otherwise participate in school-related activity. The quality of classroom instruction fell off markedly. Fourth- and fifth-grade neighborhood students, for instance, were repeating material learned in earlier grades because teachers found their bused classmates had not yet received it. Not surprisingly, parents from the neighborhood began looking for private schools for their kids or moved to Maryland or Virginia suburbs—not because of racism but because their neighborhood school no longer was working. ...
Here is what integration and giving blacks everything they demand has wrought:
Why the South was right to oppose School integration:https://t.co/3RWe1pbFAr— Patrick Cleburne (@PCleburneVdare) February 14, 2022
As for the promise of a colorblind society that would flower after integration…
Face it: these days, everyone knows the truth—except, apparently, the Regime Media.
A few years ago, I wrote about The Wire, a police procedural set in Baltimore, Md. The first season depicted the city’s dysfunctional majority black population despite the communist sympathies of its creator, David Simon.
[B]lack people in the 50’s & 60’s civil rights era never wanted Integration, which was a goal imposed on them by white liberals All they really wanted was Jim Crow laws abolished + voting rights + equal dollars-per-public-school-pupil.
“You f***ing revisit it. I don’t want to live around white people with opinions like the one you just offered.”
“Stop being a self-loathing white leftist,” commenter Joe Black fumed in response to Simon. “65 percent black Baltimore is no longer America: it’s Africa in America. … The American Dream is over; we are now in the early stage of the American Nightmare.”
“We’re certainly living your nightmare,” Simon sneered. “The rest of us are rather enjoying that fact.”
The Civil Rights vision has failed. If we don’t return to some form of Separate But Equal, our racial troubles will never end.