On November 5, 2008 the members of Phi Beta Sigma held a meeting discussing the Board vs. Brown trail. For those of you may not exactly know what the Brown vs. Board trail is here is some brief history.
In 1954 the United State Supreme Court decision in Oliver L. Brown vs. the Board of Education of Topeka (KS) became the most significant judicial turning points in the development of the country. This trial was originally led by Charles H. Houston and was later picked up by Thurgood Marshall. The case was about the unfair treatment between the different schools. Not just any school but black schools and white schools. White school had better materials and more money to help fund and support the students whereas the black schools had bad materials and low income to help support their students. The case was made up of many cases from before that were overlooked or tossed to the back burner. The cases actually go back to as far as 1849 when African Americans filed suit against an educational system than mandated racial segregation, I the case of Roberts vs. City of Boston.
The Browns were just one of nearly 200 plaintiffs from five states who were part of the strategy to have segregation abolished. This was done by declaring that the discriminatory nature of racial segregation which “violates the 14th amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees all citizens equal protection of the laws,” Brown v. Board of Education laid the foundation for shaping future national and international policies regarding human right.
The Board vs. Brown presentation quickly turned into a discussion of the thoughts that were running through the audience’s minds. Although nobody disagreed that they were getting a good education at NCSU there were a few members of the audience that mentioned how they wouldn’t really mind the schools going back to being segregated to the cultural and ethics relationships that are lost once a black child is taken out of their cultural environment.
A lot of the audience members mentioned how they felt as though schools were still segregated to this day and not so much by color but more so by money and social standards. The way that this is done is by “zoning” which is when a school tells the buses to go to a certain part of town to pick up students and that they cant go any where else. This causes the students that aren’t middle class or higher to go to the less privileged schools. This is done from elementary school until graduation from high school. The only way to avoid it is to move to a suburban area or to commute to school everyday.
The audience also agreed that it is not that the teachers are better at a white school vs. a black school it is mostly based on the funding that is provided to white schools vs. black schools. The education is still the same and in fact many felt as though predominantly black schools the teachers tend to care more and take more time with the African American students than at predominantly white schools, but many black children have a lot of identity problems and have trouble with knowing where to go to for help.
So what can students do to make a difference? First volunteer around the community find an African American student and take them under your wing. Mentor them and show them that they are not alone. Let them know that they can achieve anything that they put their mind to. As children see people like them doing good things it lets them know that they can too. All children need is one guide in their life and sometimes the parents aren’t there. As African American students at NCSU we could all do better with giving back to the community.
Stop making excuses, think of it as that one day that you didn’t go to meet with that child is the one day that they got in a fight after school, or the one day that something really bad happened and no one was there for them to talk to.
Be educated, not book smart, but educated about your history so that you can help that child grow. As a whole and as adults we have to hold the government responsible for the lack of funding that has been provided to the African American schools.
Last but not least address the problems immediately, if everybody went to the board of education with the same complaints about African American children not having the same opportunities as white children because of the school that they are put in because of where they live, or because of how much money they have then the government would have no choice but to make a change.