The White Interest in School Integration
Scholarship concerning desegregation, affirmative action and voluntary integration is primarily, if not exclusively, focused on whether such policies harm or benefit minorities. Scant attention is paid to the benefits whites receive in multiracial schools despite these interests underpinning over thirty years of Supreme Court integration jurisprudence. In this article, I explore the academic and social benefits whites receive in multiracial schools, and I do so from a white parent’s perspective. The article begins by explaining the interest-convergence theory and how white interests explain the course and content of the Supreme Court’s desegregation jurisprudence. White parents must understand that their “buy-in” is critical for the creation and permanence of multiracial schools. The article next describes the extreme racial segregation in schools today and how white children are the most racially isolated students. This isolation contributes to the unconscious and automatic racial bias that infects everyone and will impair our children’s ability to successfully navigate the multicultural marketplace. Integrated schools, however, can de-bias our children and teach them crosscultural competence, a skill they will need to effectively participate in a market with increasingly multicultural customers, co-workers and global business partners. The article ends by describing steps white parents can take to integrate their schools and ensure their children can learn crosscultural competence.
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