Integrated in principle, segregated in fact: is this the legacy of fifty years of "progress" in American racial policy? Is there hope for much better? Roy L. Brooks, a distinguished professor of law and a writer on matters of race and civil rights, says with frank clarity what few will admit--integration hasn't worked and possibly never will. Equally, he casts doubt on the solution that many African-Americans and mainstream whites have advocated: total separation of the races. This book presents Brooks's strategy for a middle way between the increasingly unworkable extremes of integration and separation.
Limited separation, the approach Brooks proposes, shifts the focus of civil rights policy from the group to the individual. Defined as cultural and economic integration within African-American society, this policy would promote separate schooling, housing, and business enterprises where needed to bolster the self-sufficiency of the community, without trammeling the racial interests of individuals inside or outside of the group, and without endangering the idea of a shared Americanness. But all the while Brooks envisions African-American public schools, businesses, and communities redesigned to serve the enlightened self-interest of the individual. Unwilling to give up entirely on racial integration, he argues that limited separation may indeed lead to improved race relations and, ultimately, to healthy integration.
This book appears at a crucial time, as Republicans dismantle past civil rights policies and Democrats search for new ones. With its alternative strategy and useful policy ideas for bringing individual African-Americans into mainstream society as first-class citizens, Integration or Separation? should influence debate and policymaking across the spectra of race, class, and political persuasion.
Brooks, a legal scholar who spent much of his career arguing for integration, breaks new ground with this powerful case for 'limited separation'--an alternative to both integrationist and separatist solutions to American racism...[T]he book is valuable for its thorough review of the state of American race relations today and the inadequacy of current solutions.
[Integration or Separation] is a scholarly and reasoned analysis of the history of race relations, laws regarding the same, and state-of-the-art civil-rights thinking. Its purpose appears to be to influence those who influence others in shaping institutional, political, and legal solutions to civil-rights questions...One hopes that the ideas he has offered up for debate will be given wider circulation.
- 360 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
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