The United States has one of the most questionable histories for a country that prides itself to be the land of the free. The prestige has been besmirched by tragedies which have taken place on American soil, by American citizens, and under American laws. The 1970’s and on showed both sides of a divided America that exploited the racial injustices particularly related to Supreme Court cases regarding desegregation of schools in the United States. We can see that a controversial affair, such as race, has issues deep-rooted and interwoven through society, and will always be hard to overcome due to its treacherous history and the pushback from white beneficiaries of racism. In the late 1900’s we start to see a more progressive effort to desegregating schools, however, there are blatant public backlashes from the white opposition, such as white flight and “voting with your feet”. In the 1970’s courts were using bussing as a solution to desegregation, transporting generally African American kids to suburban schools which were significantly more white. Although it is up to interpretation, bussing ended up hurting more than it did help ethnic communities causing white flight to become normalized and to eventually cause less diverse communities, with largely black and Hispanic inner cities and predominantly white suburbs. Bussing was a dirty band aid being put on a cut, slightly covering the issue temporarily, however making the matter significantly worse in the long run, causing de facto racism due to racially dominated neighborhoods and cities, which could then be exploited.
Milikin v Bradley (1974) shines a light on these problems with the city of Detroit plummeting in population decreasing approximately 20% in the 70’s due to white flight toward the suburbs, and away from areas that implemented bussing. The holding was that only the schools in the City of Detroit were in violation due to historically existing boundaries, however, the 53 surrounding suburban districts were guilty of segregation. This holding led to more segregated neighborhoods within the inner city of Detroit to this day, which was predicted in the dissenting arguments by four of the nine Justices. Although the reputation of the country will always be tarnished, it is important to realize that there were beneficial rulings toward a more progressive and desegregated school system throughout the country. Bob Jones University did not admit African American students until 1971 and from 1971-1975 only accepted African Americans who were married in retaliation to interracial marriage.
In Bob Jones University v.United States (1983) the school expected to a tax-exempt status as private universities ritually received, however, Bob Jones University was told they would not be given the tax cut because the court would not reward a University that supported racial discrimination. This case was a huge win for the desegregation effort explicitly stating the court was not in support of the discrimination toward African American people, and setting the precedent that the Supreme Court was strictly in favor of justice and equality no matter the race.
Along with this, in Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No.1 (2007) Justice Breyer’s dissent admits there is a lack of racial neutrality among the law. It is apparent Justice Breyer like many others believes the only way to desegregate schools is complete racial neutrality. In stating this it admits there are blatant racial injustices occurring and that racial neutrality still has not been achieved in 2007.
Racism has become habitual in our society, stitched into our government and taught by our ancestors, however with the recognition of this issue, positive outcomes can emerge. Having Justices and respected officials such as Stephen Breyer admitting unneutral laws being committed is one of many steps in uprooting the issue of racism in society and government today. Of course, racial issues will continue however examining the polarity of mistakes and advancements is beneficial in taking more progressive steps as a society toward equality in the future.