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Racism, Prejudice and Intolerance
Write-in "Doug Mann" for School Board
by Doug Mann, 29 Oct 2004, Submitted to the Star-Tribune for publication 28 Oct 2004
Subj: Racism, Prejudice, and Intolerance
Date: 11/28/2001 3:17:12 PM Central Standard Time
In a message dated 11/28/2001 8:17:28 AM Central Standard Time, [M Atherton] writes:
> The sociology of racism, prejudice, and intolerance is complex, but if
> one wanted to draw an overly broad conclusion it would be that
> diversity causes conflict; just look back in history and at the world
> around you. What keeps conflict at bay is a respect for the rights
> of others, not artificial heterogeneity. The research is clear that
> integration alone (the "contact hypothesis") does not reduce
> prejudice. How would racially heterogeneous schools help Minneapolis?
It seems to me that racial prejudice is based upon and reinforces an unequal distribution of wealth and power between blacks and whites. That's what racism is all about, in my opinion. The underlying problem is a social system and a political system based on economic exploitation and nourished by racism, sexism, elitism, and heterosexism.
I never said that putting black and white students together in a class room reduces racial prejudice.
I have said that the quality of education provided to blacks in racially segregated school systems is generally inferior to the quality of education provided to whites. Desegregating schools by integrating them by race and class puts pressure on the school administration to equalize the facilities. That's why I am in favor of desegregated schools.
The idea that people have a natural affinity with others of the same race was advanced as a justification for expelling and excluding blacks from the better neighborhoods in Minneapolis about 100 years ago. Neighborhood Associations were set up at that time in order to prevent blacks from leasing or purchasing property in white neighborhoods. The legal instruments used to keep blacks out of white neighborhoods, restrictive covenants, were legally enforceable until 1948.
I advocate the enforcement of fair housing laws as a means to desegregate the neighborhoods in Minneapolis. This could be done effectively by recruiting black and white house / apartment hunters to identify landlords and real estate agents who are not in compliance with fair housing laws and prosecuting landlord and real estate agents who are breaking the law. The same could be done to reduce unlawful discrimination in the job market.
-Doug Mann, King Field