But, but, but, they’re blue states! How can this be?

This is really no surprise to someone who grew up in the South:

Report: NY schools are most racially segregated
By Karen Matthews | Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — New York state has the most segregated public schools in the nation, with many black and Latino students attending schools with virtually no white classmates, according to a report released Wednesday.

The report by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California at Los Angeles looks at enrollment trends from 1989 to 2010.

In New York City, the largest school system in the U.S. with 1.1 million pupils, the study notes that many of the charter schools created over the last dozen years are among the least diverse of all, with less than 1 percent white enrollment at 73 percent of charter schools.

“To create a whole new system that’s even worse than what you’ve got really takes some effort,” said Gary Orfield, co-director of the Civil Rights Project and an author of the report.

More at the link. But there are two more paragraphs, further down, that just have to be cited:

“In the 30 years I have been researching schools, New York state has consistently been one of the most segregated states in the nation – no Southern state comes close to New York,” Orfield said.

Other states with highly segregated schools include Illinois, Michigan and California, according to the Civil Rights Project.

What? You mean that the blue states, the ones which voted, and voted pretty heavily, for Barack Obama, are the ones with the most segregated public schools? They’re liberals, don’t you know, so how can this be?

Well, I can’t say that I am surprised in the slightest. I grew up in Kentucky, and the public school system in Mt Sterling was officially segregated when I started there.1 In the summer between my fifth and sixth grade years, DuBois, the black school, mysteriously burned to the ground, and all of the black students had to be included in the previously all white school. There was only one school, so there was no forced busing for integration to fray people’s tempers. This pattern was not at all uncommon in small towns in the South.2

In contrast, there was Wilmington, Delaware, in one of those liberal blue states, in which the good white folks practically destroyed the public schools in reaction to a federal judge ordering county-wide integration in New Castle County. As a result, when we moved there in 2000, Delaware had the highest rate of private school attendance in the nation, led by New Castle County. It was an unwritten rule: if you could possibly afford to send your kids to private school, you did.

And New Castle County was the most segregated place I have ever seen. The city of Wilmington was heavily black and Hispanic, while the outlying suburbs were mostly white. Hockessin, where I lived, had almost no black families, though it did have a substantial Asian population.3

Let me be blunt here: the reason that the schools are so segregated in those oh-so-blue states is because all of those oh-so-liberal white people still don’t want to live next door to black or Hispanic families. They might have voted for Barack Obama, and they might have heavily Democratic political representation, but they still want their black folks to live a few blocks away, thank you very much.

  1. In the middle of the third grade. I went through kindergarten the first and second grades in Antioch, California, and started the third grade in Portland, Maine.
  2. There was a plan in place, before the fire, to integrate specific grades at a time, in response to what the law required, rather than the all-at-once integration which occurred. I don’t know what the adults were thinking about integration at the time, since I was still just 11 years old, but once integration actually happened, it was uneventful enough that I don’t remember anything about it at all.
  3. We lived next door to a fairly large Korean Christian Church.

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