School Integration
Jude Wanniski
April 7, 1997


Memo To: Gary Orfield, Harvard University
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: School integration

[To website browsers: On tv over the weekend, Professor Orfield discussed a new Harvard study that shows public schools are more segregated than they had been in the 1970s, after the big push by the federal government to integrate by busing and other means. He offered the view that the government has to try again, harder, or the racial divisions will become even more set.]

You guys are barking up the wrong tree in urging another mammoth government effort to force the races to live cheek by jowl, beginning with school kids. You can spend billions forcing whites and blacks to integrate with each other at any level of society, but as soon as the government withdraws its use of force, the whites and blacks separate again. This is not sociology. It is chemistry. Oil and water. The only thing that will permanently bring about racial integration throughout society would be a clear conviction that blacks are not genetically inferior to whites. As long as social scientists, including those at Harvard, perpetuate the idea that IQ genetically correlates with skin color, whites have every incentive to separate from blacks in order to insulate their children and grandchildren from situations that could lead to inter-racial marriage. People always want the best advantages they can afford for their offspring. How can we blame them? Whites who believe blacks are genetically inferior will always, in aggregate, resist integration, if at all possible. This is the highest barrier between the races. Blacks as a whole may believe their children might be better off marrying whites on this account alone, stepping up in the genetic pool. Unhappily, the concept of white supremacy has been part of American culture for nearly four centuries. Blacks are repelled, on the other hand, by a sense that they are being patronized, looked down upon, by their white neighbors. Your idea, which is getting a lot of attention, of having government increase its presence in the neighborhood, is far from the national political consensus on the direction the country should take. We've been there, done that.