Over 60-years ago, the United States Supreme Court made a brave decision to change an entrenched idea in American education and it changed forever the way class photographs looked.

Gone – the Court thought forever – were segregated classrooms where white students and black students were taught separately and educated differently because of their color.

In the 1954 landmark case, Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, the Court upheld that a previous ruling that found that segregated classrooms are “incapable of providing equal educational opportunities.”

In those days, the question was about policies that excluded blacks, but today policies excluding whites are implemented at institutions of higher learning.

Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois has decided to segregate students taking a required course claiming it will help black students “feel more comfortable.”

The course, which states as one of its purposes, “to develop an appreciation for diversity,” has two sections open exclusively to African-American students, a parent told The Chicago Tribune, noting that her son wanted to know, “why there are not two sections limited to Asian-American students? How about Native American students?”

The community college’s assistant director of communications, Jessica Crotty, defended the decision, explaining that the school has restricted registration in other classes at times to veterans and mature students who “face a specific set of challenges.”

“Students feel comfortable and are more likely to open up because they’re with other students who are like them,” Crotty said.

Seven decades after the Brown decision, the idea that racial relations could only be improved with better communication and dialogue has been abandoned.

Instead, separation based on feelings perpetuates beliefs and prejudices on both sides when they can not be openly aired and debated.

The Court that decided Brown in what some people think was the era of extreme discrimination against African-Americans, wrote that a student’s “ability to study, to engage in discussions and exchange views with other students, and, in general, to learn” demands fully integrated classrooms.

How sad that we have taken such a giant step backwards.

UPDATE: After much outcry, they seems to have backed off. Read more here.



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