T Nation

Omaha School District Racial Lines



LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) -- In a move decried by some as state-sponsored segregation, the Legislature voted Thursday to divide the Omaha school system into three districts -- one mostly black, one predominantly white and one largely Hispanic.

Supporters said the plan would give minorities control over their own school board and ensure that their children are not shortchanged in favor of white youngsters.

Republican Gov. Dave Heineman signed the measure into law.

Omaha Sen. Pat Bourne decried the bill, saying, "We will go down in history as one of the first states in 20 years to set race relations back."

"History will not, and should not, judge us kindly," said Sen. Gwen Howard of Omaha.

Attorney General Jon Bruning sent a letter to one of the measure's opponents saying that the bill could be in violation of the Constitution's equal-protection clause and that lawsuits almost certainly will be filed.

But its backers said that at the very least, its passage will force policymakers to negotiate seriously about the future of schools in the Omaha area.

The breakup would not occur until July 2008, leaving time for lawmakers to come up with another idea.

"There is no intent to create segregation," said Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, the Legislature's only black senator and a longtime critic of the school system.

He argued that the district is already segregated, because it no longer buses students for integration and instead requires them to attend their neighborhood school.

Chambers said the schools attended largely by minorities lack the resources and quality teachers provided others in the district. He said the black students he represents in north Omaha would receive a better education if they had more control over their district.

Coming from Chambers, the argument was especially persuasive to the rest of the Legislature, which voted three times this week in favor of the bill before it won final passage on the last day of the session.

Omaha Public Schools Superintendent John Mackiel said the law is unconstitutional and will not stand.

"There simply has never been an anti-city school victory anywhere in this nation," Mackiel said. "This law will be no exception."

The 45,000-student Omaha school system is 46 percent white, 31 percent black, 20 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent Asian or American Indian.

Boundaries for the newly created districts would be drawn using current high school attendance areas. That would result in four possible scenarios; in every scenario, two districts would end up with a majority of students who are racial minorities.


So what?

This is a local issue and the legislature enacted a law for their state.

So what's the problem?


I didn't editorialize on it at all, doofus. But I guess I will now.

IF the funding is the same for all the districts, it might not be terrible.

IF all of the schools are able to attract the same quality of teachers, it might not be terrible.

IF minority students end up performing better in the long run than they would have otherwise, it may not be terrible.

Most likely, though, it's just going to end up producing a generation of people who don't know, trust, or like each other because of the color of their skin.


Sounds like "separate but equal" to me -- which, in case anyone wonders, is not a good thing.


I've been looking for other articles that give more of the opinions of minorities in the community. I'm very curious how they see this.

If they challenge it in court, there is no way it doesn't get tossed.


This is a class issue, not a racial issue. No doubt the predominantly minority communities of black and Hispanic have less affluent residents. It is these people who will support or not the local school district. So the white school gets more financial support because the residents have more money and the minority schools, now get less money.

This IS segregation all over again. Class segregation, but segregation just the same.


Are you actually aware of how Nebraska funds its schools, or are you just making assumptions? I don't know how they fund them, so I'm not disagreeing with you.


To this I say -- dosen't the duly elected Legislature of the state have the right to fund their schools the way they see fit? If the electorate of this state disagrees, they can "throw dem bums out" as we say in Brooklyn.

This is not about race or class. What this once again is about is MONEY -- M O N E Y. It is about taking money out of the hands of those who are perceived as "rich" and giving it to those who are perceived as "poor" and helpless.

Education should be funded no matter where the school, but this is a LOCAL STATE ISSUE. Under our supposed Federal system that is the way it is supposed to go.

What next -- the Feds telling the localities when and how to pick up the garbage?


No you just posted it doofus...

Really? And why don't these people live together in the first place?

If you haven't noticed -- this utopian picture of everyone of every color and creed, etc. living together in perfect harmony (sounds like an old Coke or Pepsi commercial) although a very excellent thought is bogus in reality. The reality is that people are more comfortable living in proximity with people who are like them. That is the way it is -- I might wish it otherwise, but it is the way it is and no bussing or other Federal regulations will change this.

It is an unfortunate reality, but true nonetheless.


People are more comfortable with what they are familiar with. It has little to do with being with people who are simply the same skin color as you are. Humans are creatures of habit. Society is what creates a difference there. Children have to LEARN to dislike one another due to their skin color. Otherwise, they play together with no concept of it meaning anything at all. Your post here does inform us a lot about you, however.


Are you really this stupid? You think that if a white majority doesn't want their kids going to school with minorities, it is fine to just start separate white schools and only fund them? How exactly is a MINORITY supposed to "throw dem bums out"?

You are assuming that only white people have money and that only minorities don't.

This is SPECIFICALLY about race. Did you read the damn article? They are cutting Omaha into three districts--white, black, and hispanic.

Holy shit, dumbass. Let him introduce you to 1954:


"...We come then to the question presented: Does segregation of children in public schools solely on the basis of race, even though the physical facilities and other 'tangible' factors may be equal, deprive the children of the minority group of equal educational opportunities? We believe that it does...

...To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely ever to be undone. The effect of this separation on their educational opportunities was well stated by a finding in the Kansas case by a court which nevertheless felt compelled to rule against the Negro plaintiffs:

'Segregation of white and colored children in public schools has a detrimental effect upon the colored children. The impact is greater when it has the sanction of the law; for the policy of separating the races is usually interpreted as denoting the inferiority of the negro group. A sense of inferiority affects the motivation of a child to learn. Segregation with the sanction of law, therefore, has a tendency to [retard] the educational and mental development of negro children and to deprive them of some of the benefits they would receive in a racial[ly] integrated school system.'

...We conclude that in the field of public education the doctrine of 'separate but equal' has no place. Separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. Therefore, we hold that the plaintiffs and others similarly situated for whom the actions have been brought are, by reason of the segregation complained of, deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment."



I never thought I would write this, but I actually am in agreement with you. So far, you haven't said anything that I disagree with. Is this one of the signs of the end times? :slight_smile:


This will end up costing more tax payer dollars and will be S storm in the end.

Bad move.


Agreed, but the article, to me, made it sound like the current situation is "homogeneous but unequal". Which is worse?


In all those threads in which we've argued, I'm the one who argued for equal treatment for everyone. You and Prof. X are the ones who generally justify double standards.


I just love your sweeping generalizations. It isn't like there is a such thing as a case by case basis or the existance of any social etiquette that changes what is appropriate depending on circumstances.


I agree with this except that I don't think children learn to dislike each other due to their skin color, I think they are taught to dislike one another due to their skin color.


I just love how you dismiss my account of your actions as "sweeping generalizations" and yet still feel the need to justify those very actions.

I love how you pretend to be such a rugged individualist, but think we should all bow to some "social ettiquette".

I love how you never learned in kindergarden that two wrongs don't make a right.

I love how you call people who oppose all discrimination racist, even as you constantly try to justify treating people differently based on the color of their skin.


There is no need for me to justify it. Things in society are UNEQUAL. To point out double standards as if they exist for some other reason than specifically because of inequality in society is retarded. You want to point the finger at one without pointing the finger at what causes it. I will continue to redirect your attention to society every single time you start a hissy fit because of something like the use of "nigger" in public or any other double standard you can think of. The moment your crusade starts fighting against things like discrimination of job applicants because their names are "too black" as much as you whine about "double standards", then we can talk. On a scale of importance, you fix one before you make an issue of the other. You always seem to have your sight set on the wrong object. I mean, Lens Crafters is just a phone call away.