New York Times: Integration now, integration forever

New York Times, March 29, 2018: Integration now, integration forever

The mid-70s were, by some measures, a kind of a high-water mark for racial integration. School integration peaked then, and American schools have been resegregating since. Measured by Google Ngram, the phrase “racial integration” was used most frequently then; people have been using the phrase less and less ever since.

By the late 1990s, passion for the cause had been lost. As Tamar Jacoby wrote in her 1998 book “Someone Else’s House”: “If integration is still most Americans’ idea of the goal, few of us talk about it any more. The word has a quaint ring today — like ‘gramophone’ or ‘nylons.’ ”

Now we seem to have entered a phase of trepidation, or even passive segregation. Race is on everybody’s mind, but are there enough efforts to create intimate bonds across racial lines?

Many people support racial integration in the abstract but don’t want to do the things integration would require. Some see integration as a sentimental notion not connected to immediate concerns. Others have accepted the idea that birds of a feather flock together and always will.

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