But, we quickly found out that sign was wrong. I seriously think that integration messed us up more than we know. We were doing just fine when we had our OWN situations. Our OWN communities, institutions, banks, shops, our own EVERYTHING. We didn’t need to integrate at all. All I know is I would have loved to go to schools with people that look like me, to be taught by elders that look like me. One of the main things that I think about is the quote by brother Malcolm that goes something like, “Why would you want your enemy to teach your children who they are?”.
Except that prior to integration many, many Black kids were going to school without power or running water, with extremely limited access to textbooks and other learning materials, and that integration did indeed raise our standard of education immeasurably. Without it, for example, we’d see even less representation in science and medicine, as a result of inadequate, underfunded facilities’ making it impossible to provide sufficient primary and secondary science instruction to Black children.
"Separate but equal" was a myth, no more than a white supremacist slogan—it was never a reality. Segregation meant we had crumbs we were legally barred from eating in white people’s presence, not our own cookies.
I’m bolding the parts where I feel like y’all are right, and those are also where I feel the other is wrong.
Integration did provide us access to better programs and institutions that have helped us advance. I feel like YM already did a good job articulating where/how, although I’m wary of how some of it is put I don’t know how to articulate why just yet, and it could just be due to my own lack of knowledge.
In other ways, though, integration did negatively impact the advances we were making on our own. The public school education in the US was design to assimilate even when we weren’t welcome in it. That meant, stripping away history, knowledge of self, and teaching white supremacy as a rule. Integration into stores and restaurants owned by white people also resulted in many services and businesses that black folks provided closing down/going out of business. Also keep in mind that it’s quite possible the civil rights and the black power movements would not have occur without black people teaching black people and associating so closely in nearly every area of their lives (thus seeing our possibilities, and yes we still associate real close, but most of us don’t own shit, can’t, and aren’t in any authority in “prestigious” positions).
Separate but equal was in fact a lie, however integration in practice is also a lie. Not only did it not happen, because our schools continue to be separate and unequal, but we are now being taught primarily by people who hate us using a curriculum designed to make us hate ourselves.
So I feel like in some ways both or y’all are right, and both of y’all are wrong.