The White Interest in School Integration
57 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2009 Last revised: 29 Nov 2011
Date Written: August 28, 2009
Scholarship concerning desegregation, affirmative action and voluntary integration is primarily, if not exclusively, focused on whether such policies harm or benefit minorities. Scant attention is paid to the benefits whites receive in multiracial schools despite white interests underpinning over thirty years of Supreme Court integration jurisprudence. In this article, I explore the academic and social benefits whites receive in multiracial schools, and I do so from a white parent’s perspective. The article begins by describing the interest-convergence theory and how white interests explain the course and content of the Supreme Court’s desegregation and affirmative action jurisprudence. Multiracial schools will not be created or endure unless white parents believe it to be in their children’s best interests. The article next describes the extreme racial segregation in schools today and how white children are the most racially isolated students. This isolation contributes to the unconscious and automatic racial bias that infects everyone and will impair white children’s ability to successfully navigate the multicultural marketplace. Integrated schools, however, can de-bias white children and teach them cross-cultural competence, a skill they will need to effectively participate in a market with increasingly multicultural customers, co-workers and global business partners. The article ends by describing steps white parents can take to ensure their children gain critical cross-cultural competency skills.
Keywords: education, affirmative action, desegregation, integration, diversity, unconscious bias, interest-convergence, crosscultural competence
JEL Classification: I00, I20, I21, I28, J70, J71, J78, D63, N30
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation