Saturday, August 01, 2020
It was a scene that seemed from another era. Angry White parents gripping picket signs. People making death threats and a piece of hate mail reading "Blacks destroy school systems." Community panic about school desegregation orders. But this wasn't archival footage of White Southerners from the 1960s. This took place last year in Howard County, Maryland, a suburban community that prides itself on racial integration. It was there that progressive White parents mobilized with other groups to try to stop a school integration plan that would bus poor students, who were mostly Black and brown, to more affluent, whiter schools. Willie Flowers, the father of two eighth-grade boys in Howard County schools, was stunned by the ferocity of the resistance. He says it was a flashback to the type of racism he encountered attending schools with Whites in the South.
"I'm from Alabama and I thought I was escaping that type of nonsense," says Flowers, who is president of the NAACP Maryland State Conference. "There have been cases of Confederate flags at high school football games, racial epitaphs." Yet any attack against entrenched racism will run into one of the most formidable barriers for true change: Good White people.
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