November 24, 2005
"The New White Flight" was the title of an eye-opening
article in the November 20th issue of the Wall Street Journal.
It was about a high school in Cupertino, California, where a growing
Asian American student population is causing rising academic standards
-- and causing many white parents to withdraw their children from
the school and some to move out of the community.
has some of the highest test scores in the state. But, although
everybody is in favor of high academic standards in the abstract,
not everyone is in favor of having to struggle to meet those standards.
mother who was taking her son to an after-school soccer game noticed
all the Asian American parents arriving to take their children
to an after-school study program. A few years of her son playing
soccer while the Asian kids were hitting the books would be bound
to create academic disparities.
"white flight" is completely misleading. All over the
world and throughout history, groups have collected together with
people like themselves, whether by race, income, education, religion,
or any number of other characteristics. There is nothing unique
when white people do it.
or so ago, when Polish immigrants began moving into various Detroit
neighborhoods, blacks began moving out. The research of pioneering
black sociologist E. Franklin Frazier showed long ago that Harlem
and other black communities were internally divided, with people
of different income, education, and behavior patterns living in
distinctly different zones.
European Jewish immigrants began arriving in the United States
and some began moving into German Jewish neighborhoods in Chicago,
the German Jews began moving out. Similar patterns have been found
among all sorts of groups.
move into a neighborhood and whites move out, that is something
visible to the naked eye but there is nothing unique about such
"white flight." The phrase is misleading for the same
reason that saying white people have toenails would be misleading.
It is true in itself but suggests something unique that is in
fact common to human beings of all sorts.
It is not
just in residential patterns that people sort themselves out in
many ways. People tend to marry other people with similar IQs,
even when they don't know what those IQs are. They just tend to
gravitate toward people whose levels of understanding are similar
to their own.
form in all kinds of places for all kinds of reasons. Chess players,
jazz fans, and gamblers tend to hang out with others who share
that people sort themselves out in many ways is not usually a
big problem -- except to those people who cannot feel fulfilled
unless they are telling other people what to do. Government programs
to unsort people who have sorted themselves out have produced
one social disaster after another.
attempts to mix black and white school children through school
busing produced no real educational benefits but much racial polarization
and ill will. The same thing continues to be done in colleges
in the name of "diversity" -- and with the same bad
most unconscionable attempts to unsort people who have sorted
themselves out by behavior are government programs to relocate
people into neighborhoods where they could not afford to live
without subsidies. Often the people in those neighborhoods have
sacrificed for years in order to be able to live where they could
raise their children in decent surroundings and not have to live
in fear of hoodlums -- only to have the government import the
bad neighbors and hoodlums they have tried so hard to escape.
of people may be of the same race but that does not make the consequences
any less painful or the resentments any less bitter. Blacks as
well as whites have objected to having problem people thrust into
their midst through housing subsidies or government housing projects
being built in their neighborhoods.
do the social experimenters relocate dysfunctional and dangerous
people into their own elite neighborhoods. They unsort other people's
neighborhoods and embitter other people's lives.
2005 Creators Syndicate