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Michael Matteo: Neo-segregation is ignorance on steroids

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Op-ed views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

In 1896 the Supreme Court, in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, made a ruling that impacted the rights of non-white people for 58 years. (The case was about whether or not the 1890 Louisiana Separate Car Act that ruled that blacks would have to ride in separate train cars was constitutional). The Justices voted 7-1 that it was constitutional and the doctrine of “separate but equal” became law, and mandated that blacks and whites would have segregated bathrooms, schools, hospitals, hotels etc.  The ruling created two worlds: one, black and the other white, and people of both races, realizing that this was unjust, fought hard for decades to end this racist practice.  As time passed, many of these individuals were beaten and some died during this fight, but this rationalization of law ended in 1954 as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. the Board of Education which ended “separate but equal.”

It has been 67 years since that landmark decision which ended the legal component of segregation, and even though it was challenged by those who sought to hold onto these racist practices in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the “good guys” won the fight for civility and equality and America moved on in a truly progressive way.  “Colored Only” or “White Only” signs were only found in history books to illustrate a very misguided past, which responsible teachers could use as a learning tool in history classes. The objective of history (not taught by woke teachers) is to learn from past mistakes.

Sadly, this lesson appears to be lost on the current generation as a new idea based upon an old one has reared its ugly head on college campuses throughout the nation. Like all aspects of wokeness, it begins by redefining a word and giving it a new spin to suit an illogical and divisive agenda. Today’s woke word of the day is “Neo-segregation,” which is defined as the voluntary racial segregation of students aided by college institutions, into racially exclusive housing and common spaces, orientation and commencement ceremonies, student associations, scholarships and classes.”  In other words, whites and blacks will be separated in where they live, organizations they join, and even have separate black and white graduation ceremonies on campuses throughout the nation. Sixty years ago this would have been challenged by academics as unjust, but today it is embraced, encouraged, and promoted by those in academia.

A video that went viral last week illustrated the ramifications of this kind of thinking at Arizona State University, where two white males were bullied into leaving a room at the university’s Multicultural Center because one of the students had a sticker on the back of his laptop that said, “Police Lives Matter.”  The students weren’t harming anyone or causing a problem but were approached by two black female students who told the young men that their presence there made the two young ladies uncomfortable. When one of the white males said, “I’m not racist, I’m just here to study,” his objection was met with a barrage of angry comments from the two black female students, “You’re offensive! Police Lives Matter?  You’re making the space uncomfortable.”  “This is our space!” “This is the violence that ASU does.”  “This white man thinks he can take up our space.”

When the young man told them he was not trying to offend anyone, he was told, “I know, but this offends automatically because these people kill people like me, so you’re promoting murderers.”  The female students went on to say, “You can choose to be a cop, you can choose to kill people, with a badge and you’re protecting that sh*t, which means you are a racist.”  (This kind of logic can only be taught in a woke classroom.)

As the argument became louder and more confrontational, one of the white males became noticeably frustrated, and one of the female students threw out the buzz words “white supremacist,” “marginalization” described his desire to stay there as “Cis-male bullsh*t,” and after he told her she needed to learn American history, she shouted, “F**k America, bro America was created on genocide and slavery.”  She also said, “What’s white culture, stealing things from people, colonization, cooptation, theft and occupation?”  The young men did leave and on their way out, one male said, I’m going to complain to the dean, and she replied, “Go ahead, Karen.”

It’s obvious that her liberal professors and left-wing educators have succeeded very well as evidenced by her use of all her woke terminology, illogical accusations about the police, American history, and overall ignorance that the prefix “multi” means “many” and therefore, white students who have been brought up in an “American culture” have every right to study in a multicultural center.  Sadly, though what her professors never taught her was that censorship, segregation, and the idea that her rights superseded anyone else’s rights were the very things that create an unjust, fascist system.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident and appears to be more of the rule, than an exception to it.  Last year at the University of Virginia, a viral video showed a black student asking whites to leave the campus diversity center and exclaimed, “Frankly, there’s just too many white people here.”

As universities program students to view everything in terms of race, there is no hope that the country will endure this new civil war of divisive and destructive ideas.  If the institutions of so-called “higher” learning promote this kind of insanity and young people buy into it because they are never taught how to discern between fact and feelings, logic and illogic and that racism comes in all colors, the legacy will continue to endure and spread faster than any virus.

In the case of Plessy v. Ferguson, the lone dissenting opinion was delivered by a former slaveholder, John Marshall Harlan, who wrote, “The arbitrary separations of citizens on the basis of race while they are on a public highway is a badge of servitude wholly inconsistent with the civil freedom and equality before the law established by the Constitution.”  Harlan was hardly a champion of civil rights, but if he could see that segregation was inconsistent with the law of the land, today’s college administrators cannot or refuse to see it, which is an indictment of this kind of thinking.  Can a practice that was condemned for decades and ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1954 be progressive simply because the ones being discriminated against are white?

Putting “neo” in front of a word doesn’t change an egregious practice into a socially acceptable practice, and those in favor of neo-segregation need to speak to those who lived in a time when segregation was the law of the land, perhaps that will make them realize that progress is moving forward not backwards and if we don’t want to be judged by our skin color, we should not judge others based upon their skin color.

Michael Matteo
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