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WATCH: Court-Ordered Desegregation in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s May Have Actually Made Race Relations Worse

January 12, 2021

School desegregation has been ongoing for a half-century, with a new generation of activists seizing on the issue in recent years as a moral test of American schools. All along the way, an audacious hope has attached to the mission: that bringing Black and white students together in one classroom can help improve race relations. But a working paper from Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform suggests that school desegregation in the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s may have inadvertently done the opposite. Using survey data of racial and political attitudes between the 1990s and 2010s, Harvard doctoral student Mark Chin found that whites who had been exposed to court-ordered school integration in the middle to late 20th century had more negative attitudes toward African Americans as adults than whites who hadn’t experienced school desegregation, and were less likely to support programs that promoted racial equality.

— Edited by Jim Fields

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