In American public schools, whites are the most segregated, while Asians are the least segregated.
The statistics from the 2000-2001 school year show that whites are the most segregated group in the nation’s public schools; they attend schools, on average, where eighty percent of the student body is white. The two regions where white students are more likely to attend substantially interracial schools are the South and West. Whites attending private schools are even more segregated than their public school counterparts.
This may be surprising at first for some white people who are unconscious of the pervasiveness of whiteness. However, this fact becomes unsurprising when given the quote above which racially frames a familiar sight or experience. Most racial minorities in North America live in metropolitan areas that are typically racially diverse, while more white people are spread out in suburban and rural areas that are overwhelmingly white.
However, on seeing a group of white people, most North Americans would not categorize the experience as seeing a “group of white people”, but the group would instead be remembered as just a “group of people”. On the other hand, people will see and remember a “group of Asians” or “group of black people” because minority races are foregrounded against the white-race background. The bias to remember relatively unusual instances makes it seem like non-whites are more segregated than whites.
Michael Kimmel’s article “Toward a Pedagogy of the Oppressor” discusses the invisibility of whiteness and the invisibility of privilege in general.
To be white, or straight, or male, or middle class is to be simultaneously ubiquitous and invisible. You’re everywhere you look, you’re the standard against which everyone else is measured. You’re like water, like air. People will tell you they went to see a “woman doctor,” or they will say they went to see “the doctor.” People will tell you they have a “gay colleague” or they’ll tell you about a “colleague.” A white person will be happy to tell you about a “black friend,” but when that same person simply mentions a “friend,” everyone will assume the person is white. Any college course that doesn’t have the word “woman” or “gay” or “minority” in the title is, de facto, a course about men, heterosexuals, and white people. But we call those courses “literature,” “history,” or “political science.”
It is ironic when some white individuals accuse racial minorities, especially Asians, of being especially segregated. This is not reality, but this myth is rarely challenged in discussions where the participants are mostly whites unconscious of their whiteness.