White people are the most segregated.

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.

7 Responses to “White people are the most segregated.”

  1. macon d Says:

    I’m glad you linked to this post in your comment at my place. I’ve actually been thinking of doing a post on the same thing, the irony of white complaints about non-white self-segregation, especially in schools. You’ve covered it well here, and if I do one too on the topic, this will be very helpful.

    I imagine you’re aware of Beverly Tatum’s book, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

  2. Restructure! Says:

    I’m aware of the book. I guess I should add it to my long list of books I need to read.

  3. redcatbiker Says:

    Your post is so very spot on!
    Every book of fiction, which I have read, that has been written by a white author (regardless of the author’s gender), will always describe a white character, not by its race, but by that character’s physical characteristics: hair colour, eye colour, height, weight, etc. Any non-white will always be described by its ethnicity or race, only. The non-white character will be introduced into the story as: a black woman, the Chinese girl, the gay Mexican man, etc.

    If the white character is somehow off-kilter, so to speak, from the usual [American, middle-class, heterosexual] whiteness, that character, will be written as: the gay man, the Italian lady, the blue-collar guy, etc. Nonetheless, these off-kilter white characters will still be written with physical descriptions, which the non-white characters are never afforded in fiction written by white American authors.

    The irony is, the range of skin colour and hair texture and eye shape among blacks [who are descendants of enslaved Africans in the Americas] varies greatly. So to introduce a black character as simply, “the black girl”, without saying more as to this character’s looks, shows how limited these writers are in their world-view and -experiences, which only puts me off from ever reading more of their work.

    A side note: I have never read any of Stephen King’s books, for they are a genre I am not interested in, but I did read his book on writing. In that book, at the end of it, he included a lengthy list of authors and their specific book, which he recommends one read as examples of good writing: every one of those authors he listed is white!

  4. redcatbiker Says:

    Oh, by the way, I found your blog, this particular post, from one of your posts on the “stuff white people do” blog.

    Your blog is interesting, too.

  5. White people are more segregated than minorities. « Restructure! Says:

    […] studies that show that whites are the most segregated are important, because white people often criticize minorities for living in so-called […]

  6. patrick Says:

    Is there any statistics to support his?
    Very interesting and true even without supporting statistics.

  7. Restructure! Says:

    patrick,

    Read the second paragraph of the post, the first block quote. Or click on the first link in the post, which is in the very first sentence.


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