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Social Separation in America: The Failure of Brown v. The Board and its Public Health Implications

Andrew James, MD, JD, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Texas Southern University, 3100 Cleburne Avenue, Nabrit Science Bldg., Room 202, Houston, TX 77004, 713-313-7265, James_AB@TSU.edu and Donald K. Hill, JD, LLM, College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Texas SOutehrn University, 3100 Cleburne, Houston, TX 77004.

Social Separation in America: The Failure of Brown v. The Board and its Public Health Implications

When Chief Justice Earl Warren announced the decision in Brown v. The Board of Education, he did not declare the end of segregation in America. What he said was that “ separate but equal” had no place in American education. However, the declaration was widely interpreted as the death knell for American apartheid. Unfortunately, while the nation moved slowly (all deliberate speed) toward the actual elimination of de jure segregation in those states which had enacted such laws, and even later, and to a lesser degree, defacto segregation, the actually of social separation has remained a lingering and growing cancer in American society. This phenomenon is as much a public health problem as it is a social problem. To understand how this comes about, it is necessary to linguistically distinguish the differences between what we have historically characterized as segregation (de juve analor defacto) and what will be described as social separation. In order to do this, this paper will briefly describe the evolution of “social separation” in the case of Roberts v. City of Boston (1849) to “separate but equal” in Plessey v. Ferguson (1895) to renunciation of the doctrine in the Brown decisions (1954-55). We will explore how the Brown doctrine has changed, at least linguistically, over the last fifty years from an assault against legal separation to on of accepting voluntary social separation which, in effect is, a return to, at least, a bastard-form of Plessey, or a regeneration of Roberts.

Learning Objectives: Social Separation in America

Keywords: Ethnic Minorities,

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Cultural Competency/Diversity: The Final Frontier in U.S. Healthcare: Academic Preparedness From a Multicultural Point of View

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA