Appendix to Appellants' Briefs
Segregation is at present a social reality. Questions may be raised, therefore, as to what are the likely consequences of desegregation.
One such question asks whether the inclusion of an intellectually inferior group may jeopardize the education of the more intelligent group by lowering educational standards or damage the less intelligent group by placing it in a situation where it is at a marked competitive disadvantage. Behind this question is the assumption, which is examined below, that the presently segregated groups actually are inferior intellectually.
The available scientific evidence indicates that much, perhaps all, of the observable differences among various racial and national groups may be adequately explained in terms of environmental differences.15 It has been found, for instance, that the differences between the average intelligence test scores of Negro and white children decrease, and the overlap of the distributions increases, proportionately to the number of years that the Negro children have lived in the North.16 Related studies have shown that this change cannot be explained by the hypothesis of selective migration.17 It seems clear, therefore, that fears based on the assumption of innate racial differences in intelligence are not well founded.
It may also be noted in passing that the argument regarding the intellectual inferiority of one group as compared to another is, as applied to schools, essentially an argument for homogeneous groupings of children by intelligence rather than by race. Since even those who believe that there are innate differences between Negroes and whites in America in average intelligence grant that considerable overlap between the two groups exists, it would follow that it may be expedient to group together the superior whites and Negroes, the average whites and Negroes, and so on. Actually, many educators have come to doubt the wisdom of class groupings made homogeneous solely on the basis of intelligence.18 Those who are opposed to such homogeneous grouping believe that this type of segregation, too, appears to create generalized feelings of inferiority in the child who attends a below average class, leads to undesirable emotional consequences in the education of the gifted child, and reduces learning opportunities which result from the interaction of individuals with varied gifts.
A second problem that comes up in an evaluation of the possible consequences of desegregation involves the question of whether segregation prevents or stimulates interracial tension and conflict and the corollary question of whether desegregation has one or the other effect.
The most direct evidence available on this problem comes from observations and systematic study of instances in which desegregation has occurred. Comprehensive reviews of such instances19 clearly establish the fact that desegregation has been carried out successfully in a variety of situations although outbreaks of violence had been commonly predicted. Extensive desegregation has taken place without major incidents in the armed services in both Northern and Southern installations and involving officers and enlisted men from all parts of the country, including the South.20 Similar changes have been noted in housing21 and industry.22 During the last war, many factories both in the North and South hired Negroes on a non-segregated, non-discriminatory basis. While a few strikes occurred, refusal by management and unions to yield quelled all strikes within a few days.23
Relevant to this general problem is a comprehensive study of urban race riots which found that race riots occurred in segregated neighborhoods, whereas there was no violence in sections of the city where the two races lived, worked and attended school together.24
Under certain circumstances desegregation not only proceeds without major difficulties, but has been observed to lead to the emergence of more favorable attitudes and friendlier relations between races. Relevant studies may be cited with respect to housing,25 employment,26 the armed services27 and merchant marine,28 recreation agency,29 and general community life.30
Much depends, however, on the circumstances under which members of previously segregated groups first come in contact with others in unsegregated situations. Available evidence suggests, first, that there is less likelihood of unfriendly relations when the change is simultaneously introduced into all units of a social institution to which it is applicable—e.g., all of the schools in a school system or all of the shops in a given factory.31 When factories introduced Negroes in only some shops but not in others the prejudiced workers tended to classify the desegregated shops as inferior, "Negro work." Such objections were not raised when complete integration was introduced.
The available evidence also suggests the importance of consistent and firm enforcement of the new policy by those in authority.32 It indicates also the importance of such factors as: the absence of competition for a limited number of facilities or benefits;33 the possibility of contacts which permit individuals to learn about one another as individuals;34 and the possibility of equivalence of positions and functions among all of the participants within the unsegregated situation.35 These conditions can generally be satisfied in a number of situations, as in the armed services, public housing developments, and public schools.
Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1941 to 1953Appendix to Appellants' Briefs - In The Supreme Court Of The United States October Term, 1952, Appendix To Appellants' Briefsthe Effects Of Segregation And The Consequences Of Desegregation: A Social Science Statementstatement Of Counsel