Search transcripts:    Advanced Search
Notable New     Yorkers
Select     Notable New Yorker

Kenneth ClarkKenneth Clark
Photo Gallery

Session:         Page of 763

understandable unwillingness to get out on a limb or to lose even minimum security in these matters. Again, there may have been a few exceptions, but I can't think of them offhand. But I suspect those who were exceptions paid the price.

No, actually what the educators were responding to was their awareness of the fact that the community, the politicians, the society as a whole was not particularly in favor of desegregating the schools.

Now I don't understand this. I really-- up until last week or so, when I was down in Richmond [Virginia] working with the lawyers on an attempt to deal with the segregation and desegregation problems and race problems in the Richmond schools in that area, I kept asking then-- and the educators never got an answer that satisfied me-- what is there that makes American whites so fearful of racially integrated schools? What are they really so afraid of? Because actually, if you look at the society as a whole, there are many, many areas in which whites and blacks had to have some kind of interaction. In jobs, in sports, entertainment, transportation. Our society has overcome a lot of the previous racial separation. The one area in which it seems to be very lacking is this area of education. And I can't understand that. I try to put myself in a position of a white person-- I guess they have a feeling that if their children go to school with a given percentage of minorities or blacks, their children will in some way become contaminated. Maybe sexually or they will be assaulted. But are not these things that are controllable? I don't understand

© 2006 Columbia University Libraries | Oral History Research Office | Rights and Permissions | Help