Book Review

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The Burden of Brown by Raymond Wolters is a long book with a very short message: integration is bad, but desegregation is not. The distinction between the two is crucial to Wolters's analysis. Desegregation is the prohibition of officially sanctioned separation of the races. Integration, on the other hand, is the compelled mixing of the races for the sake of mixing. The "burden" of Brown v. Board of Education, according to Wolters, is that the Supreme Court has blurred this distinction and erroneously requires integration instead of merely prohibiting segregation. Wolters's thesis is that Brown had two prongs: one said that officially sanctioned separation of the races offended the Constitution, the other that exclusion of blacks from the company of whites caused psychological harm that also offended the Constitution. The fact that the Supreme Court interlocked these concepts led to a common usage of these terms as synonymous. It has also, Wolters says, led to tragically misdirected attempts to reform the nation's schools by integration orders.

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2 Const. Comment. 494 (1985) (reviewing Raymond Wolters, The Burden of Brown (1984)).