The linked article provides an extremely short but applicable history:
The 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka outlawed racially separate public schools. While ushering in a wave of laws ensuring full integration in public facilities, the Brown ruling also prompted backlash in many communities. Forced busing and an exodus of white students into private schools were part of the fallout in subsequent years.
Busing. Freakin' busing. Doesn't anyone remember that debacle anymore? How can we still be on that road, all these years later?
I'll tell you why. There's an entire industry (not to mention political movement) devoted to ensuring that the phrase "without regard to race", so prevalent in the Civil Rights Era legislation, never takes effect. There's a lot of money and power at stake in keeping the races divided.
Update, 6/11/06 12:03 pm: John at Discriminations (see blogroll at left) has a lengthy post on this topic, and also brings up the busing issue. Apparently, great minds think alike. Here are some excerpts:
The WaPo is concerned, properly, with students “learning about life in a multiethnic society,” with helping “children of diverse backgrounds learn to live, play and eventually work together.” Unfortunately, however, its preferred lesson plan is not only outmoded but offensive. The lesson our schools should be teaching is that race should never be weighed — even as a hypothetical “tiebreaker” — on the scales of any government decision, because race should never be allowed to count for or against any person for any opportunity in our society...
The argument here, to repeat, is that racial preferences that neither derive from nor contribute to racial stigma and that do not “seek to give one racial group an edge over another” are acceptable. And, still repeating, I continue to find this argument troubling. For one thing, it substitutes harm to a “racial group” over the traditional, and much more appealing, standard of harm to the individual. (emphasis mine--Darren)
Consider, for example, this hypothetical: what if the federal government or a city, in the interest of governmental economy and efficiency, decided that rather than close down government altogether on certain holidays that it would institute a policy of “race-conscious holidays.” Under this policy, blacks would be excused from work only on Martin Luther King’s birthday, whites only on Presidents’ Day, and Asians and Hispanics only on newly created ethnic holidays. In order to avoid the appearance of hard racial classification, employees would be allowed to substitute one of the “other” holidays for their own racially designated one if they chose.
Would this pass the proposed no stigma/no “racial group” harm test? Or, as I’ve suggested here before, what if our immigration policy were revised to eliminate or severely restrict the number of visas awarded to Hispanics because they are “overrepresented” in our immigrant population?