You are here

Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later

I recently watched a documentary from HBO Films titled Little Rock Central: 50 Years Later.  From the HBO web site:

The wave of desegregation that transformed the South during the 1960s began in Little Rock in September 1957. After Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus defied the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling and ordered the National Guard to prevent nine black teenagers from entering Central High School, President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by sending troops from the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army to protect the students as they entered the building.

But what is the legacy of the Civil Rights struggle for equal education today? To mark the 50th anniversary of the forced integration of Central High School, Little Rock natives Brent and Craig Renaud provide a candid look at the lives of contemporary Central High students in the documentary LITTLE ROCK CENTRAL: 50 YEARS LATER.

Brent and Craig Renaud followed the lives of contemporary Central High students, teachers and administration, as well as community leaders, over the course of a year for this intimate documentary, visiting classes, school meetings and assemblies, teenagers' homes and community events. Sharing the stories of both black and white students, the special reveals the opportunities and challenges facing them in and out of the classroom.

There are many interesting aspects to this film.  One of the most striking was how the school that was forcefully desegregated 50 years ago is today voluntarily segregated on the common line of race and wealth.  Another was hearing some of the black kids face the realization that their black peers don't care about school and neither do their parents, and they don't try very hard to succeed.  Another was how many of the black kids resent the advantages that the wealthy white kids have (which, admittedly, they do have) without acknowledging how hard the white kids work to succeed in their advanced coursework.  Another was a segment of a black kid admitting how prejudiced he is against whites.  In the end, the film was pretty depressing...both in terms of the situation we were in 50 years ago and the ones we are still in today.  We're certainly moving in the right direction...but it's obviously a long, slow process and we're nowhere near the end.

I give it 5 out of 5.


People gravitate towards folks that are like them. Common looks, beliefs, values, church affiliation, sports, etc. That is what we do. it is just more obvious when it comes to race.

I agree that what you're describing is probably a common and natural trend, but I don't think it represents the best path in a world with so much diversity. It may have the advantage of being more comfortable, but also many disadvantages. As illustrated in the current left vs. right culture/political "wars", it seems like you lose the patience, the desire, and even the ability to talk rationally with the "other", tending to talk at or about but not with each other. I think understanding/exploring/dealing with that which is different from you is an integral part of maturing, understanding, and giving substance to your own views and perspectives. As we gravitate to people like us, I think we set the stage for conflict and misunderstanding with those who are different than us. And I think this trend toward homogenization may set the stage for society to experience the worst the sub-cultures have to offer rather than the best.

You won't listen to Rush because his views are not your political views. I also notice that most of the blogs you participate in are usually COC people. The things you read listed on your blog are mostly or all liberal. Those are the things you like and are interested in. So when it comes to race the same applies. We are interested in very different things and because of color it is in the spotlight. If there wasn't the different of color we would just say that we all have different interests and gravitate toward folks that like what we do.When Chris went to Eastern, which has a high black population on campus he found out that most of the black kids did not want anything to do with the white kids. The black kids had certain hangout areas, ate in a specific area of the eating areas and whites just weren't wanted. He found out quickly what the world is really like. And he found out just how many of those black kids in his dorm who were there on full ride scholarships, but were not as smart or had the grades that he had.We can all hope for better, but we all tend to gravitate to folks that have common interests.

Again, I'm not saying you aren't accurately describing a trend...I'm just saying it is a trend for the worse that contributes significantly to many of our problems.I'm not trying to pretend that I don't exhibit the same behaviors that I'm arguing are unhelpful. However, I don't listen to Rush because I don't think he is a voice of substance...rather, he is an entertainer that I don't find entertaining. I do read (or at least's hard to find time to read much of anything) Hewitt, Malkin, Weekly Standard, etc. because I'm interested understanding multiple perspectives on any issue. Since I usually don't agree with them, I don't usually "share" them but that doesn't mean I don't listen to them. I don't think you can make an informed decision otherwise.I'll probably never accomplish it, but I've imagined and started to build a web site the would be a place where people could go to "hear both sides" of various issues (substance, not name-calling and attacking, etc.). There are some places like that, but generally it's hard to find sources like that for most subjects (which is a real shame in my opinion). Wikipedia can kind of be like that, except it has to be too impartial and often brief to include strong arguments one way of the other.So far, I only have a domain name and logo

Good luck with a site where you can hear both sides without name-calling, bickering, etc. Even on the airplane forums there is plenty of that going on when different building ideas are discussed. Lots and lots of bickering and name calling. And that's just opinions on building airplanes, nothing political or of substance. It would be nice though to express individual opinions without getting emotional.

My idea is that for each issue there is a moderator who researches the subject rather thoroughly and seeds the site with the basic pros and cons. Then people could contribute their opinions,arguments, refinements, etc. as comments. After a comment is made, the moderator takes the substance from the comment, adds the substance where it fits into comparison of both sides, and then removes the comment. Also, users rank the different arguments based on which is most persuasive/important/relevant so that the most important appear at the top.

I agree with most of what Jonathan is saying about the need to hear both sides. It would be great to have more listening BUT I don't think the internet forum setting is the best place for it. Anonymity and the chance of misunderstandings inhibit true communication on the internet.

hearbothsides is not intended to address the problem of lack of interpersonal communication or interaction. In fact, it is intended to facilitate hearing both sides by doing the opposite...removing entirely anything interpersonal and only presenting facts/arguments fairly without promoting one side or the other.

Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer