Thursday, April 13, 2006

Segregation in Omaha

Did the past 40 years ever happen, or was it just a beautiful dream?

I just told my husband about how Omaha's only black Senator, Ernie Chambers, sponsored a bill to redraw school districts along mainly racial lines, White, Black, and Hispanic. He was born in Omaha and has strong family ties there still. His response, "Hmm, sounds like Omaha."

The bill passed, 31 - 16, but there's strong and vocal opposition to it. But Sen. Chambers makes his case. Omaha is pretty much segregated anyway, since busing is no longer done, and the students in the the predominantly black part of town are getting short shrift. Giving racial minorities control over their own district would mean better resources. And since the re-districting would not happen until 2008 -- and there will likely be lawsuits to prevent it from happening even then -- there's time for lawmakers to study the problem and come up with a better solution.

It sounds like Sen. Chambers mainly passed his bill to make a point. Force the city to recognize the segregation and inequality that already exists, and publicly shame them into addressing the issue.

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