Having grown up in the 1960’s America, the concepts of Integration and Desegregation were lumped together as one, and both were idealized. Looking at them over a half a century later, most of which has been spent in Israel, I see things very differently.

Before continuing with this article, I must say that one of the biggest changes I’ve noticed during my periodic visits to New York is the lessening of racial tension in the streets and the subway. You now see New Yorkers of all colors and accents interacting comfortably together, which wasn’t the case a half a century ago. You also see many very well-dressed and obviously materially successful blacks and hispanics, which means that people of all races are working and living together to a degree that was hard to imagine when I lived in New York.

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First of all, to distinguish the two terms, one can say that Desegregation is forced Integration, and history has shown it to be problematic and unsuccessful at best. This morning I noticed an article that reminded me of something I had experienced a few decades ago.

Black students seek nonwhite roommates, spark race debate
Students at the Claremont colleges in Southern California initiated a fresh debate about race on college campuses when they narrowed their roommate search to “POC only,” specifying in a Facebook post that they wanted only a person of color to join their off-campus apartment.

When a classmate challenged this roommate criteria, the Pitzer College student who posted the notice on Facebook doubled-down. “It’s exclusive [because] I don’t want to live with any white folks,” wrote Karé Ureña, who is black…

It reminds me of a time about thirty years ago, when I shared a podium with a local Arab, and we were asked all sorts of questions about our lives and thoughts. The group was Leftist and came from the mindset of Civil Rights activist America, and for them, as you can still see today among academics, Israel was a White vs Black situation, like 1950’s America.

As I remember the Arab man was the first one asked the question, which went something like:

“Wouldn’t you like joint activities and events with the nearby Jews?”

His answer:

“No, why would I? I wouldn’t want my family to socialize with them.”

The group was horrified. That was not the answer they had expected. They projected their concept of equality and an enlightened society on Israel and especially what they called the “occupied sic territories.”

Now in the 21st Century, I think that people are starting to realize that Arab muslims are not interested in integrating, whether it’s here in Israel or countries they are moving to in great numbers, such as the United States, Europe etc. They are not like the Jews who fled from Eastern Europe a hundred years ago, who quickly adopted American dress and customs to fit in. And they aren’t like the Asians of today using their strong work and study skills/culture to quickly climb the academic, social and economic ladders.

Back to the article, even the Black university students who are in a good college prefer to live and socialize among themselves, considering it a right for a “safe space.”

Food for thought….

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Batya Medad blogs at Shiloh Musings.