In New York City, "separate but equal" has made a forceful comeback in the form of the "Harvey Milk School" -- the nation's first publicly run high school for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students. "Everybody feels that it's a good idea because some of the kids who are gays and lesbians have been constantly harassed and beaten in other schools and this lets them get an education without having to worry," Mayor Michael Bloomberg told reporters this week.
"This school will be a model for the country and possibly the world," Principal William Salzman crowed to the New York Post. Presumably, to eliminate all "worries," there will be no threatening heterosexual teachers around to teach gay history or bisexual math or transgendered geography. Presumably, to mitigate harassment, the school will build four separate bathroom and locker room facilities. And perhaps -- here's a novel segregationist idea in the name of safety -- Harvey Milk students should be protected when quenching their thirsts through the use of separately labeled drinking fountains.
Forty years after George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse door, educational segregationism is thriving. Close your eyes and you will hear the same militant refrain being echoed from public school halls and classrooms: "I draw the line in the dust . . . and I say segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever . . . "
The only difference is that Wallace's heirs have traded in the white robes of the redneck Klan for the rainbow sheets of the multicultural clan. My, how we've progressed.