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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Charlene Regester, February 23, 2001. Interview K-0216. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Integration caused more harm than good, says Regester

Regester argues that the quest for integration caused more harm than good. Rather than leading to an improved life, she contends that integration eliminated black cultural institutions and bred a sense of inferiority among black students.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Charlene Regester, February 23, 2001. Interview K-0216. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

SUSAN UPTON:
How do you think the black community is now? How has is changed since desegregation?
CHARLENE REGESTER:
I will tell you one of the things that disturbs me the most as a result of integration, is as a result of integration I see, and I could be wrong, I don't know everything, I see this sense of blacks feeling insecure and having a lower self esteem in part because they have been thrust in these majority environments that they perceive as being superior. And that's what I see as very disturbing and very problematic.
SUSAN UPTON:
That they look at it as being superior...
CHARLENE REGESTER:
Right, and to talk white and act white and be white as somehow more acceptable. What's wrong with being black and talking black, whatever that means, if we can operationally define that. You can still have self esteem. I'm black, I'm happy, I'm proud, I'm not insecure. I'm not desirous of whiteness and being white. I mean, does that make me great or any better? That's what I see as very disturbing now. And this notion I see here now that if I go to a white school I'll be more marketable. Well, if you go to a good black school you have some good teachers and some good access, you'll be even more marketable. You know, so that sense if you're in this environment your somehow having a better life, career, access and that's not necessarily true at all.