The first chapter of this humorous take on race relations threw me for a loop. The author writes almost stream-of-consciousness about a situation that we are not privy to, brings in real-life personalities, and devotes huge sections of the chapter to toking up inside the Supreme Court chambers (again, with no rhyme or reason). My advice to you is to read this, laugh a little at the obvious references, and then forget it. The rest of the book is far more straightforward.
I honestly think the remainder of the book is brilliant. Beatty transcends the serious theme by making almost every scenario amusing in some way. I honestly can't tell if he believes the "separate but equal" theme in any way shape or form, but he is obviously describing this thesis to see if there is any merit to at least proposing the idea. How do you do that? By making it something you can laugh out loud at, because it's being described as a farce.
Saying much more about his creation is not productive, since it's a ride you have to take yourself. It may make you feel queasy - that's a definite possibility because you never forget the weighty concepts - but along the way you're bound to recognize and discover eye-opening situations and ideas. Well worth the ride for that reason alone.