Looks like a setup to take down that level playing field…
Tag Archives: segregation
I grew up in an all-black suburban community defined by segregation. Our community was essentially an Island in an otherwise all white sea defined by housing restrictions and covenants.
Living in the suburbs in those days meant having ties to other black communities which existed in sometimes disparate areas defined by post Civil War realities. Your barber or hairdresser might be in another community. The segregated black schools drew from communities which could be 20 or 30 miles from each other leading to long bus rides, and by High School – the students coming from a geographic region, instead of a “community”. Social activities such as house parties could be 30 or more miles away.
Tying this together were the remnants of the 40’s era segregation. Many of the communities, if large enough – had a baseball team. Sunday evenings were filled with crack of a bat as communities met on local fields to root for their respective local teams.
So the “black community”, at least in the suburban sense that I grew up with was always a “virtual” entity.
The stock in trade of black conservatives is to discuss shortcomings of the “black community”. The problem with that line of “thinking” is that the black community in the pre-60’s sense – has ceased to exist. The remnants of those communities, where they exist at all – largely exist today as urban pockets. The black diaspora has not only changed the nature and makeup of the pre-desegregation black community – it has changed the racial dynamic of previously white communities. The urban pocket community is no more a representation of the black community than $5 million houses in an upscale Jersey community are representative of the “white community” as a whole in the US. Quite simply America has changed – and like any major social change the impact is complex.
John McWhorter discusses the impact of desegregation in this article. I find it amusing when people who never experienced segregation talk about how wonderful it was…
When Newt Gingrich says that housing project people don’t work, our job is to show that they do. When he says that Obama is the “food stamp” president, our job is to show that most food stamp recipients are white. When Ron Paul writes that we’re about to start rioting again, we are to make sure that everybody knows we’re not.
In other words, although this isn’t the lesson usually taken from these recent episodes, it would appear that we are getting more comfortable admitting that progress happens for us. Real progress, even if racism still exists, as it always will. And not just symbolic progress, such as having a black president. When we get angry at whites depicting us as poster children, we are saying that being black is less of a problem in 2012, even if it occasionally still is one.
Well, now there’s more good news. We need to trumpet it to the skies as eagerly as we do the news that not so many of us use food stamps. It’s about segregation: This new report by Edward Glaeser and Jacob Vigdor shows that black Americans are living under less of it than at any time since William Howard Taft was president.
As Glaeser and Vigdor, writing for the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, show, “As of 2010, the separation of African-Americans from individuals of other races has stood at its lowest level in nearly a century. Fifty years ago, nearly half the black population lived in what might be termed a ‘ghetto’ neighborhood, with an African-American share above 80 percent. Today, that proportion has fallen to 20 percent.”
Indeed, I used to work for the Manhattan Institute and am proud of it. But I am hardly the only one who will be writing about this report this week, and I would be shouting it to the heavens even if I used to work for Burger King. This is important news.
So often we are told that despite the civil rights revolution, black America’s big problem is segregation. Black people live together too much, we are told. And when everybody is black and poor, then we have to understand that the neighborhood must fall to pieces. Not enough middle-class role models, we are told. About twice a year the New York Times runs a story on segregation that pings around the country madly for weeks, in which assorted people are quoted spinning variations on “We’ve come a long way, but we have a long way to go.”
Here, then, is a story about the way we’ve come. From 1970 to 2010, segregation declined for black people in all 85 of the nation’s largest metro areas. From just 2000 to 2010, segregation declined in 522 out of 658 housing markets. By 2010, out of 72,531 census tracts, only 424 had no black people in them. And as recently as 2000, that number had been 902. In 1960, there were 4,700 all-white neighborhoods in America. Today there are 170. We’re everywhere! (More)
A sad note on the very week a long awaited movie about the exploits of th Tuskegee Airmen is released – Ace Pilot Luke Weathers was interned at Arlington Cemetery. During the War, at least 47 Pilots were awarded Purple Hearts for injuries received on combat missions. While most folks equate he Red Tails with the P-51 Mustang Aircraft, the Tuskegee Airmen also flew the Curtis P-40 in North Africa, the Bell P-39 Air Cobra, and the deadly P-47 Thunderbolt – which actually sank a German Destroyer, and was the first plane to get the distinctive “Red Tail” livery.
On the same day that retired Air Force Lt. Col. Luke Weathers Jr. took his resting place among other war and military heroes, his real-life story as a World War II aviator played out on movie screens across the country.
Weathers was buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery in a service that began with a flyover of four F-16 jets in the Missing Man formation, a special honor reserved for pilots, by the 113th Wing of the D.C. Capital Guardians, the same unit that guards the airspace over the nation’s capital.
Weathers died Oct. 15 in Tucson, Ariz., of pneumonia at age 90. His burial coincided with the official opening in theaters of “Red Tails,” a George Lucas-produced movie retelling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen who debunked widely held beliefs that black pilots were incapable of fighting in combat.
Shortly after the flyover, in which one of the three jets departed from formation, a caisson pulled by six horses carried Weathers’ body to his burial spot amid hundreds of the stark marble tombstones that cover the grounds of the national cemetery. An Air Force band accompanied the wagon, its drummer thumping a solemn beat as family followed on the chilly, overcast Friday morning. Family members wore red ties and scarves, as they had at Weathers’ Memphis funeral, as a nod to the aviators who painted their aircrafts’ tails red to set themselves apart.
Luke Weathers III, 61, said his father and other black Americans who fought in World War II did so to prove they were men, “and then they wanted their country to love them, but that didn’t happen, either.” Friday’s ceremony, however, finally delivered recognition of his father as a national hero, Weathers said.
This kind of attention to the Tuskegee Airmen is what the elder Weathers wanted throughout his life, said his daughter, Trina Weathers Boyce. Weathers was not vain, but he wanted to share the lessons of the airmen’s courage in war, their struggles for equality and their victory over a wartime enemy and over racism, she said.
“He would talk about his hard trials and tribulations to others, to children, because he never wanted us to feel like this (racism) is a reason we couldn’t make it,” Weathers Boyce said in a telephone interview Thursday. “He would tell us nothing good comes easy. He’d say there are going to be barriers … and you can overcome them.”
Before the Tuskegee Airmen were formed in 1941, black men were forbidden to fly for the U.S. military, even though they could be drafted. After years of struggle, the Army Air Corps began to allow African Americans to train for flight, albeit in still-segregated units.
Many of the Tuskegee airmen, which included navigators, mechanics, medical personnel and others in support roles, trained from 1941 to 1949 at the Tuskegee Institute, which was founded by Booker T. Washington and was already home to an aeronautical engineering program.
More than 900 Tuskegee Airmen were U.S. pilots, said Trent Dudley, an Air Force lieutenant colonel who is president of the East Coast Tuskegee Airmen Inc. chapter. An estimated 250 to 300 Tuskegee airmen are still alive. The exact number is not known because some have not registered with chapters.
Another district who has found out that Tea Bagger elected officials are toxic, and that the “throw the bums out” elections in 2009 and 2010 resulted all to often in letting the scumbags in.
This could be a bell weather of the 2012 elections, with voters expressing severe “buyers regret” over Tea Party candidates whose often radical hidden agendas weren’t exposed until after their election.
Voters in Wake County, N.C. headed to the polls yesterday in high numbers to reject a slate of conservative Republican Board of Education candidates who opposed a longstanding diversity policy aimed at avoiding high-poverty and racially-isolated schools.
The big win for Democrats and desegregation represents a big loss for conservative benefactor Art Pope, who served as the architect of the 2009 school board election that saw an anti-diversity Republican majority win control of the officially nonpartisan body, and who along with his political network backed yesterday’s losing candidates. Pope is one of the most influential money men in North Carolina politics and is a close national ally of the billionaire Koch brothers through his role as a national director of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which backs school privatization and whose North Carolina chapter helped Republicans in the 2009 school board race.
With five of the board’s nine seats up for grabs yesterday, Democrats won four races outright and ousted board chair Ron Margiotta, a particularly divisive figure who also serves as a trustee for a private school run by Bob Luddy, a close associate of Pope and the Koch brothers and another major funder of this year’s anti-diversity-policy candidates. Margiotta lost to political newcomer Susan Evans by 52% to 48% in Southwest Wake’s District 8, considered the most strongly Republican of the board’s nine districts. Read the rest of this entry »
At least DOE is doing something… No wonder the Tea Bagger set wants to get rid of the Department.
Department of Education is seeking to improve the quality of education for minority and poor public school students by aggressively launching civil rights investigations aimed at preventing district administrators from providing more services and resources to predominantly white schools.
Faced with public schools more segregated today than in the 1970s, the department is using the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to improve the quality of education for students from minority and low-income backgrounds. The department has outpaced the Bush administration in initiating civil rights probes.
During 33 months under the Obama administration, the department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has launched 30 compliance reviews compared with the 22 begun during the eight-year Bush administration. Investigators determine whether school districts have violated Title 6 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color and national origin in programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.
“The civil rights laws are the most sorely underutilized tool in education reform and closing the achievement gap,” says Russlynn Ali, assistant secretary for civil rights, who has run the department’s OCR since May 2009. She said President Barack Obama has emphasized that he wants the department investigating education-related civil rights violations. “This is the most important civil rights issue of our time,” she says.
Last year, Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced on the 45th anniversary of Bloody Sunday—the day that Alabama state troopers brutalized civil rights activists marching on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma—that the department’s OCR would significantly increase enforcement actions. Duncan acknowledged that over the last 10 years, the office had not aggressively pursued Title 6 investigations to improve the quality of education for minority and poor students.
The OCR received about 7,000 complaints last year, a record for the department. School districts are being investigated for a range of possible violations, including failure to provide minority students with access to college- and career-track courses, not assigning highly qualified teachers to schools with predominantly minority students and disproportionately placing such students in special education courses and suspending minority students.
The OCR has also investigated schools for failing to protect female students of color from sexual violence and not offering access to higher-level math and science courses.
Judith A. Browne Dianis, co-director of the Advancement Project in Washington, D.C., which advocates for quality education, acknowledges a significant change in direction for the department’s OCR. Ali served as deputy co-director of the organization from 1999 to 2000.
“For years, we couldn’t rely on the federal government to enforce civil rights law, so now we have an Office for Civil Rights that is finally taking up the torch,” Browne Dianis says. “During the Bush administration, we wouldn’t encourage anyone to file a complaint. The feeling was that even if you filed a complaint, they probably wouldn’t investigate or would say there was no racial discrimination.”… (more)
That New Jim Crow.
You would never have known it from American TV – but the Beatles refused to play at segregated concert venues when they came to America…
That just leaves that “White Album” thing! :)
With the state of Music and broadcast radio in the early 60’s, which was intensely segregated radio almost coat-to-coast – I’m not sure how many black folks actually “got” the Beatles before, or even when they first came to our shores, because many never had the opportunity to hear them. Their breakthrough was the Ed Sullivan show. Lot of younger black folks had a Beatles album or two tucked away in the collection behind the Motown and Atlantic albums in the mid 60’s…
The Beatles showed their support for the US civil rights movement by refusing to play in front of segregated audiences, a contract shows.
The document, which is to be auctioned next week, relates a 1965 concert at the Cow Palace in California.
Signed by manager Brian Epstein, it specifies that The Beatles “not be required to perform in front of a segregated audience”.
The agreement also guarantees the band payment of $40,000 (£25,338).
Other requirements include a special drumming platform for Ringo Starr and the provision of 150 uniformed police officers for protection.
But the security arrangements were not perfect.
The band played two sets, a matinee and an evening performance, at the venue on 31 August, 1965. At the latter, some of the 17,000-strong crowd broke through security barriers and rushed the stage.
The show was halted, and The Beatles were forced to wait backstage while order was restored.
They eventually finished their 12-song set with Help! followed by its B-side, I’m Down.
The Beatles had previously taken a public stand on civil rights in 1964, when they refused to perform at a segregated concert at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Florida.
City officials relented, allowing the stadium to be integrated, and the band took to the stage.
“We never play to segregated audiences and we aren’t going to start now,” said John Lennon. “I’d sooner lose our appearance money.”
The struggle for racial equality in America later inspired Paul McCartney to write Blackbird.
The contract for The Beatles’ 1965 show is expected to raise up to $5,000 (£3,167) when it goes up for sale by a specialist memorabilia auctioneer in Los Angeles on 20 September.
That Ed Sullivan performance –
I don’t think it is any surprise to most folks that America remains largely segregated along racial lines nearly 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1965. While race and racism play a part in this, by far the majority of self-segregation falls within the sphere of tribalism. Well to do black folks self-segregate in communities in the Washington DC area and Atlanta, and white segregate themselves in the suburbs. That tribalism has a lot more to do with the culture you grew up with in most cases than any dislike of other folks. In all but exceedingly rare case, nobody is going to stop a black family with the means from living in the ‘burbs, nor are black folks going to stop whites or anyone else from moving into any of the new black enclaves.
Whites in this country have developed an entire political movement, which at it’s core is a belief in a return to the “golden age” of the 50’s. Black folks don’t have many fond memories of pre-segregation America – and while the cars, music, and some of the entertainers of the period may foster fond memories, there is no desire whatsoever to return to the societal context or economic realities. That is, and fundamentally always will be a schism between the right in American politics and black folks.
Developing more recently is an even more dangerous hyper-segregation – that between folks on the left and folks on the right. The article below characterizes it as urbanized versus suburban – but I don’t think that is entirely accurate because there are suburban communities which reliably vote left. While there aren’t any major urban areas which vote right – that probably is more a result of the impact of minority voters.
Political and marketing analysts figured out some years ago that they could predict your political alignment by whether you shopped or ate at Walmart of Cracker Barrel – or sipped lattes at Starbucks, and provisioned at Whole Foods.
That political schism, now seems also to define where people want to live.
When weary voters saw the news that Washington had struck a bipartisan deal on the debt ceiling, it’s doubtful that many of them took out stationery to write Congress a thank-you note; it’s not clear how many of us even believed it had happened. Last week, according to a Pew Research Center survey, a whopping 72 percent described the recent negotiations in disparaging terms such as ridiculous,disgusting, stupid, and frustrating. Long before the last-minute, $2.1 trillion deal, voters had thrown their hands up in despair at the extremely polarized state of our politics. Read the rest of this entry »