The Silent Return of Segregation

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segregationBy Patt Warden

[Photo: From University of Minnesota Bridge Blog.]

I think about the belligerent expression of anger and hate the white race imposed and subjected upon blacks during the era of desegregation. How dare blacks want to earn the same level of education, interact with white society, live within a safe and secure community and earn equal financial opportunity to improve their life situation for themselves, their children and future generations. My mind attempts to have even an inkling of an understanding that these desired accomplishments could ever be such an unforgivable crime; crimes which would afford punishment of arrest, physical scarring, violence and even death.

Today, the ugly verbal protests and violence do not take place; as blacks are “allowed” by being given the right to sit, travel, shop, live (selectively) and enter into a relationship with anyone of color they please today. Yet the invisible barriers to gain access to equal societal class, financial success and acquire any level of accumulated wealth remain in place today. White America is yet displaying the hidden, unfurled flag of segregation; separate yet equal. Unfortunately, equality of minorities is no more prevalent today than it was of our past. It is indicated by increasing numbers of poverty, housing foreclosures, unemployment, high school drop outs, teen pregnancy, and incarceration of black and minority youth who have no access to resources for life improvement or multiple choices to create a better life.

Statistics indicate higher percentages of segregation are apparent today more than they were in the 1960’s; in areas of education, home equity/ownership and representation of communities. Most of the schools today are segregated by ethnicity, poverty and language; in the area of language particularly for the Latino population. (Orfield/Richmond, The Atlantic). What is important to understand is the presence of white America in a classroom or in a neighborhood does not make one learn smarter or live wiser. “Simply sitting next to a white student does not guarantee better educational outcomes for students of color,” the U.S. Department of Education report indicates. Instead, the resources that are consistently linked to predominantly white and/or wealthy schools help foster real and serious educational advantages over minority segregated settings.” (Huffington Post).

It is this societal, financial imbalance of privileges which follow and benefit the dominant race. Privileges which provide opportunity for higher education due to better schools, better resources, and a better foundation for a well supported community by businesses and working families which “make up” the community. The invisible canopy of white privilege exists within a community to cater to that particular race; the community is supported economically, which gives back to the businesses existing within that community which makes the community appealing for even larger organizations; implanting educational and financial organiations becoming anchored cornerstones creating better job opportunity and quality education, making resources abundant. “The higher our social class, the more access and control we have; the lower our social class the less we have, and we may have no access or control at all of certain resources.” (Wolf. Dialect Chapter 4).

Systematic governmental housing programs were and continue to be an underlying issue with the area of segregation. Housing projects for blacks continue to be located in underdeveloped areas, isolating blacks, creating high crime, gang infested areas, low-quality, over crowded schools with minimal resources for quality education. This completely provides no hope for low income families with “truly disadvantaged minority students isolated in poor, increasingly desperate communities where teachers struggle unsuccessfully to overcome their families’ multiple needs.” (Rothstein, The American Prospect). It makes it totally impossible for low-income, black homeowners to afford increasing taxes or qualify for fair refinance mortgage and improvement loans; they are forced to sell to the yuppie white middle class buyers who cannot afford to live in upper class suburbia. This forces a proud homeowner into a community which is losing or has lost the essence of community with no hope of rebuild or improvement simply due to the fact the neighborhood is high percentage minority. Ethnic communities are razed and gentrified; depleting any existence of culture making; wiping away a complete community.

Statistical reports from 1984 show that public, federal and governmental housing are responsible for segregated federally funded projects in multiple cities. It is reported that in the last quarter of the 20th century, they never took action to reverse the effect of previous policies. They found that the nation’s nearly ten million public-housing residents were still almost always segregated by race. The few remaining predominantly white projects had superior facilities, amenities, services, and maintenance in comparison to predominantly black projects. (Rothstein, The American Prospect).

The dominant’s expression of anger and hate are not necessary to enforce upon the minority race; though its temperament is ever present. Even today, the non-dominant race is forced to maintain an expected position of submissiveness with unspoken laws of limitations to the American Dream. The opportunity of access to success and prosperity is relevant of many factors; beginning with where you are born, what race you were born of, where you went to school and your level of achieved education, the field of profession you choose and where you decide to live to practice that profession. Unfortunately, as a non-dominant minority, with all the above factors applicable to your favor, due to the hovering umbrella of white privilege, your percentage of success level is decreased by 80%.

“The combination of high-minority, low-income education environments have perpetuated an education gap in America, as students from low-income, lesser educated families struggle more than their white and foreign peers to attain higher levels of education than their parents. Sometimes, even high-performing students from low-income backgrounds are less likely to graduate from college.” (Huffington Post).

The struggle continues in simple yet major areas critical of survival for the American minority family. As long as access to quality education, job opportunity and fair housing remain out of reach due to the invisible systematic barbed wire there will be continue to be segregation present.

Bibliography

American History. Separate Is Not Equal. Brown vs. Board of Education.
http://americanhistory.si.edu/brown/history/1-segregated/segregated-america.html
Web. Accessed 3/18/2013

Huffington Post. American Schools Still Heavily Segregated By Race, Income: Civil Rights Project Report. 9/20/2012
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/20/american-schools-still-he_n_1901583.html
Web. Accessed 3/21/2012

Lowe, Robert. The Strange History of School Desegregation. March 2004 http://epublications.marquette.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1087&context=edu_fac
Web. Accessed 3/18/2013

NPR, Segregation In America: Dragging on and On. February 18, 2011.
http://www.npr.org/2011/02/18/133848837/segregation-in-america-dragging-on-and-on
Web. Accessed 3/21/2013

Nesbit, Jeff. At The Edge. July 12, 2012
http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/at-the-edge/2012/07/24/study-of-census-data-finds-a-segregated-america-especially-for-blacks
Web. Accessed 3/18/2013

Richmond, Emily. The Atlantic: Schools Today Are More Segregated Than in the 1960’s.
http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/06/schools-are-more-segregated-today-than-during-the-late-1960s/258348/
Web, Accessed 3/21/2013

Rothstein, Richard. The American Prospect: Public Housing – Government Sponsored Segregation. October 11, 2012 http://prospect.org/article/public-housing-government-sponsored-segregation

Wolf, S. Rowan PhD. The Dialect of Social Inequality; Understanding Race, Sex and Class in the United States. (2007) Portland, OR

2 comments on “The Silent Return of Segregation
  1. Yes, our capitalist deck is indeed stacked, classist, racist, and sexist (an i might add speciesist). Cruel exploitation for profit and power is the ugly truth..

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