How Suburban Schools Are Struggling with Low-Income Students and Students of Color in Their Schools
Chapter 6. Conclusion: Where Do We Go from Here? Lessons from and for the New Suburban Schools
← 112 | 113 →Chapter Six
The history of suburbanization casts a long shadow in Barrow County schools. It is a district filled with communities that were constructed as “racialized spaces,” spaces where racial hierarchy and differential access to power were solidified by housing, transportation, schooling, and employment policies over many decades (Iglesias, 2000). Federal policies actively contributed to and solidified the creation of inequality in the suburbs. As Ta-Nehisi Coates (2014) wrote:
White flight was a triumph of social engineering, orchestrated by the shared racist presumptions of America’s public and private sectors. For should any non-racist white families decide that integration might not be so bad as a matter of principle or practicality, they still had to contend with the hard facts of American housing policy: When the mid-20th-century white homeowner claimed that the presence of a black family decreased his property value, he was not merely engaging in racist dogma—he was accurately observing the impact of federal policy on market prices. Redlining destroyed the possibility of investment wherever black people lived. (p. 66)
The combination of racist real estate practices that shaped the suburbs also coated the environment in racial fear. Integration meant economic decline. Keeping communities white was about self-preservation, ← 113 | 114 →and in particular preserving a space that the generation returning from World War II did not dream was possible. Their gains were at the expense of black families, however. While white families accumulated wealth, blacks lost wealth and generations to...
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