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"Acting White" and Desegregation
August 3, 2010 5:22 PM   Subscribe

A new book begins with a quotation from Barack Obama's speech to the Democratic National Convention in 2004: "Go into any inner-city neighborhood, and folks will tell you that government alone can't teach kids to learn. They know that parents have to teach, that children can't achieve unless we raise their expectations and turn off the television sets and eradicate the slander that says a black youth with a book is acting white." The book is Acting White: The Ironic Legacy of Desegregation by Stuart Buck. Buck argues that -- per his subtitle -- the "acting white" phenomenon is the result of the desegregation of America's public schools mandated by the famous 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education (decision, Wikipedia). Taking this book as a jumping-off point, John McWhorter and Richard Thompson Ford have a 36-minute conversation about the "acting white" phenomenon and its connection to desegregation. (In addition to that video dialogue, or "diavlog," you can download the conversation as a podcast.)

Jamelle Bouie responds to McWhorter and Ford's diavlog on the American Prospect blog, saying:
this exchange is almost entirely anecdotal; if you set aside personal childhood memories, there simply isn't much broad empirical evidence for the claim that black students in integrated settings have a racialized antipathy toward educational achievement. . . . Don't get me wrong, I sympathize with McWhorter and Buck. As a kid, my black classmates regularly teased me for "dressing white," "talking white," and "acting white." . . . I was a nerd, and those kids responded accordingly. Was this unpleasant? Absolutely. Was it evidence of a debilitating black pathology? Not at all."
McWhorter responds that although he does have plenty of anecdotal evidence, there is also empirical evidence:
a key study by Karolyn Tyson, William Darity Jr. and Domini Castellino showed precisely this, that charges of ''acting white'' were most common in integrated schools large enough to have a robust black cohort. Not to mention that we have an entire ethnography on the topic; Berkeley anthropologist John Ogbu's book on Shaker Heights, Ohio, dissected how middle-class black students there regularly pull down one another's grades because of the ''acting white'' notion. Harvard economist Roland Fryer's work on "acting white" charges clinches the case. He showed that in a massive sample, black teens were less likely to be popular the higher their grades were -- and no, this was not just the plight of the American nerd, because the proportion was much higher than among whites and Asians.
Here are reviews of the Acting White book by McWhorter and Ford. McWhorter effusively praises the book and says:
Buck does not mean that the notoriously lousy all-black inner-city schools should be our model for success. But in the increasing numbers of all-black charter schools, as well as public ones turned around by dynamic principals, students calling one another “white” for liking schools is as unheard of as it was in the black schools of yesteryear. Our visceral recoil today at any conception of an all-black school as reminiscent of shabby one-room schoolhouses in the segregated Deep South must be discontinued.
Ford gives more cautious praise for Acting White, and he makes this sobering statement:
Buck's focus on schools neglects the bigger picture. The power of the epithet "acting white" is just one manifestation of a belligerent youth subculture among poor blacks that rejects mainstream institutions generally. "Acting white" is to education as "stop snitching" is to law enforcement: an attitude of aimless and self-destructive opposition, borne of deprivation, alienation, and despair. The root cause lies in the depth and pervasiveness of inner-city poverty . . .
NOTES:

McWhorter is a linguist, former Berkeley professor, and current Columbia lecturer. He first wrote about the "acting white" problem in his 2001 book Losing the Race, as you can see by searching inside the book on Amazon for "acting white," clicking on page 124, then scrolling up to start reading from the top of page 123 to page 126. Despite Wikipedia's description of him as a "conservative," he is better described as a politically heterodox critic of both the left's and the right's conventional wisdom on race. Ford is a Stanford law professor and author of The Race Card.

Metafilter has previously discussed the idea of "acting white" in 2004 (this single link to a New York Times Magazine article calling it a "myth," which Buck's Acting White cites and debunks in the first few pages of its first chapter) and 2002 (this link-rich post). Those posts, however, did not connect the phenomenon to desegregation.
posted by Jaltcoh (37 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, the busing programs were a total failure, at least in suburban St. Louis. Takes money out of the inner-city communities, separates parents from the kids' education, doesn't really do anything to fight racism. I haven't seen any datapoints that suggest otherwise. Why not take the money from the v-deseg programs and use them to actually improve city schools?
posted by Afroblanco at 5:27 PM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I just want to say that the word 'diavlog' literally just made me vomit.
posted by empath at 5:29 PM on August 3, 2010 [15 favorites]


If you grow up with enough people telling you that books are "too good for you", including some teachers, you are likely to start believing it. And kids get good at repeating it to each other. Add in many, many generations of colorism, internalized racism, "passing", and uh, there you go.
posted by yeloson at 5:29 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we're throwing out anecdotes and generalities, let it also be said that this happens all too often in white communities. More than once has a poor member of an impoverished rural community been chastised for "actin' above your raisin'".
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:31 PM on August 3, 2010 [8 favorites]


Politically, McWhorter is a bit of a winger. But as a teacher he is amazing. His TTC audiobooks on linguistics are very informative (albeit sometimes tinged with nutbarism) and hilarious.
posted by DU at 5:35 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Politically, McWhorter is a bit of a winger.

He was an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama and he says he generally does not vote for Republicans. He works for a conservative think tank (the Manhattan Institute) but has said he feels politically out of place there.
posted by Jaltcoh at 5:41 PM on August 3, 2010


I'm white, but I went to a 75% black high school. In the group of 100 or so of us taking AP classes, there wasn't a single black student. Same for drama club, orchestra, school newspaper. The reasons varied I'm sure -- only one of 10 or so AP teachers was black, AP tests cost $80 (but are optional), there were fierce rumors that you needed a certain test score or GPA to take an AP class (false).

It still astounds me that out of 1500 or so black kids not a single one checked that box on their registration form, even by accident. If I could understand that, I'm pretty sure I'd understand much more about the world.
posted by miyabo at 5:41 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


He works for a conservative think tank...but has said he feels politically out of place there.

He didn't really come across that way (except for being willing to think and argue honestly), but whatever. My real derail was how hilarious he is.
posted by DU at 5:43 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Since our first black president is also one of the smartest and most highly educated presidents ever, maybe those kids accused of "acting white", could respond, "Acting white?, No, I'm being Obama!"
posted by marsha56 at 5:57 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hm. I've had that "acting white" charge leveled at me a few times.

I got over it.
posted by black8 at 6:06 PM on August 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


one of the smartest and most highly educated presidents ever

I agree that he is very, very smart. But where highly-educated is concerned, more than half of all U.S. Presidents have been lawyers, so I wouldn't say that Obama's J.D. qualifies him for the title of "one of the most highly educated."
posted by The World Famous at 6:14 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


If we're throwing out anecdotes and generalities, let it also be said that this happens all too often in white communities. More than once has a poor member of an impoverished rural community been chastised for "actin' above your raisin'".

Class and race are interconnected, but not the same thing. It's not like those parents are telling their kids to "not act Asian" or something like that. It's a similar sentiment, but with a very different flavor to it.
posted by Forktine at 6:24 PM on August 3, 2010


one of the smartest and most highly educated presidents ever was Jimmy Carter - a nuclear engineer - and I remember how miserably well that turned out.

Isn't "acting white" as a black on black slur, just derivative of whites calling blacks "uppity" for "acting white."
posted by three blind mice at 6:26 PM on August 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Isn't "acting white" as a black on black slur, just derivative of whites calling blacks "uppity" for "acting white."

Yes but it's not quite the same. When Blacks accuse Blacks of "acting white" it's sort of a "crabs in a barrel" thing. I think when Whites accuse Blacks of being "uppity," it's sort like saying, "Stay in your own barrel" or "Know your place."
posted by fuse theorem at 6:45 PM on August 3, 2010


Class and race are interconnected, but not the same thing. It's not like those parents are telling their kids to "not act Asian" or something like that. It's a similar sentiment, but with a very different flavor to it.

It is a completely valid and interesting point that the kids are not accusing their fellows of "acting Asian" (or even "acting like Obama"), but I don't know if that proves that class and race are so distant from one another. "Acting white" and "acting above your raisin'" are differently coded statements with remarkably similar content and effect - and when the kids accuse other kids of acting white, they don't mean "white" like "white trash."

The statements are different, yes, don't get me wrong, and they come from different histories, but these histories are part of a shared broader history. It is a crucial failing of much modern thought to not see how America's obsession with race plays so very close with America's perverse inability to see its own thoroughly embedded class system.

It's also a part of human nature. Fuse theorem dubs it a "crabs in a barrel" problem; I've also heard Tallest Poppy Syndrome for similar idiom with a similar meaning. There is also the drama of having to succeed by adopting the ways of your oppressor. It's a complicated subject.

I look forward to exploring these links further. Thanks, Jaltcoh.

However, the term "diavlog" does make me want to jam pencils in my eyes.

...

one of the smartest and most highly educated presidents ever was Jimmy Carter - a nuclear engineer - and I remember how miserably well that turned out.

Yeah, the dude had an IQ of 180. Smart guy. But intelligence (let alone whatever IQ measures) is different from the qualities required for success in leadership positions. See also Condi Rice's career. She was a professor at Stanford. That is not a position for dumb schmucks. I don't doubt for a second that she is very, very, very intelligent. However, she will probably not be remembered fondly - much like Jimmy Carter, for reasons both within and outside of her control.

Reagan is probably not many people's favorite President on this board (he certainly ain't mine), and he was not especially well-educated, except in his ability to star alongside chimpanzees and (future ambassador!) Shirley Temple. However, he was an effective politician. His administration was extremely successful in often getting what it wanted. Social intelligence is more important than raw book smarts when it comes to leadership.

On the other hand, Clinton was a Rhodes scholar - a sign of a book-readin' smartypants if there ever was one - but he also had the social intelligence to run his administration effectively. He also had the smarts - before Dubya, even! - to hide his intelligence behind a good ol' boy persona. People often don't like people - let alone leaders - who seem smarter than them. It's not a good habit, but there it is.

(George H. W. Bush was also an intelligent man, and while I don't imagine he's very popular on this board, either, his administration was actually effective - and more to the point, he was better able to manage the egos of Rumsfeld and Cheney than his son was. He was also a wiser man for raising taxes when he had to, as opposed to cutting taxes just for the short-term gain. It cost him the election, but it was the right thing to do; he chose effectiveness over political expediency. While I'm not a Republican, I've always sort of liked Bush 41, despite his support for the War on Drugs.)
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:55 PM on August 3, 2010 [14 favorites]


Actually I think in one respect at least desegregation was a colossal success in a way that no one at the time was publicly addressing. It resulted in it being normal for black and white people to hang around together. It showed the kids, the cohort where these changes can take place, that color doesn't matter. Of course the lesson took better in some places than in others and the process was extremely confusing, painful and dangerous for a whole generation of kids of all descriptions. Though we're still working against the same problems there has been definite improvement. At 46 that past seems as though I must have dreamt it.

I'm in Canada lately with my wife who is an attorney for a civil rights organization and the same phenomena happens here - except in this case it's the Indians (First Nations is the polite term here) who if they aren't being a cliche Indian they are "acting white". To be an authentic Indian you have to be an Indian from the 1800's, or from the movie depictions of Indians from the 1800's; solemn and spiritual and complacent as you are. I think that long term the worst aspect of this may be that technology is eschewed. Of the land to a fault as technology goes forward and the gap increases.

There is no desegregation in Canada as there is in the US but it is similar for minorities in both places so I think attributing this "acting white"* phenomena to desegregation is perhaps focusing too narrowly.


* I want a better term for this - someone please tell me what it is if it exists.
posted by vapidave at 7:35 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


It is a completely valid and interesting point that the kids are not accusing their fellows of "acting Asian" (or even "acting like Obama")

From the LA Times:

The eight students walked into a room at Lincoln High School prepared to discuss an issue many people, including some of their teachers, considered taboo. They were blunt. Carlos Garcia, 17, an A student with a knack for math, said, "My friends, most of them say, 'You're more Asian than Hispanic.' "

Asian students who get middling grades often get another response, she said. "They say, 'Are you really Asian?' " Julie said. "It's sad but true," said Eliseo Garcia, a 17-year-old with long rocker hair, an easy manner and good grades. "I had an Asian friend, but he didn't necessarily get that great a grades. We used to say, 'He's Mexican at heart.' "

posted by kid ichorous at 7:39 PM on August 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I had a coworker a few years ago, 19-year-old kid, who talked about this a few times. His own sister would tell him to stop acting white when he did homework, showed up for classes on time, talked about wanting to get educated. He grew up on the South Side of Chicago and had a hell of a time staying out of gangs and drugs.

Then he joined the Marines, because it looked like his only option. I haven't heard from him since.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:56 PM on August 3, 2010


The video chat was super interesting. I walked away with the impression that the two men were arguing two very different things. I don't entirely agree with McWhorter's approach to this topic, and I do believe that Ford is entirely onto something with his points about class, race and context of the use of the phrase "acting white."

One idea that wasn't mentioned that I think is rather important is the topic of identity. It plays a big role. Especially where covert prestige is concerned. Black kids using this phrase could be calling out their peers on an inauthentic, false, or inappropriate identity, while at the same time asserting their own perception of (and belonging to) an authentic, expected, or true identity.* It's much more complex than simply characterizing it as using the term 'white' as a racial epithet. It's race mixed with class and privilege with in- vs. out-group community membership...this all funnels into identity. Ford seems to be indirectly driving at this, but McWhorter doesn't really want to engage with him on those points. (To be fair, McWhorter engages with him on other points, but as I said above, I felt Ford was onto something important and I wish they both went further with it.)

Also, I'm wondering if only we, the viewers, were able to see each the faces and reactions of McWhorter and Ford; they don't seem to be talking like two people who can see each other. It's interesting, because they're making pretty obvious facial expressions and behavioral responses to what each other is saying, and they're acting like they know they're being watched, but they don't seem to be re-acting to each other as two people would could they see how their speech was received by the other.

*I hold no personal judgments about what's true, authentic, expected or appropriate here. This stuff is contextual and I am merely suggesting some options for the sentiment that may be underlying the use of the phrase. I thought about putting all the words in single or double quotes to differentiate it from my own voice, but it looked rather clunky. Hence, disclaimer. Also clunky. Sorry; I hope the meaning comes through just the same.
posted by iamkimiam at 8:46 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't say that Obama's J.D. qualifies him for the title of "one of the most highly educated."

I would hesitate to limit his education to what degree he earned.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:23 PM on August 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm wondering if only we, the viewers, were able to see each the faces and reactions of McWhorter and Ford; they don't seem to be talking like two people who can see each other at the same time. It's interesting, because they're making pretty obvious facial expressions and behavioral responses to what each other is saying, and they're acting like they know they're being watched, but they don't seem to be re-acting to each other as two people would could they see how their speech was received by the other.

Yes, that's a good point: the two people in a Bloggingheads diavlog can never see each other at the time. Each one has an earpiece so he can hear the other person's audio. He may actually be looking at the video of himself while he's recording. (If you watch any of Michelle Goldberg's diavlogs on the site, she often primps in the camera like it's a mirror!) They're making two video files that are merged afterwards.

Sometimes (not in this diavlog) they'll play with this fact by making weird faces, using props, etc., so that the audience gets to see their wordless commentary even though the other one can't respond to it.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:45 PM on August 3, 2010


Thanks for this post, Jaltcoh.
posted by clockzero at 12:14 AM on August 4, 2010


I grew up in schools that were integrated by busing in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System (NC). As previously discussed on Metafilter, it's not nearly as cut and dried as presented here that "acting white" is a real social phenomenon at least in NC. The black kids who were in AP/AG classes tended to be the leaders of the school and class officers--in other words, they were looked up to by everybody and not, as far as I ever heard from them or anybody else, stigmatized by anybody. On the whole, school integration by busing was a positive experience for everyone involved and my friends black and white alike were pissed when some recent transplants from California successfully sued to have our schools resegregated (and then moved away again before the court order was even achieved).

I think that integration may be a complicated thing that is hard to understand if you've mostly lived in places where schools and cities are simply economically stratified and racially segregated and school districts tend to be either majority white and wealthy or majority non-white and poor. In my experience at least, when a single school district serves everybody, as Charlotte-Mecklenburg has by court order every since Brown and then Swann, school integration is a net good for a community, when the alternative is two schools a few miles apart, one rich and white, one poor and not.

I wish I could take you to my high school (and jr high, and elementary school for that matter) and show you how well it was working, but, alas, people who didn't take the time to understand have destroyed that system and put in place one that makes them more comfortable.

Really, Mark Anthony Neal said it better than I ever could: Acting White My Ass
...the “acting white” thesis has been actively used in recent years to demean black intellectual capabilities, pathologize black families and culture and used to turn back the clock on diversity in public schools
posted by hydropsyche at 5:21 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


From a report on a day camp for at-risk students this summer: "Taylor [age 13], was interviewed & she spoke FANTASTICALLY! She talked about how when she got to camp she was a little nervous but now feels empowered (her words). She also spoke of how she feels when people in her neighborhood pick on her for how she talks. She said "They say I sound white but I don't sound white or black- I sound like Taylor". It was a very moving conversation."
posted by tizzie at 5:37 AM on August 4, 2010


Helping I hope. I think hydropsyche must have meant that last link to point here:
'Acting White' My Ass: Beyond the Myths of Black Student Underperformance
posted by vapidave at 6:10 AM on August 4, 2010


Oh, jeez, thank you vapidave. Obviously a copy/paste error occurred.
posted by hydropsyche at 6:30 AM on August 4, 2010


Isn't "acting white" as a black on black slur, just derivative of whites calling blacks "uppity" for "acting white."

This is a big part of the book.

According to the author, prior to desegregation, "acting white" was a charge usually laid by whites against blacks whom they considered "uppity."

Following desegregation, "acting white" was a charge usually laid by blacks against fellow blacks.

He has not picked desegregation as an arbitrary historical moment, but considers it the pivot point of that change. Part of the book is an attempt to substantiate precisely this claim.
posted by jefficator at 6:50 AM on August 4, 2010


See also Condi Rice's career. She was a professor at Stanford. That is not a position for dumb schmucks. I don't doubt for a second that she is very, very, very intelligent. However, she will probably not be remembered fondly - much like Jimmy Carter, for reasons both within and outside of her control.

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that...they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile." -- May 17, 2002

"Umm... I believe the title was, 'Bin Laden Determined to Attack Inside the United States.'" -- Transcript of Rice's 9/11 commission statement, May 19, 2004
posted by kirkaracha at 7:08 AM on August 4, 2010


If we're throwing out anecdotes and generalities, let it also be said that this happens all too often in white communities.

Yes, anti-intellectualism, social disapproval, and resentment of academic achievement in schools transcends race in the USA, which is why I regard with great suspicion the idea that social pressure from peers holding back blacks academically is somehow unique to that community or the primary problem at hand.

FYI, many of our concepts of busing and desegregation come from the experiences of cities where the track record is really quite mixed, but in smaller towns where there was "the black school" and "the white school," forcing them to integrate actually did a lot of good.
posted by deanc at 8:29 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would hesitate to limit his education to what degree he earned.

Fine. But he's still not one of the most highly educated Presidents in U.S. history, even if you count life experience as part of what makes a President "highly educated."

And now I have "The Power Of Lard" stuck in my head because you reminded me of Jello Biafra saying "Hey man, life is my college!"
posted by The World Famous at 8:37 AM on August 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would hesitate to limit his education to what degree he earned.

Fine. But he's still not one of the most highly educated Presidents in U.S. history, even if you count life experience as part of what makes a President "highly educated."


Well, there's also the fact that he got that degree from one of the two best law schools in the country. And that he was the leader of the most prestigious scholarly legal publication in the country.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:03 AM on August 4, 2010


kirkaracha: I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. This confirms exactly what I said about Rice: she's very intelligent, but history is not going to be kind to her. With regard to her handling of 9/11's forewarning, she displayed a mixture of professional incompetence and plain old disingenuousness, but that is different from being stupid or uneducated. There is every possibility in the world that someone with a less sterling resume than hers would have performed much better.

...

As for the diavlog: I enjoyed it. Thanks for posting it, Jaltcoh. I wish it had gone into even greater depth. I would love to see a large scale study on the accusations of "acting white" as they occur in various social strata amongst various African-American communities. How does it appear (or not appear) in the "bombed out shell" communities (as they put it) as opposed to the "Leave It To Beaver" communities (as they also put it)? How is do these phenomena contrast with anti-intellectualism and tall poppy syndrome in other communities, including the Asian/Hispanic community described in kid ichorous' link?

For me, the biggest questions are still in just how tightly the "acting white" charge is wound up in issues of class and group psychology.

It seems like this is such a rich subject to explore, and I'm happy to see exploration of it. To my eyes, however, it seems like there is still very much to learn.

BTW, hyropsyche's link is an interesting blog post, and Scott Buck himself seems to have commented on it.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:03 AM on August 4, 2010


Well, there's also the fact that [Barack Obama] got that degree from one of the two best law schools in the country. And that he was the leader of the most prestigious scholarly legal publication in the country.

He's also one of the few Presidents in living memory to not disguise or hide his intelligence or education. I don't think there's a way to tell if Obama is "smarter" than Clinton or Bush 41 (or Bush 43 or Reagan or Carter or Nixon), but Obama is demonstrative in a way that they were not.

It's funny, then, that Obama has had to weather so many accusations of being an empty suit or of having style over substance, in large part for speaking as eloquently as the top Harvard lawyer that he is, and not as a Rhodes Scholar acting like Bubba, or a Yale man acting like an even-tempered, plain-speaking uncle.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:12 AM on August 4, 2010


vapidave : Actually I think in one respect at least desegregation was a colossal success in a way that no one at the time was publicly addressing. It resulted in it being normal for black and white people to hang around together.

hydropsyche : In my experience at least, when a single school district serves everybody, as Charlotte-Mecklenburg has by court order every since Brown and then Swann, school integration is a net good for a community, when the alternative is two schools a few miles apart, one rich and white, one poor and not.

My experience (in suburban St. Louis schools) was not the same as vapidave. hydropsyche may be on to something here, but since I never went to a school where the system worked, I cannot speak to that.

What did I see at my school?

It was depressing.

The black kids mostly stuck with the black kids, the white kids hung out with the white kids. The exceptions were the few black kids who actually lived in the suburbs. If you looked at the cafeteria at lunch time, you would see a picture of total self-segregation. I think the only real mixing happened on sports teams. So okay, that was something. Did it make the whole program worthwhile? Doubtful.

However, I will say that, of the situations hydropsyche mentioned, this was definitely the latter and not the former. The school was in one of the wealthiest districts of St. Louis County. The black kids came from inner-city St. Louis, which is kind of a hellhole. I have no doubt that these kids had rough lives.

I remember at one point one of the white kids at my school died from some sort of teenage accident. This was announced over the loudspeakers, and there was a school-wide Moment Of Silence. That same year, one of the black kids died. No Moment Of Silence. Apparently, the only person who noticed this was the (anonymous) dude who wrote the school's underground newspaper. (remember zines?) There was some choice quote about how "death doesn't matter if it happens to somebody north of Delmar Boulevard." Shortly after this issue's publication, whaddaya know, announcement over the loudspeaker, Moment Of Silence.

I just remember that the white and black students at my school had totally different cultures, totally different ways of interacting, and there was no effort made by anyone to bridge the two.

I don't know if the busing did any favors for the kids involved; if their academic scores improved or what. I wasn't in any AP classes, so I cannot speak to their racial composition. But socially, busing was a total failure, and I feel that (at least in suburban St. Louis) that money would have been better spent improving the education for all the students at an inner-city school, not just the few who chose to be bused out to the County.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:47 AM on August 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


I remember at one point one of the white kids at my school died from some sort of teenage accident. This was announced over the loudspeakers, and there was a school-wide Moment Of Silence. That same year, one of the black kids died. No Moment Of Silence.

...wow.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:50 AM on August 4, 2010


Afroblanco: I find your comment totally fascinating. I wish I knew what made Charlotte-Mecklenburg so successful when so many people think bad things about busing and stories like yours support their opinions. Maybe part of it is that even at the height of Jim Crow the city was segregated by neighborhood, but those neighborhoods were close together. Busing did not destroy communities the way people say it did in other places because whole neighborhoods were sent to a school which was nearly as close (sometimes even closer) than the one they would have gone to under segregation. Even in the "suburbs", the story was much the same. The little farm towns that had become suburbs had always had a "black part of town" and so it was just a matter of sending everyone from the same town to the same school, rather than two different schools. I would definitely and unconditionally agree with vapidave that integration gave us the opportunity to interact and get to know each other, and changed our lives for the better that way. But maybe the truth is that our lives were never as segregated to begin with as those in other parts of the country.
posted by hydropsyche at 11:30 AM on August 4, 2010


I'm not sure what point you're trying to make. This confirms exactly what I said about Rice

My point was to give supporting evidence for "she will probably not be remembered fondly."
posted by kirkaracha at 5:36 PM on August 5, 2010


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