Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin
queerbychoice

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Apartheid in America

Thanks to cacahuate for drawing my attention to the link that started this conversation.

QBC 101: http://www.salon.com/mwt/feature/2005/09/22/kozol/index.html
chisparoja1: *nods* it's a disaster.
QBC 101: that article says it's worst of all where you grew up, in the nyc area.
QBC 101: it says that for the u.s. as a whole, segregated minority-only schools get $1000 less per pupil each year than white schools . . .
QBC 101: but that in the nyc area, the difference is $8000 per pupil per year.
chisparoja1: *nods* that sounds right
QBC 101: the trouble is, the article only talks about the importance of having integrated schools, but there's another problem beyond that, which is
QBC 101: that even in integrated *schools*, the individual *classes* are often segregated.
chisparoja1: well beyond that the society is segregated.
QBC 101: yes.
chisparoja1: the neighborhoods are segregated. the jobs are segregated.
QBC 101: california is an unusually unsegregated state, and sacramento is an unusually unsegregated city even for california, and except for my elementary school which was ridiculously lily-white, my schools were fairly integrated. but the classes within them were not. the honors students were white, asian, arab, south asian, but rarely latino and almost never black.
chisparoja1: everything in new york city is "what are you"? what is your ethnic makeup, what is your race. where you live, where you go to school, what job you can get, who you can get along with.
QBC 101: also, when i first read that sacramento was an extremely unusually unsegregated city compared to the rest of the country, i could only think what *horrifying* things that implied about the rest of the country. because sacramento is segregated too. the neighborhoods here are usually not *all* one race or another, but certainly there are distinct trends.
QBC 101: and the streets are labeled with racial designations, so the minute you see the names "martin luther king jr. boulevard" or "lincoln village drive," you know what race of people are assigned to live on those streets. if there are going to be a few white people living there too, they name the street after lincoln because white people can only live on streets named after white people. if there are no white people then it's named after martin luther king.
chisparoja1: there are no trends in new york city, it's simply political lines on a map. you cross the line and it's another ethnic group. and while some may want to integrate, some don't. interethnic hatred simmers.
chisparoja1: that's another issue. whites are fiercely resistant to integration themselves. but so are many others.
QBC 101: you know how news articles lately keep saying that hurricane katrina has revealed the depths of racial segregation to americans? what i can't understand is how americans could possibly have *not* seen it before, right in front of their faces.
QBC 101: i can understand when the news articles say that hurricane katrina revealed the depths of racial segregation in america to *canadians*, or to *europeans*, or something. but not to *americans.* where are they living? in america, right?
QBC 101: granted, they're living in a separate part of their city than all the people of other races are. but surely they must be aware of the other parts of their own cities? don't white americans, like, have to drive past the other neighborhoods occasionally? don't their cars have windows?
chisparoja1: i don't know. there are many many things that seem plainly obvious enough to me, but americans see them as unthinkable. i've given up on it awhile ago.
chisparoja1: the hippy generation was supposed to have done something about it but they have completely turned their backs on it and this new generation is as bad as their grandparents.
chisparoja1: people are certainly hyperaware of segregation in new york city, that's not the issue. the issue is people don't *want* integration.
chisparoja1: they want solid borders between ethnic enclaves, like with like.
QBC 101: we have a creepy war on and it should be inspiring a massive youth antiwar movement and an accompanying more broadly progressive movement very similar to the vietnam/hippie one and that movement should be every bit as huge and visible as the hippies ever were. why is it not?
chisparoja1: i don't know. in Western Europe all indications are that the 'hippie' movement has yet to run out of steam, but in the USA it seems to have been crushed. to the extent that there is resistance it seems to be led by middle-class middle-aged women predominantly concerned with the deaths of young American males, which is already permissible dissent.
QBC 101: you will have to be careful never to walk on any street except whichever street is designated as the border between the jewish and dominican neighborhoods.
QBC 101: or maybe you need to just stand exclusively on the streetcorner where the jewish, dominican, and queer neighborhoods all intersect. and if they don't intersect, you have to leave the country. is that why you want to leave the country?
chisparoja1: they don't intersect by any means. ;-) they are hours away from each other.
QBC 101: i think there is something of a *new* movement in the u.s., an antiwar youth movement that is separate from and born after the death of the hippie movement. but the trouble is that it is an awfully *small* movement, not at all comparable in size to the hippie one.
chisparoja1: the queer neighborhood is itself split into a West and East. the West is rich and the East is poorer, borders on some housing projects and Chinatown.
QBC 101: is the poorer queer neighborhood still all white?
chisparoja1: it is mostly white, but not as overwhelmingly.
chisparoja1: increasingly there is peaceful cohabitation with the Chinese. vegan Chinese food has been set up by some enterprising shop owners.
QBC 101: did september 11th make your politics significantly more progressive than before? because it definitely made mine significantly more progressive. if it had half the effect on most other youngish people that it had on me, this country should be absolutely brimming over with a movement as big as the hippie one.
chisparoja1: i can't say it changed my politics in any major way from where they had been. but it certainly made me realize that much of the competence and centrism that i had taken for granted for among the American elites was simply not there.
QBC 101: i was progressive to start with but i had almost no knowledge of or interest in international politics whatsoever, so my progressiveness was confined almost entirely to domestic issues.
QBC 101: for me, it wasn't feasible to continue the same ignorance and apathy after september 11th that i had before. i *have* to believe that the same thing must have happened to many other people then that happened to me.
chisparoja1: i became more interested in looking out for the comings and goings of the American elites and i was flabbergasted to think that they seemed less qualified than i was to say most of what they said. i was also floored by the power and influence of Christian fundamentalism. now it's no surprise, but if you had taken me then into a town like New Carlisle with two dozen churches for a thousand people and having to deal with ecclesiastical high ups to get permission for anything i would have been shocked.
QBC 101: so it did have a major progressivizing effect on both of us, then, in different ways. it *must* have had a major progressivizing effect on other people too.
QBC 101: i *have* to believe that those other people it happened to are a huge movement just waiting to show itself. but where is it? why is it not yet the clearly visible huge force that the hippie movement was?
QBC 101: where are they all hiding?
chisparoja1: but the original hippie movement was a disaster as well, especially in this country. if it hadn't been then we wouldn't be in this predicament.
chisparoja1: they were misogynist, insular, anti-gay. there was incidentally something of a revival in 2000 under Clinton and it was Clinton who gave the orders to smash it.
QBC 101: oh i know, it definitely was. but it was still *big*, and if we had something that big then we could work on getting it done right this time. but right now we don't even have a comparably major movement at all. there's a *movement*, but it seems a lot more marginalized.
QBC 101: what do you mean by a revival and orders to smash it?
chisparoja1: the Seattle demonstrations seemed to mark the beginning of a decade of anarchist and leftist agitation, but again these things seem to have been smashed in USA.
QBC 101: you mean against the wto?
chisparoja1: possibly but by and large it just seems to have been good propaganda for the ruling elites. i couldn't stand Clinton when he was around and his authoritarian contempt for dissent. but quite frankly if he came back as a dictator i wouldn't complain anymore, he seems a great deal more relaxed than his people. in that sense it has really made me question things i took for granted before. for instance, i used to see 'democracy' as inherently good. but now 'democracy' could easily mean populist lynch mobs as far as i'm concerned.
chisparoja1: right against the wto.
chisparoja1: the world was momentarily shocked that such a movement existed even inside the USA, but it was Clinton who started up the policy of terrorizing demonstrators to discourage open expression of dissent.
QBC 101: yes, i agree about democracy meaning populist lynch mobs. a james baldwin interview i read in college made me realize that.
chisparoja1: Clinton saw dissenters as threatening to economic stability, both from the right and the left. but now his policies have been effectively used to strangle the left while empowering ultra-orthodox right wing religious groups to speak as long and as loud as they want.
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