Monday, September 17, 2007

It's Not Just Jena

If you watched last night's primetime Emmy Awards, you will have noticed that this year marks the 30th Anniversary of the airing of Roots--the epic mini-series that finally brought the history of black America into millions of homes, black and non-black alike.

Now, wouldn't it be nice to think that 30 years later, the bigger racial battles were behind us? It would be, but we can't--as episodes like those in Jena, LA and now, Tuscaloosa, AL prove.

No one's hanging nooses from trees in Tuscaloosa (not this week, anyway), but as the NYT is pointing out, there's a racialized battle going on down there that Thurgood Marshall would weep to see: the rezoning of the Tuscaloosa public school district has effectively put segregation back on the map in Alabama (assuming you believe it ever left). To quote from the article:
After white parents in this racially mixed city complained about school overcrowding, school authorities set out to draw up a sweeping rezoning plan. The results: all but a handful of the hundreds of students required to move this fall were black — and many were sent to virtually all-black, low-performing schools.
Umm... did it occur to no one on the planning board that this might be a problem? Is this a case of, we don't know our American history? Or was it more a decision based on the arrogance of the (shrinking) majority--something along the lines of, "We are accountable to no one"???

Either way, it should be interesting to see what this Times articles does to help the case of the children who have been impacted by the decision. It's been great to see how the media spotlight has moved things forward microscopically for the boys of Jena...

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