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Forum nameOkay Activist Archives
Topic subjectI got your cupcake right here, tough guy!
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=22&topic_id=4699&mesg_id=4709
4709, I got your cupcake right here, tough guy!
Posted by 40thStreetBlack, Tue Jul-01-03 01:12 PM
>Schools and their funding largely are representative of
>local mores: fiscal, cultural, and religious (last two
>overlap, but aren't the same). States, then counties, then
>town/cities decide how their public schools run. If East
>Cupcake, Long Island decides to flood its schools with
>dough, to the detriment of enarby Central Cupcake, Long
>Island; what is FedGov to do to even the scales?

You actually hit upon a perfect example which highlights the inherent inequalities in the system and the root causes that create them. Take Long Island, where a legacy of housing discrimination has contributed greatly to this problem. Nassau County as being in violation of federal civil rights laws. Here's an explanation of the discriminatory effect this system has created, from the Nassau Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union - http://archive.aclu.org/community/newyork/nassautax.html:

"The effect of this system is that homes in minority districts are necessarily overassessed and homes in white districts are consistently underassessed in relation to market value... If one examines the sales price in different sections of the county and compares sales prices in areas with a high white population (such as Garden City or Manhasset) with areas of high black and Latino population (such as Roosevelt or Freeport), the minority areas have a much higher percentage of overassessed property, while the white areas have a much higher percentage of underassessed property. ... for illustration, the Garden City home is underassessed by approximately 20%..., the Roosevelt home is overassessed by approximately 102%...

This racially discriminatory overassessment in poor minority communities leads to relatively higher taxes with increasing economic burdens on the homeowner, severe social dislocation and community decline, including a higher rate of foreclosure, a higher incidence of illegal occupancies and rooming houses, and a higher rate of absentee landlords."

- There has also been an erosion of the commercial tax base in these towns, putting an even higher proportional tax burden on the already-overtaxed minority homeowners: www.jrn.columbia.edu/studentwork/race/2002/school-zubin.shtml

"... Roosevelt's commercial base has eroded over the past two decades and (residents) blame it partly on what they see as a form of governmental racism. "The United States Department of Housing and Development came into Roosevelt and took 65 percent of our commercially zoned land and converted them into homes," Summerville said. "How can you do such a thing to a town?" He described other instances in which local and state government turned down opportunities for Roosevelt to increase its commercial tax base and hence lessen the tax burden of residents.

To critics, an example of how money leaves Roosevelt and never returns is the Roosevelt Field Mall in well-to-do Garden City, north of Roosevelt. It teems with crowds and many Roosevelt residents shop there. "We go there and spend our money on items and pay taxes, and nothing comes back to us," said William Horton, a resident of Roosevelt. "We are helping support an already wealthy neighborhood while ours gets poorer every year. ...The average Roosevelt household has an annual income of $25,000 but pays $6,400 in property taxes or about 25 percent of its income, officials say. In neighboring towns the percentage drops to about 8 percent."

- Due to the fact that public school funding is supported by a community's tax base, this creates an "Roosevelt, with a population of 15,000, is only 30 minutes from Manhattan. It also is predominantly black - and racially isolated from nearby affluent white communities. The school system has been historically under-funded. It lacks a commercial tax base to help pay for schools. So while the community has a high school-tax rate it is unable to generate sufficient revenue for education."

- These factors have created what Kozol describes as the "Savage Inequalities" of the American educational system. Roosevelt and Garden City are perfect examples of this: they're like 4 miles down the road from each other, and yet are light-years apart (just to give you a mental picture of how vastly different these two places are: Chuck D is from Roosevelt, and John Tesh is from Garden City - that about sums up the degree of contrast between these two places as well as any statistics I can cite).

Garden City is the picturesque Long Island town - affluent, predominantly white (92% white/ 3% hispanic/ 1% black), with a superb public school system, one of the best in the state, and probably the nation for that matter. Meanwhile Roosevelt, which is predominantly black (81% black / 16% hispanic / 3% white), is run-down, crime and drugs are prevalent, and it consistenly ranks as one of the worst school systems in the state, ranking right at the bottom with poor inner-city schools in Harlem, Brooklyn & the Bronx. It got so bad that the state was forced to take direct control of the Roosevelt school district last year, the first time that's ever happened in NY.

Similar problems exist in Hempstead, Wyandanch, and other heavily minority-populated areas of LI. So to make a long story short... the whole educational system is seriously fucked up, even on Long Island. As for the question "what is FedGov to do to even the scales?"... that's a good question. I don't know - I don't really think that there's an easy answer to that. But for starters people need to realize the serious degree of inequality that prevades the American educational system, and the drastic effect that this has on educational opportunities.

This is why I'm so fucking sick of people whining about AA being "unfair" - these people need to take a good, long look at how deeply unfair the educational system as a whole truly is in this country, and realize that even with AA, overall the scales are still tipped decidedly in their favor. Again, you sum this up pretty well - "if the perception of AA is 'reverse racism,' then there must be an acceptance that there is racism in the first place: that the scales are imbalances almost chronically against certain people (not exclusively black) and that if once and a while the pendulum swings the other way; to shut the fuck up." ... couldn't have said it better myself.

- P.S. Oh yeah, the next time you make one of your little cupcake comments about LI, you're gonna catch a Strong Island-style cyber-beatdown... I'ma take shit back to '87 EPMD style - "I stepped back, and started sprayin' niggaz / What a way to go out, out like a sucker / But I'm on track, like a Long Island train conductor.."