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Lexington and Segregation

October 15, 2010 in 1950s-1960s, Political history

The textbook definition of segregation is “the seperation or isolation of a race, class, or ethnice group by enforced or voluntary residence in a restricted area by barriers to social intercourse by seperate educational facilities, or by other discriminatory means.” [citation needed here]  From the AASRP Race Dialogues “Sisters in the Struggle” talk yesterday I think it is fairly safe to say that Lexington still enables segregation in the community.

 The facilitator, Mrs. Valinda Livingston, was addressing issues with Lexington’s North and South end schools and how there is not much diversity.  The “white ” schools have more resources while the “black” schools are lacking in technology.  This is not what activists from the Civil Rights movement, like Lexington’s former NAACP president Audrey Grevious, would like to see.  It is modern day segregation and not fair for individuals that live in less than ideal socioeconomic conditions.  When Mrs. Livingston was talking about when she was a prinicipal in the 90’s and another principal called her to ask about to deal with those “type” of children (meaning the African American students), that shows a racist mentality that has been imbedded in the community. 

There are studies that show how segregation can affect a child’s self identity and how they perceive others.  An example of one of these studies was the Clark Doll Experiment done in 1939.  This experiment brought in black children to choose between a white or black doll, most chose the white doll to play with.  When the experimenter asked the children which one was the “bad” doll they pointed to the black one.  This shows a direct effect on their self identity. 

One of my professors last year was talking about how his daughter goes to a school that has mainly a white population here in Lexington.  One day she came home and told her father how she was ugly because she did not have white skin and blonde hair and none of the boys would talk to her.  This is a direct effect on African American children and not having a diverse learning environment to find their identity.  It is not fair that the Civil Rights activist endured all of these struggles and Lexington in a way is still stuck in the era of segregation.

2 responses to Lexington and Segregation

  1. It is sad to see how people have fought so hard to end segregation and it seems like its slowly creeping back among us. No race should ever feel inferior to another. We live in America where we are all equal and the color of your skin should not matter, but it seems as if it does.

  2. The issues of segregation in Lexington, Kentucky based primarily on socioeconomic reasons is not an isolated problem. I am the daughter of a woman who has taught grade school art in the Toledo, Ohio public school system for many years. The struggle for supplies, the retention of good teachers, and finding a way to give these children a fair education in comparison to students in the schools of surrounding suburbs where the affluent choose to live. Just as an example, this past year the Superintendent proposed the elimination of art and physical education. Why? To balance the budget deficit. The vote was not passed, and the teachers received a pay cut. What kind of fair education would these inner-city kids get when you can’t find any other way to balance the budget?

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