Georgia Of Two Minds: Atlanta and Buckhead At Loggerheads

Andrew Donaldson

Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website Yonder and Home.

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44 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
    Ignored
    says:

    Who gets a say in whether a part of a city is allowed to incorporate itself?Report

  2. Avatar Oscar Gordon
    Ignored
    says:

    On the one hand, I’m always in favor of the right of exit.

    On the other hand, annexation is usually done so the annexed area gains access to the resources of the larger polity, so there maybe an argument to be made that Buckhead would not be as wealthy as it is without the investment of Atlanta (I don’t know what condition the city of Buckhead was in back in the day, so it may not be much of an argument).

    If you can claim that Atlanta made significant investment into Buckhead, then city should, at the very least, be able to extract a hefty exit fee.Report

  3. Avatar Chip Daniels
    Ignored
    says:

    If you start with the premise that this is a desire of the white suburbanites to punish the black urban population, you might be wrong.

    But that’s how the smart money would bet.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Is that what you’re doing with your segregated school districts?Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
        Ignored
        says:

        But what about your Negroes?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
          Ignored
          says:

          Not my question. I’m not saying that you don’t have standing to criticize Georgia.

          I am, instead, going with another option. One that says BECAUSE of your own painful past and present, you have insight into what Georgia is doing.

          Given that you have done what Georgia is doing, you can speak to your motivations when you did it and say what you were thinking at the time and what you think about it now.

          I’m not trying to shut down conversation, Chip.

          I’m trying to get you to talk about what you were thinking when *YOU* did it.Report

          • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I forget what big city Chip lives in, but if it is like most other big cities, it is a unitary school district, like NYC and San Francisco. It contains, as big cities, unlike affluent suburbs, tend to do, people of varied ethnicities in great numbers. It is the farthest thing imaginable from a segregated school district. People who have problems with integrated school districts move, usually to suburbs, or send their kids to private schools too expensive for all but a handful of families of color. You should address your questions to them, not to the people who live happily in integrated school districts.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
              Ignored
              says:

              I admit, I’m only working from published studies and stories like this one (titled “California’s schools are among the most segregated in U.S.”) rather than from not being able to remember where people live.

              Maybe if I switched to not remembering things, I’d be happier about California’s progress in practice.

              Happier about things in general, I’m sure.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You’re wrong about a basic fact. You’re the one who talks about “segregated school districts” when talking to the vast number of people who don’t live in them. Probably including Chip.
                If you want to talk about something other than “school districts,” like residential segregation, racial disparities in income, and their obvious consequences, or whether we should engage in massive social engineering to mitigate their predictable effects, that might actually get somebody somewhere. Getting basic facts wrong won’t.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Here’s a link to a study from UCLA that points out, in Table 7, that California has more segregated schools for African-Americans than, yes, Mississippi *AND* Alabama.

                Pointing out that maybe Chip lives in the part that isn’t segregated and, therefore he doesn’t, doesn’t seem to be an argument against California being more segregated than Mississippi *AND* Alabama.

                And if we are in a place where we are trying to talk Georgia out of becoming more like California, I think that insights from the Californians who live in a state that is more segregated than Mississippi *AND* Alabama would be useful. (Hey, is your state one of the states more segregated than California? There are only three! New York, Illinois, and Maryland.)

                If we’re talking about wanting to, let me copy and paste Chip here: “punish the black urban population”, I’d like to know what the thoughts were of California as they became even more segregated than Mississippi *AND* Alabama.

                I suppose we could argue that Chip isn’t particularly representative of white people who live in California, of course, but I’m willing to accept his insights into why California evolved the way it did.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                So your comment raises the obvious question:

                What should we do to cure school segregation?

                Maybe school busing is a solution, or redrawing school boundaries.

                Or since school segregation is a byproduct of housing segregation, maybe we can experiment with housing vouchers or even social housing, where the government encourages minority groups to move to white areas.

                Or inclusionary housing requirements, where any new suburb is mandated to include low income housing.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                It seems to me that the obvious question is “what could have prevented this where you live?”

                If what we’re going for is preventing this there, we need to figure out what might have prevented this where it has already happened.

                Or, I guess, establish that these two cases are different enough that what would have worked in California can’t be assumed to be able to work in Georgia, but that strikes me as a heavier lift than assuming that what would have worked in one place is likely to work in the other.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Look, you’re the one endlessly complaining about racism in housing and schools.

                I’m just following your logic to where it leads.

                If you don’t like these suggestions, we would enjoy hearing yours.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “endlessly complaining about racism in housing and schools”

                Man, those people endlessly complaining about racism in housing and schools! What killjoys!

                Do you think that the people who endlessly complain about racism should complain about it less?

                I’m just following your logic to where it leads.

                Part of my logic includes premises such as “this isn’t about what it pretends to be about”.

                If you were following my logic to where it led, it wouldn’t bring you to something like “you’re the one endlessly complaining about racism”.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Where would it lead?

                Don’t keep us in suspense man, share your anti-racism plan with the class.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, one of the first places it’d lead, it to talking to the people who did the stuff they want to prevent others from doing and asking “what would have worked with you?”Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Great!
                So lets do that, discuss racism and segregation with our fellow white people.

                Like, in this case, what would work to prevent the people of Buckhead from punishing the urban core of Atlanta?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So discussing racism and segregation in California would have worked to reduce/prevent it?

                If I can find evidence that people were talking about racism and segregation in Californian over a duration, would that change your calculus?

                Like, if I found something from 2012, something from 2016, and something from 2020, would that be sufficient to say “okay, maybe this wouldn’t have worked”?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If talking about racism doesn’t work, what are your suggestions for what might work?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m flailing around. In the meantime, I’m stuck asking people “what would have worked for you?”

                What would have worked for you?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                If you want to talk about segregated schools, you can do that. I doubt that you would endorse anything effectual to do anything about it, since it would require extensive social engineering and abandoning several principles like: people should be free to live wherever they can afford and people should go to school near where they live, and I’m old enough to remember what happened when people tried.
                But that’s not what you were talking about — or at least not what you said, whatever you meant to say. You were talking about “segregated school districts,” a very different animal, and one that doesn’t exist in most cities, because they are unitary school districts with diverse populations. Segregated school districts, where they exist, exist elsewhere. The study you cite is quite scrupulous about the difference between schools and school districts.
                It’s a question of getting basic facts right.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Well, for “segregation (but not school segregation)”, I usually point to “Zipwho“.

                This article on San Francisco schools resegregating defines “racially isolated” thusly:

                Since 2010, the year before the current policy went into effect, the number of San Francisco’s 115 public schools dominated by one race has climbed significantly. Six in 10 have simple majorities of one racial group. In almost one-fourth, 60 percent or more of the students belong to one racial group, which administrators say makes them “racially isolated.” That described 28 schools in 2013–2014, up from 23 in 2010–2011, according to the district.

                So Zipwho can say whether one lives in a “racially isolated” zip code.

                (And then we can argue whether zip codes are truly representative of neighborhoods, of course.)Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                Still having trouble with the difference between schools and school districts? It’s not that hard, and your UCLA study is quite clear about it.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                No, CJ. I am not talking about schools or school districts or what have we.

                I’m using the definition of “racially isolated” and zipcodes, now, for whether someone can be said to live in a “racially isolated” zip code.

                And if people wanted a definition of “racially isolated”, I was good using the one that applies to schools.

                If you would prefer a different yardstick, I’m open to suggestions to replace the one that I’m offering.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                You were the one who started this by talking about, and I quote: Is that what you’re doing with your segregated school districts?
                Whatever you now say you’re talking about, that is how you started. If you have recognized your initial error and have decided to talk about something else, or have recognized that you mis-described what you thought you were talking about to begin with, that’s cool. I don’t care whether you acknowledge it or not. Everyone else can read.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                CJ, you said that you didn’t want to talk about segregated schools.

                Okay. We’ll talk about segregated neighborhoods. Well, how do we measure segregated neighborhoods?

                Well, I don’t know. The best tool that I have for that is ZipWho.

                Oh, you don’t want to talk about that either?

                Well, we can get back to talking about how bad it is that buckhead is doing what buckhead is doing and pretend that it’s completely sui generis.

                Man, this whole racism on the part of neighborhoods is really condemnable, don’t you think?Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I didn’t say I didn’t want to talk about segregated schools; I was addressing what you said — whether through plain factual error or inartful phrasing — you wanted to talk about. If you’ve changed your mind or clarified your language, that’s fine.
                As for what you now say you want to talk about, the UCLA study you linked to, which didn’t make your mistake, is pretty good and comprehensive, and says a lot about how things got this way and what needs to be done to change it if people want to. There’s little, if anything, in it I disagree with. Do you endorse its analysis of how and why things came to be the way they are and what needs to be done about it?Report

              • Avatar JS in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Some people don’t appreciate having their rhetoric tightened.

                Go figure.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to JS
                Ignored
                says:

                If it’s rhetoric that can be fixed by saying “mutandis mutatis”, then let me apologize and say mutandis mutatis.

                Thank you.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to CJColucci
                Ignored
                says:

                Given that I think that addressing racism, much like addressing any other deep systemic problem, requires probably about 6 or 7 things that need to be done, I think that the UCLA conclusion that the focus needs to be on integration is a good conclusion.

                That said, it’s merely one of several things (and those several things include the lunch table problem and the whole segregation-within-a-school problem).

                When it comes to what *I* want to talk about, what *I* want to talk about is how to get Georgia to do something different than what California did and what arguments would have worked to get California to do something different than what California actually did in practice.

                Because it seems to me that the arguments being used against Georgia are similar to those used in California and California got worse over time, not better.

                So, again, what I am interested in is discussing what would have worked in the first place.

                Because what was done in California did not. At least according to the numbers that I’m seeing.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                What are some of those 6 or 7 things, that we can apply to Buckhead?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                What are some of those 6 or 7 things, that we can apply to Buckhead?

                Well, what we’re trying to apply to Buckhead is “don’t leave Atlanta”.

                The deeper issue of “how to address racism in society” is probably not going to require the same things as multiple parts of California is going to require to go back.

                Like, if Buckhead left and managed itself for a while, then we’d be able to say that what worked in California is likely to work in Buckhead.

                We want Buckhead to *NOT* punish the black urban population the way that California did and is doing.

                Which is why I was asking you “What would have worked for you?”

                What would have worked for you?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                I live in a majority-minority area, in an integrated building in the urban core.

                Part of what worked for me, in converting me from a Reagan Republican to an Obama liberal, was the constant stream of commentary from liberals about the corrosive effect of racism and injustice, coupled with the ever-increasing detachment of Republicans from the world I experienced.

                So, if you ask me what might work here in Buckhead, I’d suggest more of this, the commentary criticizing them for their bigotry and racism.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                So why did California, in general, get worse instead of better?Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                The constant commentary against racism, was met with a constant counter-programming that racism doesn’t exist, that it was solved in 1965, and besides black people are on the wrong side of the Bell Curve and black-on-black crime and droopy drawers.Report

              • Avatar CJColucci in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                All I would add is that it’s harder to undo what was done than to refrain from doing it again.Report

              • Avatar DensityDuck in reply to Chip Daniels
                Ignored
                says:

                “people yelled at me until I submitted” is A reason to change, I suppose.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                We want Buckhead to *NOT* punish the black urban population the way that California did and is doing.

                The scales and situations are so different here as to make comparisons almost impossible. Buckhead is a portion of Atlanta; the city proper is smaller than Denver, Portland, or Albuquerque; California is the most populous state in the US. Even if we limit it to LA, the city is almost an order of magnitude larger than Atlanta. African-Americans are now the largest demographic in Atlanta. In LA, they are only the fifth largest.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird
            Ignored
            says:

            I’m glad you asked.
            White liberals, like Chip, are just as susceptible to racism as anyone else.

            And when that racism is mingled with classism in NIMBY situations the effect can be an awful storm of injustice.

            It is a perennial issue here in Los Angeles where the white suburbs are often trying to do what Buckhead is doing, trying to carve out a segregated enclave and turn their back on the urban areas that support them.

            “That support them” is the important phrase. White suburbs will often rant about wanting “independence” but they almost never are, or can be.

            Most suburbs are in a symbiotic relationship with the urban areas- the city provides the jobs where all the suburbanites commute to, while the suburbs provide the property tax revenue the city needs.

            Its important to call out this racism and class snobbery of Buckhead and the various suburbs, as you are doing here, so we can view it honestly.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels
              Ignored
              says:

              It is a perennial issue here in Los Angeles where the white suburbs are often trying to do what Buckhead is doing, trying to carve out a segregated enclave and turn their back on the urban areas that support them.

              Looking at the numbers from the published studies, it looks like the white suburbs have succeeded in pulling it off.

              What do you think would have succeeded in preventing this sort of thing from happening?

              I’m of the opinion that performative anti-racism provides one hell of a smokescreen.Report

    • Avatar Brandon Berg in reply to Chip Daniels
      Ignored
      says:

      Someone with a less cartoonish view of the world might suspect that it has more to do with a desire to stop paying more in taxes than they get in services than a desire to punish anyone.

      Why would you jump past simple self-interest and go straight to active malice? Do you understand the difference between the two?Report

  4. Avatar Philip H
    Ignored
    says:

    State lawmakers introduced a bill last month that would carve out the community from Atlanta and make it a separate city. Supporters of Buckhead cityhood say they want more local control over issues like crime and infrastructure, but critics say the move is divisive and wouldn’t fix crime problems in the area.

    This is nearly the same reasoning used a couple of years ago in Baton Rouge to try and carve off the small, gated, nearly lily white communities in the south part of the city into something called St. George (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._George,_Louisiana). The desire to split off started as a tax dispute – the residents wanted a new school district so their property taxes would not go toward supporting the larger East Baton Rouge Parish Public School District (which are currently 75% Black in a city Parish that’s 45% white and 47% Black. When the state legislature told them no, they set out to form a city, which was approved by referendum in 2019 but is hung up in the courts. Essentially this is the next chapter in White Flight in southern cities.

    If you start with the premise that this is a desire of the white suburbanites to punish the black urban population, you might be wrong.

    But that’s how the smart money would bet.

    And if Buckhead were the first such attempt this would be funny.

    But it’s not.Report

    • Avatar JS in reply to Philip H
      Ignored
      says:

      So what’s happening is:

      1. Whites fled the cities to avoid having to live near and go to school with blacks.
      2. Time passed.
      3. Whites moved back into the cities because it’s cool and hip and gentrifying.
      4. Whites wanted to excise the parts of the city they moved back into FROM the city so…they don’t have to live near or go to school with blacks.

      Boomers, man. They really want to relive the 60s.Report

      • Avatar Philip H in reply to JS
        Ignored
        says:

        Nobody in Baton Rouge actually moved. The city grew so there was some neighborhood shifting. In 1980 the District was desegregated by Federal court order, and almost overnight dozens of private schools opened that were and are mainly white. My public highschool was 64% black when I graduated in 1989. My generation of parents is now trying to cleave the city to finish resegregating things.Report

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