The Role of Race Relations in the 2013 Chicago School Closings: Background information when reading An American Summer

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An American Summer

Love and Death in Chicago

by Alex Kotlowitz

An American Summer by Alex Kotlowitz X
An American Summer by Alex Kotlowitz
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  • First Published:
    Mar 2019, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 31, 2020, 320 pages

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The Role of Race Relations in the 2013 Chicago School Closings

This article relates to An American Summer

Teachers and parents protesting the closure of Chicago public schoolsWhen people talk about Chicago, the endemic violence inevitably comes up, along with a sense of helplessness about how to stop it. That helplessness leads to apathy, and the feeling that the neighborhoods torn apart by gun violence are forsaken, failed places. But this attitude is as much a cause as it is an effect of crime and violence. In her memoir Becoming, Michelle Obama articulated the connotations of failure with Black neighborhoods: "There were predatory real estate agents roaming South Shore all the while, whispering to home owners that they should sell before it was too late, that they'd help them get out while you still can. The inference being that failure was coming, that it was inevitable, that it has already half arrived. You could get caught up in in the ruin or you could escape it."

The notion that certain areas are "failures" absolves those in a position of power from having to face the consequences of deliberate policy decisions. Nowhere is this more obvious in ...

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