The history of America’s suburbs and the ways in which they were built is inextricable from our racial constructions of whiteness. From the 1930s to the 1950s, racial segregation was systematically executed through programs such as the Home Owners Loan Corporation and the Federal Housing Authority. Neither of these programs would lend money to African-Americans, restrictions that became the basis of redlining in this country—when whites moved to areas predominantly composed of people of color, they too were denied loans. This was just one of many tactics that systemically enforced segregated neighbourhoods and privileged the rights of white people at the expense of people of colour. In the 1960s, when blacks from the south migrated up north to work and live in cities, they began to establish homes in places such as Chicago, Detroit, and Cleveland. More African-Americans were entering into the middle class, accessing better jobs, education, and healthcare. The result? Many upper and middle class whites moved away from cities and into suburbs, perpetuating racially homogenized communities. In the city of Petaluma, where The Girls is set, according to a 1960 census, whites comprised a staggering 99.2 percent of the population. According to Martha R. Mahoney of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, when suburban developments came about, white people were able to both finance and sell homes to other white people, creating insular neighbourhoods in which wealth and safety were engineered to correspond to racial demographics. This enforcement of whiteness cannot be divorced from how we read about white females’ self-destruction within these neighborhoods that are set up to nurture and perpetuate their presumable racial superiority....If you want to keep your girls off the pole and off the coal, don't let them be idle.
For women of color, any neighbourhood in America is moving and pushing against her personhood. But for white women in the aforementioned texts, their neighborhoods are static and affluent. These neighborhoods do not seek to destroy them and so in turn, they destroy themselves to break from the pattern of privilege society has placed them in.
Sunday, September 11, 2016
The Devil's workshop
SJW history is always more fictional than accurate, but one thing they do get correct is the observation of the self-destructive way that many white suburban girls react to growing up in a safe and secure environment: