‘The other minority’: multi-ethnic school desegregation experiences in two Chicago communities

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Through the use of oral history and historical research, this article examines how housing segregation, and school integration and desegregation combined to elevate Latinos over blacks in two Chicago communities in the 1970s and 1980s, while whites discriminated against both groups. White Chicagoans and policy makers used the racial scripts typically ascribed to blacks as a guide for how to treat Latinos when they integrated the Ashburn and Chicago Lawn communities and schools. Racial scripts such as property destruction, violence, and protests were used to decide who could live in the communities and how they would be treated. Within the communities’ schools, bullying, academic tracking, and restrictions on Spanish language use determined which students were acceptable. When blacks were bused into those same schools, community protests against school busing elevated Latinos largely because they already lived in the neighborhoods. This represented the stratification of racial/ethnic groups in those schools and communities.

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