Collective action is the pursuit of a goal trying to be obtained by more then one or a group of people. This is a form of resistance that as been used against systematic racism. Throughout history collective action has taken place in multiple different ways to fight against racism. There has been different ways this has been done, but they all share the same goal to fight racism. It is not just African Americans and other minorities who resist racism, many white Americans with privilege are against it as well. As far back as run away slave, such as the Underground Railroad. With the civil war, where the south and north fought to end slavery.
The Underground Railroad was a method used to help slaves escape from the south to the north. Slaves that had previously escaped, and whites came together and worked on have more slaves escape from plantations. At this time in the south slaves did not have any freedom at all. So families with houses along the way would allow runaway slaves to stay at there homes, between different stops on their way to the north. When Abraham Lincoln was elected, one of the goals he had was to outlaw slavery in the United States. Technically this still didn’t end racism, but it was a step in the right direction. The south was so upset they declared their secession from the United States. The north came together with the common goal of wanting to end slavery fought, and won the war against the south.
With collective action, everyone has to be willing to risk a lot in order to achieve this common goal. Some contemporary collective action was the 2008 presidential election. In the past it would have been unheard of for a black male to even run for election. Though just starting off with the belief and common goal of one group of people they were able to put Obama in the running for president. With systematic racism at one point this would have been impossible. Most of America came together with a common goal. Instead of just basing are president off of their skin color whether they’re good enough or not. They made the choice of off the promises and view Obama had.
One specific issue that is resisted with the use of collective action is unequal education. There are many communities that are segregated to be all black and in poverty, one where this was proven was Chicago. The court found that the United States as well as the Chicago Housing Authority was guilty of racial discrimination. This proved that they were purposely putting public housing developments in black neighborhoods, while limiting the number of blacks that they placed in white neighborhoods. By doing that it caused a ripple of negative effects for blacks, including unequal education. The schools placed in these neighborhoods are overcrowded, with not enough teachers to have one on one time with the students.
One contemporary action that was taken to fight against this was Alex Kotlowitz writing and publishing the book, there are no Children here. This book is widely known and educated many on the problems and results of children not all getting an equal education. Kotlowitz wrote a story on two children living in public housing in Henry Horner located in Chicago, Illinois. He discussed how overcrowded the class rooms were, having almost 50 students to one teacher. Making it nearly impossible for the students to get the individual attention they needed. With this book being so widely known and getting the story out there, many people started stepping up. People came together and made many changes in this neighborhood, like fixing up there living conditions. Making the school a safer place, and offering student with high academic different options.
Last year the National Commission on Teaching and America’s Future, published a blueprint listing a set of rules to ensure that each student would be taught by a qualified, caring and patient teacher. Connecticut, Kentucky, Minnesota, and North Carolina are all states that have equalized education spending.
Unequal education causes a ripple of negative effects. With many black communities children are not given the same education as a child living in a white community. Therefore the white child is going to have a chance at getting a better paying job, and left out of harms way. The child not getting a proper education is more likely to drop out, or never make it on to receiving a high education, turning to the street for a way to make money.
To improve these classrooms and give everyone an equal education they need to hire teachers who are willing to help students learn. Theses schools built in minorities neighborhoods, also need to be funded with the same amount of money as neighborhood that have a high white residency.
I think since it has actually been admitted public housing was purposely segregated, we need to take bigger steps on integrating it. By integrating these neighborhoods the school systems will have to be changed as well. Making sure each child is given the same opportunities with education.
There Are No Children Here, written by Alex Kotlowitz
Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools, written by Jonathan Kozol
Black Resources, Inc.
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People