Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Is Decatur Too White? By Design?

Decatur - The New White Flight 

Decatur is a small city to the south of Dunwoody, here in DeKalb County, GA.  What words come to mind when thinking of Decatur? We asked around and came up with these terms:  liberal, hipster, granola, diverse, wealthy, educated, Democrat.  We're not sure if this list is accurate, but it's a list.  Feel free to make your own.

Turns out, some people in Decatur think it's getting too white, as in too many white people. Some blame so-called gentrification. Latest census figures show Decatur at 73.5% white, and it's getting whiter (Dunwoody is below 70% and becoming less white annually). Decatur is whiter than Johns Creek, Acworth, Kennesaw, Alpharetta, and nearly every other city in Georgia.

Some of the Decatur elite will blame everything but themselves for becoming the whitest city in metro Atlanta, but it is its own tax rates that push poor and minorities away.  As real estate values increase, and with Decatur's high tax rates, many people can't afford to own homes in Decatur. People sell homes as the tax burden is too much, making room for more white people like the AJC's GetSchooled Ms. Maureen.  On a separate note, Maureen opposes new school districts in Georgia.  She has long opposed new independent school districts, and leases out her column space annually to guest writers  opposing new school districts.  Maureen doesn't care that DeKalb School District is corrupt, and doesn't believe people in Chamblee, Brookhaven, Dunwoody, Doraville, or other areas should be allowed to escape DeKalb's bad school system. Decatur has their cake (it's own school system), and no one else can have cake.  

Decatur has a great school system and wants to improve it.  That sounds great. Decatur keeps taxes high, forcing out poor and minority families, and keeping poor people from moving in. In October 2000 Decatur schools were 41% white, and in March of 2015 it was up to 61% and looks to increase based on enrollment data in PK and KK classrooms. Maureen will tell you that their (Decatur) schools are better because of smaller classrooms and better management.  We agree 100%.  But she won't tell you that a huge decrease in minorities (historically score lower than whites on standardized tests) has elevated test scores for the district.  

Those opposing independent school districts say that race is the main factor for independence, ignoring minority groups (such as the one in south Cobb) seeking the same.  It's the things Decatur does well (small district, local control, lower teacher student ratio, 70% of teachers with advanced degrees, increased test scores for all races, great administrators, etc.) that people in other cities seek for their school districts.  But the white hippie hypocrite in Decatur tells us to stay with the corrupt DeKalb School System.

Section 8 Apartment Building Damaged, Displacing 169 poor families?
Is there a new method of getting Decatur even whiter?  See HERE. Park Trace apartments is Section 8 housing in Decatur.  169 of 170 units are Section 8.  Decatur builds a new government complex that 'may have' damaged, unintentionally, these Section 8 apartments, according to a lawsuit by the apartment owners. If this building has to be torn down, don't expect to see 169 new Section 8 apartments.  Or will we?

Only in Decatur 
Decatur is giving taxpayer money ($109,000) to a group called The Art of Community to figure out how to stop all these white people moving in to Decatur. Read the story at Decaturish, the best site for everything in Decatur and the greater Decatur area. Decatur was 60% white in 1990, and nearly 74% in 2010.  A Decatur resident Don Denard said, “We have to be open to change. We have to have room in our minds for imagining a different way of being.” Apparently the change to becoming whiter in Decatur is not the change Mr. Denard seeks. It's Mr. Denard who is not open to change.

From the article, 'Mayor Jim Baskett said he was hopeful the plan would provide specific actions the city and its residents can take.' (to become less white).

1 comment:

Max said...

I have the perspective of a Decatur resident from the time before the City was cool, hip, or even a place to go after 5PM. Back then the Bathtub murderer lived in the Decatur Hotel, a place scarier than the Overlook Hotel in "The Shining."

Decatur is an 'overnight success, twenty years in the making," according to one of their officials. It's true!

And if Decatur was as cool as it is now, and predominantly Black, would we have studies being done to see how we could lure Whites folk into town? Perhaps the study should include ideas to lure single, straight males back.

This sort of thinking is the wrong track and that's a black and white assessment.

Could one imagine the rightful indignation if Dunwoody proposed a study to keep white folks here?

Great post Rick!