Turn the Page: The Reality of Race in the Divide between North and South Fulton County

If you’ve been paying attention to SBPDL, you know that we believe 2013 will be the year all eyes turn to Atlanta. The battle between primarily white, affluent North Fulton County vs. overwhelmingly black, poor South Fulton County will come to a head. We have noted at VDare [Obama, Romney, Who Cares? Secession Is Returning To America, 9-3-12] that the smell of 1861 is in the air; and the time is ripe for a nation-shattering moment.

The racial clustering in Atlanta (millennial edition)

More fuel to fire – inadvertently – was recently applied by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, with writer Jeffry Scott sticking strictly to “Journalism 101” in a story on the great divide between SAT scores produced by the students in North Fulton versus those of South Fulton [Great divide lurks beneath Fulton’s SAT success, 9-30-2012]:

Fulton County could serve as a core sample of all the ethnic, cultural and economic diversity of metro Atlanta, stretching about 80 miles from the north to the south, from the suburbs through the heart of the city. When SAT scores were announced last week it was like taking the latest reading on the impact of those influences on public schools.

By many measures, Fulton excelled. Six of the top 10 performing public schools in the state were in the county, and the district’s overall increase of 20 points bested that of its rival core counties of DeKalb, Gwinnett and Cobb (which showed a 2 point drop).

But there was an undertow to the numbers: The average score for the 11 north Fulton high schools was 1613 out of a possible 2400. That was 362 points higher than the average of 1251 scored by the five high schools in the less-affluent south end of the county — Banneker, Creekside, Langston Hughes, TriCities and Westlake.

Noticing any important information missing? The racial data would be incredible important to determining if, once again, that pesky racial gap in achievement is present in Fulton County too. That 362 point difference is important, if not a bit skewed. Only those students hoping to go to college take the SAT, and because South Fulton is overwhelmingly black, you have to wonder (what percentage) how many of these students opted out of taking the SAT.

Had they taken the test, what would the point differences have been?

But doesn’t the SAT score difference between the sons and daughters of North/South Fulton County bespeak something much, much more important. Namely, why North Fulton is full of thriving communities, high property value, and the center of job growth/private industry employment in the Atlanta area; conversely, why South Fulton is the area of the city most reliant on welfare and public employment, and where job stagnation and blight is most commonly found.

In the important Brookings Institute study Moving Beyond Sprawl: The Challenge for Metropolitan Atlanta let slip some hugely important stats in understanding the racial divide between North and South Fulton:

  • The Atlanta region’s poverty challenge has a strong racial dimension. A 1999 study found that 91 percent of the welfare recipients in the City of Atlanta are African- American, and only 4 percent are white. In the Atlanta region as a whole, 70 percent of welfare recipients are African-American and 19 percent are white. Welfare recipients who are black are concentrated in predominantly black, high-poverty neighborhoods: fewer than 10 percent of welfare recipients in the City of Atlanta live in neighborhoods that are less than 50 percent African-American. By contrast, white, and to some extent Hispanic, welfare recipients are dispersed. In the region as a whole, less than 5 percent of white welfare recipients and about 10 percent of Hispanic welfare recipients live in high-poverty neighborhoods.
  • There is little or no job growth in majority non-white neighborhoods. South Atlanta had a net loss of nearly 1,000 jobs in the 1990s. South DeKalb County, about 83 percent non-white in 1998, had a net gain of 324 jobs between 1990 and 1997. This is minuscule growth compared to the rest of the region. 
  • In Fulton County, the northern suburbs account for 62 percent of the county’s job growth. The area around Alpharetta in northern Fulton saw a 175 percent increase in jobs

The onus on the residents of North Fulton to keep alive the economic engine powering the entire region is dramatic. The study used words like “distressed neighbors” to describe those areas of Atlanta where black people are found in large numbers; actually blaming the residents for the “blight” and “distressed” quality of the neighbor would instantly require those studying why “sprawl” (i.e., white flight) exists to factor in racial differences in ability.

That ain’t gonna happen. Instead, the good people of North Fulton (remember, disproportionately white and educated) have set their sights on doing what they do best: building thriving communities that become the envy of their neighbors (remember, those in South Fulton are overwhelmingly black).

Sharon Adams bemoaned this racial imbalance when she wrote [No Jobs Near? Black Atlantans live disproportionately further away from employment clusters, Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine, October 2006]:

  • A study conducted by the Institute of Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School, indicates that a disproportionate share of the region’s poor and moderate-income residents live near the southern region of Metro Atlanta where job growth is the slowest. “Thirty percent of African Americans are more likely to work in areas where job clusters are declining compared to 20 percent of whites,” informs Myron Orfield, executive director of the University of Minnesota Institute of Race and Property. The study also shows that job centers in the Atlanta business district grew modestly during the 1990s by 4,400 reflecting a 3.9 percent increase, compared to the second largest and fastest growing job center located in Sandy Springs/Dunwoody, which grew by 62 percent in the same time span. Other areas of increased growth include Cobb and Gwinnett counties and Alpharetta. According to the 2000 United States Census, African Americans represent 7.2 percent of north Fulton County’s population, which includes the cities of Roswell and Alprahretta and whites represent 82.6 percent; where as the demographics of south Fulton County is 73.97 percent African American and 21.85 percent white.  

  • As job clusters are seemingly racing toward the north, it poses an increased burden for those who have to fight the traffic each day to keep up. “One of the biggest impacts in this type of imbalance for the region as whole [is that] it creates, among other things, an extreme burden on transportation,” says Tom Weyandt, director of the Comprehensive Planning Department of the Atlanta Regional Commission. 

Those Disingenous White Liberals (DWLs) are sneaky: “job clusters” are the off-spring of white people (as evidenced by the population data this article by Adams provides), while the greatest detriment to job creation seems to correlate unfortunately with a high-clustering of black residents.

“Blight,” “Distressed neighborhoods,” and empty business districts are the hallmark of an all-black area. Know what else is hallmark of an all-black area? Ethnocentric politicians who were elected specifically to defend black interests [County official asked to stop insulting north Fulton, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Johnny Edwards, 6-8-2012]:


The latest eruption of Fulton County’s north-south tensions has one elected official calling out another for publicly taking swipes at the Northside.
 

Liz Hausmann, who represents most of north Fulton, has asked Vice Chair Emma Darnell to stop insulting her and her district, and while she’s at it, stop haranguing county staffers called before the commission dais. 

“All this does is continue the drumbeat to separate the county,” Hausmann said.
North Fulton is 68 percent white and makes up more than a third of the county population. Its median household income is $93,555, according to north Fulton chamber data.
 

Dissatisfaction with the county led four Fulton communities — including Sandy Springs, Johns Creek and Milton in north Fulton — to vote to form cities during the past decade, changes made possible by Republican gains in the Legislature.
Northside residents have long complained that the county government siphons their tax money to the south while ignoring their needs, while Southside leaders contend that their money helped build up north Fulton, so it ought to reciprocate. The dispute has sparked a movement to split off the six northern cities and re-form old Milton County.
 

Were that to happen, what remained of Fulton would have a $36,930 median household income, according to a 2009 study by researchers at the University of Georgia and Georgia State. South Fulton is 81 percent black and Atlanta is 54 percent black, according to census statistics.

So there’s your 2012 racial breakdown:

North Fulton is:

  • 68 percent white
  • median household income is $93,555 


South Fulton is:

  • 81 percent black
  • median household income is $36,930

Now, why couldn’t Jeffry Scott’s article on the differences in the SAT scores between the two factions of Fulton County have included this information?

Red was the for the white candidate; Blue was the black candidate (2009 Atlanta Mayor Race voting)

We already know that Sandy Springs (located in North Fulton) has successfully incorporated, but this article published in Scott’s AJC just prior to the vote provides some stark data on just how reliant the black population of Atlanta – and, by extension, all of black America – is on the white population for job creation.  <!– /* Font Definitions */ @font-face {font-family:Arial; panose-1:2 11 6 4 2 2 2 2 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:Times; panose-1:2 0 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} @font-face {font-family:Cambria; panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4; mso-font-charset:0; mso-generic-font-family:auto; mso-font-pitch:variable; mso-font-signature:3 0 0 0 1 0;} /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-fareast-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";} h2 {mso-style-link:"Heading 2 Char"; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; mso-outline-level:2; font-size:18.0pt; mso-bidi-font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ascii-font-family:Times; mso-hansi-font-family:Times;} span.Heading2Char {mso-style-name:"Heading 2 Char"; mso-style-locked:yes; mso-style-link:"Heading 2"; mso-ansi-font-size:18.0pt; font-family:Times; mso-ascii-font-family:Times; mso-hansi-font-family:Times; font-weight:bold; mso-bidi-font-weight:normal;} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;}Race colors Sandy Springs’ future, Atlanta Journal Constitution, by Henry Farber, 6-26-2005]:
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Sandy Springs stands on the verge of becoming the second-largest city in metro Atlanta. But whether or not its voters approve cityhood in a June 21 referendum, the community will not be the shoreline for waves of white flight its founders inhabited when they first tried to incorporate in the 1960s.

That first population boom escalated into a barrage: Families came from Atlanta and northern cities through the ’70s, apartment-seeking baby boomers and yuppies into the ’80s and ’90s, and now immigrants willing to occupy older, smaller dwellings.

Urban gateway

Today, Sandy Springs is more of an urban gateway than it is a “Golden Ghetto,” the community’s nickname when it was Atlanta’s wealthiest suburb a generation ago.

At least one-third of the community’s residents are Hispanic, Asian or African-American. Few disagree with demographers’ predictions that whites will someday become another minority in this community tucked between Buckhead to the south and Roswell to the north.

The browning of Sandy Springs could color future decision-making as prospective city pioneers prepare to wrest control of government from Fulton County.
Racism charge disputed
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Diversity is a sensitive issue for city proponents. Their loudest critics come from south Fulton and Atlanta — the center of Georgia’s black political power.

Unincorporated south Fulton alone would lose $25 million annually if Sandy Springs starts collecting and allocating its own taxes. The most severe critics call city advocates racists bent on victimizing blacks.

Sandy Springs advocates, noting the community’s growing diversity, call the charge ironic.

“Whether they’re black, white or Hispanic, they need more representation for themselves, too, and they’ll have it when they’re in a new city,” said Gabe Sterling, a co-chairman of the city campaign.
SANDY SPRINGS POPULATION
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Pie charts show the following totals:
1960 total: 16,456
White (16,286): 99%
Black (167): 1%

Other (3): 0%

1970 total: 39,050
White (38,883): 99.6%
Black (109): 0.3%

Other (58): 0.1%

1980 total: 46,877
White (45,804) 97.7%
Black (626): 1.3%
Asian (257): 0.6%

Other (190): 0.4%

1990 total: 67,842
White (60,797): 89.6%
Black (5,152): 7.6%
Asian (1,106): 1.6%

Other (787) 1.2%

2000 total: 85,781
White (66,522): 77.6%
Black (10,332): 12.0%
Asian (2,820): 3.3%

Other (6,107): 7.1%

2004 total (estimate): 86,567
White (64,742): 74.8%
Black (11,126): 12.9%
Asian (3,212): 3.7%

Other (7,487): 8.6%

2009 total (projected): 90,998
White (65,617): 72.1%
Black (12,224): 13.4%
Asian (3,833): 4.2%
Other (9,324): 10.3%
 Sandy Springs is roughly 75 percent white today, debt-free, and poised to lead the incorporating areas of North Fulton County (and those cities incorporating in DeKalb County) to the promised land of secession: the creation of Milton County. 

2013 is only a few months away. In closing, it should be noted that in the hotly contested 2009 Mayoral race [for the mayor of Atlanta], the battle went to a runoff between Kasim Reed, the black candidate, and Mary Norwood. 

Norwood was the respectable white candidate, who thanks to changing demographics in Atlanta, forced a runoff with Reed (though she got the majority of the votes in the initial voting). The vote went strictly down racial lines as this 11Alive (NBC affiliate in Atlanta) noted [11Alive Mayoral Runoff Results – Dec. 1, 2009
The results of the 2009 Atlanta Mayoral Runoff between Kasim Reed and Mary Norwood].

If austerity ever comes to America, the reality of race is going to come smashing directly in the face of the egalitarian course the nation has been headed for the past 70 years. 

No where is this more evident then Atlanta, where the divide between North Fulton and South Fulton is purely a racial one. 

And with the move to secession (the creation of a new county), the amount of money flowing from North Fulton County, now a torrent, to keep afloat the primarily black residents of South Fulton becomes less than a trickle. 

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Stuff Black People Don't Like (formerly SBPDL.com) has moved to SBPDL.net!
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