Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology
As neighborhoods change and public schools evolve to meet their community’s needs, redistricting is a common way of dealing with these changes. While the practice may be standard, responses to these attempts are often not. I suggest attachment to one’s neighborhood, historic racial patterns coming up against recent gentrifying patterns, and strong attachment between communities and their schools in these situations create the discursive atmosphere surrounding school redistricting. Examining trends in discourse patterns using public comments from two Brooklyn school districts, I found patterns of conflict-driven discourse, demonstrating that rezoning proposals activate community identities. Discourse draws on the concept of ‘community’ to shore up arguments as well as situate identity and political expression. Desegregation marks an important shift to antagonistic discourse over community threat. Further study in school rezoning may reveal interesting perspectives on racial discourse, as my findings show a contentious section of threat discourse coming from minorities.