White gazes of Black Detroit: Milliken v. Bradley I, postcolonial theory, and persistent inequalities

Muhammad A Khalifa, Ty Ron M.O. Douglas, Terah Venzant Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Background/Context: This article employs critical policy analysis as it examines the historical underpinnings of racialized policy discrimination in Detroit. It considers histories, discourses, and oppressive structures as it seeks to understand how policies have been and currently are implemented by Whites in predominantly Black urban areas. Focus of Study: As we seek to understand how policy is constructed in relationship to predominantly Black communities, we argue that White actions toward Detroit are based on deep-rooted and historical biases, stereotypes, and fears of Blacks. Research Design: We used critical policy analysis around the famed Milliken v. Bradley (1974) Supreme Court case to explore 20th century White American behaviors and policy regarding Black urban spaces, specifically in Detroit. Data Collection and Analysis: We pull from political, educational, and legal literature surrounding Milliken I and critically examine prior research and policies related to the case. Conclusions/Recommendations: Our analysis suggests that Milliken had a long-term deleterious impact on Black students (and families) in the city of Detroit, including the resegregation of separate and inequitable schools and the (re)entrenchment of White fears and stereotypes about Black Detroiters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalTeachers College Record
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


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