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Don't Blame UsSuburban Liberals and the Transformation of the Democratic Party$
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Lily Geismer

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691157238

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691157238.001.0001

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A Multiracial World

A Multiracial World

Chapter:
(p.71) 3 A Multiracial World
Source:
Don't Blame Us
Author(s):

Lily Geismer

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691157238.003.0004

This chapter examines the Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity (METCO) and its commitment to equal opportunity and changing individual attitudes through one-on-one interaction. While METCO offered a rare example of interracial and urban–suburban cooperation, its focus on collective benefits rather than collective responsibility had wide-ranging consequences. Tracing the development of METCO offers an important case study of the trade-offs that suburban liberal activists made in their quests to achieve social justice. The organizers' pragmatic approach ensured the acceptance of the program in the suburbs and paved the way for later support of diversity claims about the value of affirmative action. This strategy, nevertheless, fortified the consumer-based and individualist dimensions of the Route 128 political culture. It ultimately made community members more resistant to grappling with the systemic and historical circumstances that necessitated programs like METCO and affirmative action in the first place.

Keywords:   Metropolitan Council for Educational Opportunity, METCO, interracial cooperation, urban–suburban cooperation, social justice, suburban liberal activists, equal opportunity, affirmative action, multiracialism

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