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Suddenly DiverseHow School Districts Manage Race and Inequality$
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Erica O. Turner

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226675220

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226675534.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

Managing Competition by Marketing Diversity

Managing Competition by Marketing Diversity

(p.116) Chapter Four Managing Competition by Marketing Diversity
Suddenly Diverse

Erica O. Turner

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines marketing as another example of color-blind managerialism. It argues that Milltown and Fairview leaders turned to marketing, and particularly to marketing diversity, in an attempt to articulate an inclusive vision for schools while responding to competition in a “market” that advantaged and empowered predominantly white middle- and upper-middle class families and was exacerbated by open enrollment school choice policy. The two districts’ particular strategies for selling diversity differed in their specifics, but both school districts tried to capitalized on their racial capital, or the value gained from their association with people of color, in order to market multicultural capital to the white middle- and upper-middle class families who were seen as developing negative perceptions of “urbanizing” schools and taking resources with them. In a kind of interest convergence, their efforts sometimes benefited communities of color. But while evocations of diversity projected a veneer of egalitarian cultural values, their discourses commodified images of communities of color, reflected a narrow vision of racial diversity, normalized instrumental orientations toward racial diversity, and consistently centered on and privileged the concerns of white middle-class parents, thus reinforcing existing status inequities and whiteness in the two school districts.

Keywords:   marketing, diversity, competition, open enrollment, school choice, interest convergence, racial capital, multicultural capital, colorblind managerialism, whiteness

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