How do resource-poor Black populations participate in the policy process? And what are the interpretive impacts of their participation? Using multiyear qualitative data on mass school closures in two large U.S. cities-in which nearly 90% of the population targeted were Black and low-income-I investigate how 1) the school district and local organizations provide resources for those affected to participate in the policy process; 2) affected participants interpret their engagement as contributing positively to the development of civic skills and perceptions of internal efficacy but negatively to their perceptions of politics, policy, and future participation; and that 3) these negative attitudes persist even among those who secure success in fighting the policy. I conceptualize this last phenomenon as indicative of collective participatory debt and raise serious questions about the utility of participating while poor and Black in American democracy.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Political Science and International Relations