Baton Rouge, white fortress, st, George, louisiana, Georgia, segregation, city

Critics Say the ‘White Fortresses’ of Georgia And Louisiana Perpetuate Modern-Day Segregation

A deeper look is being taken into the rising number of "white fortresses" in Louisiana and Georgia.

Following the Louisiana Supreme Court’s allowing for a new predominantly white city to be built outside East Baton Rouge Parish, a deeper look is being taken into the rising number of “white fortresses” in the Bayou State and Georgia.

Last month, clearance was put in place for the new city of St. George, Louisiana, which would take 100,000 people from East Baton Rouge Parish to form the new wealthier and whiter city with a Black population of just 12%, Bloomberg reports. Considering East Baton Rouge Parish’s 47.2% Black population, the formation of St. George presents itself as a secession of sorts that highlights a form of modern-day segregation.

It’s estimated that the new city of St. George will divert $48.3 million in annual tax revenue from East Baton Rouge Parish, accounting for nearly 8% of the parish’s total tax revenue.

The findings highlight how seceded cities can take resources from the predominantly Black communities they leave behind, in a process known as “white fortressing.” These white fortresses are often able to further their pre-existing advantages by constraining resources to the left-behind underrepresented areas in the form of public school funding, access to local revenue, and zoning control.

Those in support of St. George’s formation say it’s a long time coming for residents who reportedly have yet to get a return on the taxes they contributed to East Baton Rouge Parish.

“St. George’s taxpayers provide two-thirds of the revenue to the East Baton Rouge Parish government with only one-third of that government’s expense in return. Incorporating a city would reverse this unjust circumstance to an extent,” St. George’s website states.

In Georgia, 11 new predominantly affluent white communities have been formed around Metro Atlanta since 2005, moves that appear to be in response to the city’s majority-Black/nonwhite counties. Last month, voting was done to approve the formation of Mulberry, a wealthy, majority-white community in Gwinnett County located in the northern suburbs just above Atlanta.

When these white fortresses are created, the underrepresented communities they break away from tend to have little to no say. In the new cities formed in both Louisiana and Georgia, only citizens within the proposed new city get to vote by referendum, despite the taxes that would be taken away from the surrounding community.

The white fortressing points to modern-day forms of white flight that have shaped American cities for decades as a result of desegregation in a racist post-slavery America. The consequences of these practices typically impact underserved communities by negatively impacting the health and wealth-building opportunities for generations.

Meanwhile, St George acknowledges the loss in funding East Baton Rouge Parish would receive as a result of the new city’s formation. Opponents of white fortressing advocate for greater transparency regarding the revenue it diverts from disenfranchised communities. They argue that this form of opportunity hoarding worsens modern-day segregation, further establishing existing racial and socioeconomic inequities.

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