This dissertation examines the structural, political and ideological processes associated with the historical transformation of Compton from a White suburb to a Black ghetto. It addresses the structured racism that kept the city divided despite the class status and achievements of early Black residents. In this study, I examine the history of resource allocation and expenditures, and how resources were mismanaged and misused to the detriment of Compton and its residents.
Using qualitative interviews of 20 African-Americans who grew up in Compton and attended neighborhood schools, and a quantitative analysis of demographic shifts alone side resource changes, this study theorizes the complex ways in which resources, psychology, and identity interplay in the creation of the ghetto and ultimately underachievement. The major findings were that White ideology of Black inferiority structured much of the history of Blacks in Compton. Resistance to the label of inferiority burdened Compton's middle-class Blacks as they tried every effort to assimilate. Whites had imagined Blacks as inferior and segregated them, discriminated against them, and committed to their failure. Many Blacks ultimately answered the call of inferiority through the process of interpellation, and began to accommodate Whites - and indeed perpetuate the ghetto.
The last finding was that Black Comptonites operated under a complex process of structuring, restructuring, silencing their behavior through, what I term, fourth-person consciousness. Through this consciousness, Blacks demonstrated contradictory positioning, (re)humanization of the space, evasion, and a double-bind of (unequal) opportunity. This was a pointed effort to resist the stereotypes projected on to Compton.