Blinded by the Lights

Texas High School Football and the Myth of Integration

978-1-64843-275-0 Cloth
6 x 9 x 0 in
184 pp. 5 graphs. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 11/13/2024
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Using the lens of arguably the state’s most popular sport, Blinded by the Lights: Texas High School Football and the Myth of Integration describes the highs and lows in the ongoing battle for equal educational opportunities for all Texas students. According to former Texas A&M athletic recruiter Don Albrecht, the high school football team, often the most visible symbol of the community, was frequently caught in the historic crossfire in local struggles over segregation. While noting the importance of the courageous individuals who fought to desegregate Texas public schools, Albrecht examines how the progress made in the 1950s and ’60s has largely been eroded. He argues that Texas schools are more segregated today than they were in the 1970s, when Brown v. Board of Education had been the law of the land for 16 years. “Texas schools were separate and unequal in the 1950s,” he says, and continues, “Texas schools are unequal today.”

Based on interviews occurring over a 30-year period coupled with extensive statistical analysis, Albrecht demonstrates that the balance of power in Texas high school football has shifted toward wealthy suburban schools that tend to be predominately white. These schools are also producing more students who are attending and graduating from college, becoming successful doctors, lawyers, and engineers. In contrast, students attending the disadvantaged schools, with student bodies made almost entirely of minorities and individuals living at or below the poverty line, are struggling in everything from football to academics. “All of us,” he says, “are paying the costs resulting from providing an inadequate education for large segments of the population.” Blinded by the Lights: Texas High School Football and the Myth of Integration provides a powerful new perspective on the consequences of institutionalized inequality in education.

Prairie View A&M University Series

Published by Texas A&M University Press