Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Northern and West Coast Entrenched Racism: Is This Why They Still Scapegoat The Integrated South?

"The Civil Rights Project says persistent segregation is worst in northern and western states, and that the 17 states with a history of explicit segregation laws have not led the list since 1970."

The racial issues of today,especially those faced by Black Americans, do not reach back to slavery so much as they emerged in the last century during apartheid in the Northern, Midwestern, and West Coast states:  California, New York, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio...

Southerners like me (I'm nearly sixty), who have lived our entire lives with fully-integrated towns, schools, churches, social events and workplaces, have long wondered why the media gets it so wrong.

I always assumed the rest of the country was as diverse in daily life as my small Oklahoma hometown. After all, Brown vs Board of Education desegregated schools in Yankee Kansas before I was even born. We had playmates of many colors and nationalities, and friends when we got older. Teachers, community leaders, business owners, Preachers, neighbors, coworkers of assorted colors and faiths were integral to my youth and my adulthood. People were people were people.

It was the same for my own children, growing up in West Texas.

Then I went to work for a California company, one that preached diversity, and was bewildered to find that Hispanic surnamed folks tended not to be of Mexican heritage (instead they were Cuban, Puerto Rican, South American, Filipino). Oh, there were Mexican people in the area, but the closest they came to working for this company was cleaning the offices and manicuring the grounds.   Black employees were so rare that I met only one Black employee in the entire decade I worked for the company.

Then I met a woman, younger than me, who grew up in Chicago. She casually said one day that she had been an adult before she ever saw a Black person. What?  How could that be?

Chicago, and surrounding cities, and most cities in the North, Midwest, and West Coast, enforced deep segregation so thoroughly and for so long that vast areas of many miles prohibited people of color (which at that time included Asians and Jewish people) from buying homes, renting rooms,... even from spending the night.

By controlling where people lived, White Northerners were able to keep their schools segregated along with their neighborhoods.

This was the case throughout the United States - everywhere but the South.

And the courts allowed them to get away with this until the 80s. Why?

Although some strides have been made, and most formerly White-Only neighborhoods and schools in Yankee-land have been integrated, there are still Black children who grow up without having White neighbors or playmates.Their neighborhoods have still not been desegregated.

Even now, the media and the activists and the courts - including SCOTUS - still put on their blinders to the truth, ignoring the de facto segregation in their own neighborhoods and workplaces.

The Economic Policy Institute  says that  "Avoidance of our racial history is pervasive" and points out:
 "The notion of de facto segregation is a myth, although widely accepted in a national consensus that wants to avoid confronting our racial history. "
The author goes on to show that, despite the North's continual and recent apartheid, the South continues to be made the symptom bearer in most recent textbooks:
" Elementary and secondary school curricula typically ignore, or worse, mis-state this story. For example, in over 1,200 pages of McDougal Littell’s widely used high school textbook, The Americans, a single paragraph is devoted to 20th century “Discrimination in the North.” It devotes one passive-voice sentence to residential segregation, stating that “African Americans found themselves forced into segregated neighborhoods,” with no further explanation of how public policy was responsible. " ;  and  
"History Alive!, a popular textbook published by the Teachers Curriculum Institute, teaches that segregation was only a Southern problem: “Even New Deal agencies practiced racial segregation, especially in the South,”   "
Articles like this one in Voice of America News recites from memory the incomplete history of desegregation, repeating "largely across the southern United States." and  "some 17 states ...almost all in the South".

But  segregation states were not all in the South, and Brown itself was a Kansas case - Kansas is not in the South.  Neither are Delaware, Maryland, the District of Columbia (! yes, Washington DC itself!), Arizona, New Mexico, or Wyoming.

To explain his headline, "Segregation in US Schools Persists 62 Years After Court Ruling",  the author should be looking at New York, Illinois, and California, but he turns away, even though he quotes directly from the Civil Rights Project at UCLA:
"The Civil Rights Project says persistent segregation is worst in northern and western states, and that the 17 states with a history of explicit segregation laws have not led the list since 1970."
"The ironic historic reality is that the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court supported very demanding desegregation standards for the South while the interpretation of Supreme Court decisions and federal legislation limited the impact of Brown in the North and West." 
The author perpetuates the stereotype, never naming the states from which his headline derives, Instead, he wraps up the article with a report on final judgment in a Mississippi case that started in 1965 - one of only two "Southern" states on the "Top Ten" list, both of which are at the bottom.

Here's the full list, along with an enlightening set of excerpts from the report (a PDF).

Top 10 most segregated states. In all of these states, less than 20% of the total student enrollment are Black.   Percentage of Black students who attend 90%-100% non-White schools:
New York     65.8 
Illinois          59.6 
Maryland     53.7
New Jersey   49.2 
Michigan      48.7 
California    47.9
Wisconsin    45.3
Pennsylvania 45.3 
Mississippi  45.2
Tennessee    44.3

"In Texas, as across the Southwest, African American students now typically attend schools with far more Latinos than black students. New York has only half as high a proportion of Latino students, 24%, but severe residential segregation of both Latinos and African Americans may explain why New York’s Latino students are so segregated. 
"California’s Latino students have less contact with white students than either Latinos or African Americans in any state. Other studies by our Project show that the epicenter of this segregation is in the greater Los Angeles area. "
"Over a 20-year period, the proportion of poor students (as defined by federal standards for subsidized or free lunch eligibility) in the school of the typical white student has shot up from 17% to 40%, which is actually higher than the school poverty level was, on average, for black students at the beginning of the same period."  

How did this happen? Some of it is explained in a list of the Top Ten most segregated urban areas, from Salon. In several, the notes show how resistant locals are to admit the truth - either current or historical:
"#3 In Chicago, white counter-protesters attacked open housing marchers, hitting Martin Luther King in the head with a brick. He later said that he had “never seen as much hatred and hostility on the part of so many people.”
Richard J. Daley reinforced segregation by using “the Interstate Highways Act of 1956 to route expressways through impoverished African-American neighborhoods,” including the “14-lane Dan Ryan Expressway, which created a barrier between black and white neighborhoods.”
"Chicago’s suburbs were also resistant to integration. In Cicero, a suburb just west of the city, thousands of whites attacked a black family moving into the apartment complex in 1951. One activist noted that while whites burned black churches in Mississippi, they burned down black homes in Chicago."
"#2 New York remains the second most segregated metro area in the country.
 "In 2009, the Obama administration signed a landmark consent decree with Westchester County, which is nearly 80 percent white. A lawsuit filed by the Anti-Discrimination Center had charged the county with misrepresenting its affordable housing efforts to the federal government. The suit received widespread media attention and was seen as a blow to racially and economically exclusive municipalities nationwide. But Gurian says the decree hasn’t been enforced.
“The problem is not just a Westchester problem: Over 1,000 jurisdictions across the country are looking to see whether the federal government will … hold Westchester’s feet to the fire,” he wrote. “It is especially critical that there be enforcement because the Westchester County executive, Rob Astorino, has publicly defied lawful federal authority.” 
"#4 Detroit ... In 1972, every majority white ward in the city supported George Wallace in the Democratic presidential primary. The Alabama governor — who once declared “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” — had a message that resonated.
"One developer even erected a 6-foot-high cement wall between white and black neighborhoods to make the former actuarially sound.
“In many neighborhoods, whites used violence and intimidation to deter black newcomers. ...Whites also formed hundreds of ‘neighborhood improvement associations’ that pledged to keep ‘undesirables’ — namely blacks — out. Real estate brokers and mortgage lenders — backed by federal housing policy — also played a critical role in creating an un-free housing market for African-Americans.”
"#9 Philadelphia.....just 347 of the 120,000 homes constructed in the Philadelphia area between 1946 and 1953 were open to blacks. In the postwar years, working-class whites violently policed the boundaries of their neighborhoods, while the middle and upper classes fled to the suburbs well into the 1990s. Today, Puerto Rican neighborhoods divide working-class white and black neighborhoods in North Philadelphia and Kensington. "
"Discussions about race in Philly are usually met with a deafening backlash from local whites, and the comments sections of the website of the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News are locally infamous for their bigotry. "
"#1 Milwaukee. “Most of our history is very similar to Chicago, Cleveland or even Baltimore,” says Marc Levine, professor of history and economic development at the University of Wisconsin, “Every place has had the zoning ordinances, then restrictive covenants, the practices of realtors. The standard history. What makes Milwaukee a little bit different than these other places, which explains why we’re consistently in the top five and often No. 1, in segregation? We have the lowest rate of African-American suburbanization of any of these larger cities.” [ie, the suburbs are heavily segregated]
"Milwaukee sticks out in another way: Civic boosters have mounted a major campaign to deny the city’s segregation. In 2002, a group of job training researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, released a study contending that nationally recognized measures of segregation are “racially biased” and, using a new measure, argued that Milwaukee was actually the tenth most integrated of the largest 50 cities.
"#10 Los Angeles is spectacularly diverse, and profoundly segregated. Though black and Latino Angelenos are increasingly likely to live near one another, their separation from white neighborhoods persists. ...The L.A. riots of 1992, like the 1965 Watts riot, were sparked by police brutality, a steady concern in besieged neighborhoods like South Central. Nearly 20 years later, the jobless ghettos of black and Latino Los Angeles remain. "
Urban liberals who live in gated enclaves in the most segregated racist cities in the country continue to scapegoat the South, none, not one, will recognize that their finger pointing looks everywhere but within their own Yankee culture for that "privilege" they want to pin on someone, anyone, else.

One feels guilt when one is dishonest.

I have neither privilege nor guilt - but then, I've never been part of that exclusionary culture.

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