Tolliver: The scourge of de facto segregationWritten by Guest Author | | GuestAuthor@toledofreepress.com
A recent news article indicated that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is promulgating guidelines to enforce residential integration.
The genesis behind these regulations is to stop further residential deterioration in the formation of both white, black and Hispanic ghettos.
I am taking the word “ghetto” to only state a solid block of a particular ethnic grouping to the exclusion of another ethnic grouping.
White ghettos are prolific in America and with the rise of gated communities, smaller white ghettos are proliferating at rocket speed.
In Northwest Ohio, we have the ghettos of Ottawa Hills, Perrysburg, Rossford and Maumee along with the national ghettos of Chevy Chase, Md., large tracts in Charlotte, Dallas, Cincinnati, LA, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Seattle, Chicago and a legion of other “American” cities.
You know the tried and true answers of how these ghettos form:
Zoning laws and tax laws and economic privileges begin to carve out areas of exclusivity along with favorable land and parks and transport centers.
And before you know it, voila! You have a manmade created oasis of privilege and exclusion with the residents ready to defend their turf with a crazy quilt of zoning laws that prevent the intrusion of “other” types of housing that could lead these “others” to gain entrance.
Structured racialism and racism that has had its roots since slavery times has continued to feed the warped concept that “others” will not behave properly as “we” do and thus it is best to keep “others” away from “us.”
Yet, the proposed HUD regulations bespeaks the issue that until and unless we start to deconstruct these manmade ideologies of race and the mythic urban legends that can accompany these negative mind sets, America will cease to be America.
Some of the considerations that HUD took into account is the fact that when you examine the national racial patterns across the country and begin to unravel what is happening and why it is happening and who is doing what to whom, you realize that America is practically still a no land’s man when it comes to housing based upon ethnicity.
If Peter Smith takes all or most of the goodies with him and builds his castle and the land around his castle is considered off limits to DeMarcus Washington, the problem is, do those exclusions hurt or help the development of the American Dream?
If Peter Smith gathers all of the better jobs in Space A and Space A has the nicer parks and better transport systems and the better paying jobs are located in Space A, how does DeMarcus Washington get to Space A for that better paying job and can DeMarcus Washington afford to live in or near Space A?
If you repeat the above scenario across the nation, you will wind up with de facto residential segregation and the accompanying loss of mobility for DeMarcus Washington, which means he will not be able to penetrate the barriers of obtaining affordable housing and access to better upward mobility jobs.
If Peter Smith is able to lull employers from aging central cities to the verdant suburbs and DeMarcus Washington cannot afford a car to get to those job openings in Space A and Peter Smith fights against public transport, you have de facto segregation.
If Peter Smith and his buddies in the statehouse or the Congress pass tax laws that favor such job transfers and they do not favor tax laws that give tax breaks to help establish child care centers so that DeMarcus Washington can be enabled to work, you have created de facto segregation.
If Peter Smith and his buddies are able to sway the local tax dollars to favor suburban schools and by default the central city schools are swamped with only newbie teachers and deteriorating chemistry labs and cut-rate books, you have created de facto segregation.
Of course there is nothing wrong with ethnic groups choosing to live among others who look and act like themselves, but when policies are in place that demand such forced associations, you have created de facto segregation and the attendant ills associated thereto.
How can some white areas be deemed ghettos? Simple. You have a bundling of similarly situated people who are homogenized in their thinking and are not exposed to the ideas and cultures of others around them. Their “best” exposure of such “other” persons is via the lens of distorted entertainment programming and the six o’ clock news — both very bad at conveying true images of “others.”
What are you left with? People who form enclaves of themselves and only for themselves, who do not like “others” and want to keep it that way by laws or practices that say, “Keep away!”
So, what America is evolving from the hundreds of years of the polished practice of residential segregation? Take it from this old ditty:
“If you are white…you are right; if you are brown, stay around; if you are black, get back!”
Contact Lafe Tolliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.