The report focused on the top 10 most segregated cities. But this could easily be expanded to find vast and unbroken pockets of racial segregation in many of the nation’s smaller and mid-size cities as well.
A casual drive through any of the major urban neighborhoods in America, a walk through the neighborhood schools, hospitals, and clinics reveals the stark pattern of the two Americas.
In fact, even three or four urban Americas: an America that is poor, black and Latino; an America that is black and middle class; an America that is white, working class and middle class; and one that’s white and wealthy.
But whichever urban America one travels through, the line dividing the neighborhoods is as deep as the Grand Canyon. There are the usual suspects to blame for the rigid segregation. Poverty, crime, lender redlining, a decaying industrial and manufacturing inner city, white and middle-class black and Hispanic flight, crumbling inner-city schools, the refusal of major business and financial institutions to locate in minority neighborhoods, and cash-strapped city governments that have thrown in the towel on providing street repairs and basic services.
This tells a big part of the story of the chronic segregation, but it’s only part of the story. The painful truth three years after the election of America’s first black president is that there are far too many policy makers, political leaders, and many whites that still think that segregation is too much a longstanding, even immutable, way of life in America to ever change. The entire history of Northern urban segregation is damning proof of that.
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