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January 28, 2003

In Praise of the Old Confederacy

segregation.gif.bmp All of us progressive bloggers who have criticized Trent Lott and the South for remaining racism should take a serious look at the chart to the left. From an article in The Economist, it details a study showing how integrated communities are at the neighborhood block level. See here for the full study.

The hard reality is that cities in the Old South are far more integrated on a day-to-day level than most northern and Western "liberal" cities. That's a hard truth, which doesn't erase the hard racism coming from those southern GOP politicians, but it makes the pronouncements of latte-sipping liberals in all white suburbs and urban enclaves a little less credible.

One of the few exceptions to this problem is my old home of Oakland-- leftwing and integrated town, a place where blacks, latinos, whites and asians lived together on my street and others throughout the town. It was a town where heavily black West Oakland would elect a white city council rep and the heavily black town could elect white Jerry Brown as mayor (even as heavily white San Francisco was electing black Willie Brown as mayor across the Bay.)

The Bay Area is not perfect but the reality is that it is lightyears ahead on such matters as far as day-to-day living. The urban midwest and East (and southern California) have a long way to go in catching up before their political liberalism on race matches their day-to-day integrated living.

Note that the chart goes by metropolitan area, and some results are different on the individual city level. Honorable mention goes to midwestern cities like St. Louis and Columbus, which have high levels of residential integration. Minneapolis and Milwaukee also scored high as well.

Posted by Nathan at January 28, 2003 10:32 AM

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