Friday, February 18, 2011

Thought Provoking

This morning, while on my 5am walk, I listened to this segment on NPR about segregation in America. Apparently, the rate of integration in America has been slowing down since the sixties, to the point where 20-30 years from now, if we follow the same progression, we won't be much further along than we are today.

Ouch.

One of the metrics used in this study was the rate and volume by which whites integrate into majority black neighborhoods. And this brought me up short because, although I consider myself to be very multi-culturally minded and definitely not racist, I had to concede that I would likely not move into a predominantly African American neighborhood in America.

The thing that's hard to separate from race is socio-economic status. Typically (and I admit that this is a sweeping overgeneralization) African American neighborhoods are lower-income areas with higher crime rates. Regardless of the racial make-up. it just wouldn't make logical sense for me to move my family to that neighborhood when I make decent money and can move to a safer, albeit whiter, neighborhood.

It's a dilemma I'm sure many Americans face and it has no easy answer. Obviously, expecting middle-class white families to move into poorer but more racially diverse neighborhoods is not the answer. It's just not reasonable. Welcoming more races into my own neighborhood would be great but that is a whole other conversation about social mobility in America. It aint an easy conversation either since 'pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps' and 'gaining government assistance' seem to be the polarizing viewpoints that dominate the conversation.

But it bothers me that everyone I know on my street is white. I don't want Daisy to grow up thinking of blacks or hispanics or anyone as "other". I believe in equality pure and simple - no matter your color, beliefs, gender, sexual preference, nationality, or pretty much anything else you can think of - and my reaction to the reality of white integration was troubling to me.

Random thoughts with no conclusions. Interested to hear your perspective...

1 comment:

Kimberly {YeP, they are all mine} said...

We live in a white neighborhood. And our neighborhood public school is white, too. So, we've decided to send our kids to a different school - it's still very close to home, but it is not all white. It's economically, socially, and ethnically diverse. Just like the real world...

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