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I'm going to write about a sensitive topic. The topic is racism and "gentrification" in the United States.
The fact that we still have black neighborhoods in the 21st century is appalling. In the past four years, I have witnessed history. I voted for the first African-American president since the inception of this supposedly great union.
For a while, all was well and good. The majority of people in this country were chanting messages of "Hope" and "Change" and were definitely interested in transforming the socio-political landscape in the nation's capital. We had a black family in the White House for the first time.
The urban areas within D.C., especially outside of Georgetown are decent places to live. But, the "best" parts of D.C. are obviously not the impoverished parts. In a country promising "hope" and change we still see the horrors of segregation. Blighted communities that are predominantly African-American not far from the White House.
In other metropolitan districts across the U.S., black communities are clearly synonymous with poverty. Blacks have historically been discriminated against in the United States, in spite of the progress that we have made as a people.
History repeats itself and each new generation will have to face the facts, that segregation is alive and well.
Housing discrimination is interwoven with race. Housing discrimination is something that occurs despite laws that forbid it. The majority of families that were involved in the recent housing bubble were lower middle class and middle class Latino and black families. Therefore, these families lost what little wealth they possessed within one generation.
Housing discrimination still occurs in the form of white flight. The minute a black family moves into a mostly white neighborhood, the people living within that community feel as though that family threatens the livelihood of others within the community.
The stereotypes abound regarding upwardly mobile black people, these people must have acquired their wealth through illegal means, many assume.
This form of stereotyping leads to internalized racism and if these parents pass these views down to their children, black kids will get teased for things that ought to be behind us a nation.
Most people are definitely afraid of black men in this country. Black men are the social pariahs that are feared for no particular reason. These baseless fears undoubtedly create a stereotype threat. And, although discrimination in hiring is supposed to be illegal, many employers make it increasingly difficult for black men to find employment.
Of course, the plethora of informal economies within the black community are rational responses to the lack of employment in a mostly white corporate environment. Recently, more African-Americans have joined the mainstream, but this change is incredibly slow.
Yes, it's obvious that African-Americans must do whatever it takes to leave the ghettos and assimilate. Black neighborhoods are being maligned through eminent domain and privatization of underdeveloped communities, black schools and churches are being stripped in order to make these places safe for cookie-cutter suburbs, shopping malls, and other establishments that attract "elite" clientele.
This trend occurs annually, and will continue as long as progressives refuse to educate the public about the need for reform and increased initiative to preserve the history and culture of these black neighborhoods.
When I attended a gala at the August Wilson Center in downtown Pittsburgh, I was amazed that the evening was filled with mostly white corporate men and women and perhaps a handful of African-American businessmen and businesswomen. If all men are created equal, why do so few men and women of color work for Fortune 500 companies?
Men and women of color have a harder path to travel in order to get just a lowly desk job at a corporation, and the prospects of being promoted to the upper echelons of management are much slimmer than their non-black counterparts.
Surely, this is not the same nation that celebrated the post-racial utopia that transpired after the ushering in of the first black president.
We can do much better.
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