Contra Ta-Nehisi Coates: Blacks Used to Live in Awesome Places Like San Francisco
Print Friendly and PDF

When suburban Ferguson erupted, the conventional wisdom was that not enough had been done to make blacks feel welcome in the suburbs.

When urban Baltimore erupted, the conventional wisdom, as exemplified by today’s NYT Editorial channeling Ta-Nehisi Coates about how blacks are perpetual victims of real estate rules of 50 to 100 years, has become that not enough had been done to make blacks feel welcome in the suburbs:

Writing of Baltimore just last month, Richard Rothstein of the Economic Policy Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, argued that “the distressed condition of African-American working- and lower-middle-class families” in Maryland’s largest city and elsewhere “is almost entirely attributable to federal policy that prohibited black families from accumulating housing equity during the suburban boom that moved white families into single-family homes from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s — and thus from bequeathing that wealth to their children and grandchildren, as white suburbanites have done.”

Funny how that works.

It’s almost as if, no matter what the inspiration, white liberals want to grease the skids under inner city blacks so that they’ll move to dreary suburbs far away from the most appealing gentrification opportunities. Big city white liberals are doing it for the good of the inner city blacks, of course, and to punish the racism of those terrible white people who live somewhere out in the suburbs and exurbs and small towns.

The silent baseball game played by Orioles at Camden Yards in the wake of the Baltimore riot was particularly alarming to gentrifiers, since Camden Yards, ever since it opened in 1994, launching the retro look of baseball stadiums, has been a symbol of white urbanites’ desire to restore big cities to the Ebbets Field glories they enjoyed before blacks took over inner cities.

Contra Coates, from a location, location, location standpoint, blacks have actually been concentrated in some objectively pretty awesome locations like Manhattan, Brooklyn, DC, Chicago, South-Central, and, most amazingly from the perspective of 2015: San Francisco. But the nice white liberals of San Francisco don’t seem terribly interested in doing anything more than offering lip service to keep blacks around. From the Los Angeles Times:

S.F. police scandal focuses attention on dwindling number of blacks


… In the wake of a police scandal involving racist text messages, some black leaders are again lamenting the shrinking size of the city’s black community. They have questioned whether a mass exodus of African Americans in recent decades have been driven as much by subtle forms of racism as by the city’s high cost of housing.

In 1970, blacks made up 13.4% of the city’s population. Today they account for less than 6%. City leaders have commissioned studies and task forces to reverse the trend, but to little avail.

Obama beat Romney 83-13 in San Francisco, so we know their hearts are in the right place. It’s just that the civic leaders of San Francisco, however, are powerless, powerless I tell you to keep blacks from getting pushed out of The City and into the hot, ugly Central Valley.

Among the biggest 14 cities in the nation, San Francisco is near the bottom in the share of black residents. African Americans make up 25% of the population in New York City, 9.4% in Los Angeles, and 27% in Indianapolis. The only city in the group with a smaller percentage is San Jose, with 3%.

“Vigilante groups aren’t chasing blacks out, but there are factors that are making other places more desirable,” Simon said.

Civil rights leaders here attribute the exodus not just to the high cost of living, but to policies that have favored independent retailers over chains

That’s actually a pretty interesting observation. San Francisco favors immigrants’ shops that employ the immigrants’ relatives, and hipster boutiques. African-Americans, though, tend to do best working for giant soulless national corporations like McDonald’s where every policy is written down in a three-ring binder

as pointed out in Eddie Murphy’s Coming to America back in the 1980s, where Eddie’s future father-in-law, Mr. McDowell, has become a successful African-American entrepreneur by owning and managing McDowell’s Golden Arcs:

urban renewal that tore down the housing where many African Americans lived, redlining by banks and high crime concentrated in neighborhoods where blacks lived.

“When I got here, there were nearly 100,000 African Americans, and now there are maybe 40,000,” said the Rev. Arnold Townsend, a board member of the local NAACP. “What we have now wouldn’t even fill up the stadium where the Giants play.”

Revelations of racist and homophobic texts by 14 police officers — which came to light in court papers — stirred shock and outrage in this traditionally liberal city. But many black residents said they were not surprised.

The city likes to congratulate itself for its open views and tolerance, but “before 1965, you couldn’t get a job teaching in San Francisco,” said the Rev. Amos Brown, another NAACP board member. “You had to go to Oakland or Berkeley.”

The New Antiquarianism.

“We’ve had such a hemorrhaging of black folks,” Brown said. “The black churches are almost empty.” …

These days, black residents in her district are clamoring for a bigger police presence, and community policing has succeeded, she said.

But the absence of more black faces troubles her.

“I am just trying to hold on to evidence that blacks ever existed in San Francisco,” Breed said.


Print Friendly and PDF