From the NYT:
Black Culture Is Not the Problem By N. D. B. CONNOLLY MAY 1, 2015You know, much of the appeal of Progressive Conformism is that it allows you to demonstrate how clever you are by asserting theses that are comically untrue.
Baltimore’s troubles stem from the continued profitability of racism.
Here’s an NYT op-ed that reads like a Steve Sailer parody:
BALTIMORE — IN the wake of the Michael Brown shooting and subsequent unrest in Ferguson, Mo., commentators noted the absence of black representatives among Ferguson’s elected officials and its police leadership. A Department of Justice report highlighted how Ferguson’s mostly white City Council and its courts spurred on explicitly racist policing, in part to harvest fines from black residents.I have a question: I haven’t been following this closely but why the assumption that all six cops (in a police force that’s 43% black) were white?
Then came Baltimore. The death of Freddie Gray, like those of Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Rekia Boyd and so many other unarmed African-Americans, at first seemed to fit the all-too-familiar template — white cops, black suspect, black corpse.
But unlike New York, Chicago and other cities with white leaders, Baltimore has a black mayor, a black police commissioner and a majority-black City Council. Yet the city still has one of the most stained records of police brutality in recent years.Who didn’t get rich off Freddie Gray’s hard work and entrepreneurial genius? I, personally, get a dividend check in the mail every year from Freddie Gray Enterprises as part of my White Privilege. Freddie invented the iPhone, right?
In the absence of a perceptible “white power structure,” the discussion around Baltimore has quickly turned to one about the failings of black culture. This confuses even those who sympathize with black hardship. When people took to the streets and destroyed property, most observers did not see an understandable social response to apparent state inaction. They saw, in the words of Baltimore’s mayor, Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, “thugs,” or in the words of President Obama, “criminals and thugs.”
To be fair, the mayor later expressed regret, and both she and the president have tried to show empathy for the dispossessed. But they are also fighting myths about degenerate black culture. Condemning “criminals” and “thugs” seems to get them away from beliefs about broad black inferiority.
Yet when black people of influence make these arguments, it prevents us from questioning Baltimore the way we questioned Ferguson.
Instead, we lionize people like Toya Graham, the Baltimore mother who went upside the head of her rioting son. …
The problem is not black culture. It is policy and politics, the very things that bind together the history of Ferguson and Baltimore and, for that matter, the rest of America.
Specifically, the problem rests on the continued profitability of racism. Freddie Gray’s exposure to lead paint as a child, his suspected participation in the drug trade, and the relative confinement of black unrest to black communities during this week’s riot are all features of a city and a country that still segregate people along racial lines, to the financial enrichment of landlords, corner store merchants and other vendors selling second-rate goods.
The problem originates in a political culture that has long bound black bodies to questions of property. Yes, I’m referring to slavery. …
What we do not prosecute nearly well enough, however, is the daily assault on black people’s lives through the slow, willful destruction of real estate within black communities. …There’s some money being made off Section 8 vouchers by rich guys who own failed real estate ventures in places like exurban Joliet, IL who invite in big city blacks. For example, here’s a 2005 Joliet Herald News editorial:
Cities that are starved for income have found ways to raise revenues by way of fines and fees exacted from poor, underemployed African-Americans and migrants of color. …
In “The Wire,” Lester Freamon understood that following the money took our eyes off the street and up the chain of real political power.
N. D. B. Connolly is an assistant professor of history at Johns Hopkins University and the author of “A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida.”
Joliet Herald News Editorial: Even in Illinois, Gidwitz a bad choiceThe residents of Evergreen Terrace dug tunnels to escape police raids.
And now that Ron Gidwitz has thrown his hat into the ring for the 2006 gubernatorial election, a new background could be added to that list: slum lord.
Gidwitz is the former president of cosmetics giant Helene Curtis and one-time head of the Illinois Board of Education. But in Joliet, he’s better known as part-owner of Evergreen Terrace, the crime-plagued apartment complex that’s been a festering sore on the city’s near West Side for nearly three decades.
Joliet has tried for years to render this dinosaur of 1970s low-income housing extinct through ordinances, permits and the courts, but to no avail. The city council even once offered Gidwitz and Evergreen’s anonymous owners a $2.5 million buy-out for the property. The owners’ group didn’t bother to respond.
And who can blame them? Under the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Mark to Market program, the owners stand to squeeze more federal subsidies than ever out of this rotten apple.
Finally in 2014, Joliet won its 9-year-long lawsuit against Gidwitz’s interests.
But big city mayors who are clever with money like Mayors Bloomberg and Emanuel sure act like it’s in their cities’ financial interest to drive blacks out to places like Joliet and Allentown.