Why Cities Are Still So Segregated | Let’s Talk | NPR

Why Cities Are Still So Segregated | Let’s Talk | NPR

Chris Rock: You know what’s so sad, man? You know what’s wild? Martin Luther King stood for nonviolence. Now what’s Martin Luther King? A street. And I don’t give a f*** where you at in America, If you on Martin Luther King Boulevard there’s some violence going down. Gene: That, of course, is Chris Rock’s famous joke about streets named for Martin Luther King Jr., which tend to be in — let’s say distressed areas. And he’s not wrong, because if you look at the way housing segregation works in America you can see how things ended up this way. Once you see it, you won’t be able to unsee it. OK, let’s look at MLK Boulevard in Baltimore. I want to show you how to see housing segregation in schools, in health, in family wealth, in policing. But first, an explanatory comma. It’s the 1930s in the wake of the Great Depression. FDR is president. He wants to bring economic relief to millions of Americans through a collection of federal programs and projects called The New Deal. One part of that “new deal” was The National Housing Act of 1934, which introduced ideas like the 30-year mortgage and low, fixed interest rates. So now you have all these lower-income people who can afford homes, but how do you make sure they don’t default on their new mortgages? Enter the Home Owners Loan Corp. The HOLC created residential security maps. And these maps? They’re where the term redlining comes from. Green meant “best area, best people,” aka businessmen; blue meant “good people,” like white-collar families; yellow meant a “declining area,” with working class families; and red meant “detrimental influences, hazardous,” like “foreign-born” people, “low-class whites,” and — most significantly — “Negroes.” Again and again on these HOLC maps, one of the most consistent criteria for redlined neighborhoods is the presence of black and
brown people. Let’s be clear. Studies show that people who lived in redlined areas were not necessarily more likely to default on their mortgages. But redlining made it difficult — if not impossible — to buy or refinance. So landlords abandon their properties. City services become unreliable. In most places, crime increases. And property values drop. All of these conditions fester for 30 years as white people flee to the brand new suburbs popping up all over the country. Many of those suburbs institute rules, called covenants, that explicitly forbid selling homes to black people. And all of this was perfectly legal. Now it’s 1968. And MLK is assassinated. News Report: Good evening. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, 39 years old, The apostle of nonviolence in the civil rights movement has been shot to death in Memphis, Tenn. Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tenn. In the aftermath, Congress passes the Fair Housing Act of 1968. It’s a policy meant to encourage equal housing opportunities regardless of race, or religion or national origin. And it offers protections for future homeowners and renters, but does little to fix the damage already done. Over the next 50 years, the Fair Housing Act is rarely enforced. So you can still see housing segregation and its effects, in Baltimore and often along any MLK Boulevard in any U.S. city. Like its effects on wealth. So homeownership is the major way Americans create wealth, right? Well, discrimination in housing is the major reason that black families up and down the income scale have a tiny fraction of the family wealth that white families do — even white families with less education and lower incomes. For almost 30 years, 98 percent of FHA loans were handed out to white borrowers. Not only were black neighborhoods redlined, and not only was the Fair Housing Act selectively enforced, if at all, but it is still today much harder for a black person to get a mortgage or home loan than it is for a white person. John: Families are fearful of speaking up about a basic human right that should be afforded to everyone in the world but definitely in the richest country in the world. And housing segregation in schools. The primary way that Americans pay for public schools is by paying property taxes. People who live in more valuable homes have better-funded local schools, better-paid teachers, better school facilities and more resources. Here’s a feedback loop: The better the schools in a neighborhood, the more those homes in that neighborhood are worth. And the higher the property values of those homes, the more money there is for schools. And so on and so on. And housing segregation in health. Because of urban planning that benefited those richer, whiter neighborhoods, people of color are more likely to live near industrial plants that spew toxic fumes; they’re more likely to live far away from grocery stores with fresh food, and in places where
the water isn’t drinkable. They’re more likely to live in neighborhoods with crumbling infrastructure, and in homes with toxic paint. Karen: When you’re living with rats, roaches, and things like that — that’s deplorable. You cannot have that kind of stuff with children running around in the building. A building that may be full of lead. And, not coincidentally, people of color have higher incidences of certain cancers, asthma and heart disease. And housing segregation in policing. Housing segregation means we are having vastly different experiences with crime and vastly different experiences with policing. Because our neighborhoods are so segregated, sometimes racial profiling can be camouflaged as spatial profiling — where living in certain areas can make you more likely to be stopped by the police. And it means people have a lot of unnecessary contact with the criminal justice system just because of where they live. Reggie: The problem in our city? The police and the citizens are fighting. They keep targeting my brothers and sisters who don’t really have nothing. And that heavy, aggressive kind of policing that you see in black neighborhoods in particular makes people feel like they can’t trust the police. And when people don’t trust the police, crimes go unsolved and people have to find other ways to keep themselves safe. But, of course, it’s not just Baltimore. Because housing segregation and discrimination fundamentally shape the lives of people in nearly every major American city. It really is in everything. To hear more about how race shapes American life, visit npr.org/codeswitch. I’m Gene Demby. Be easy.

100 Replies to “Why Cities Are Still So Segregated | Let’s Talk | NPR

  1. Saw race and redlining and i was sure it was a video about 2-step or anti-lag for boosted car's. Very good info though, watcged it all.

  2. I have heard the black problems enumerated zillions of times and so I asked, what are blacks going to do about fixing the problems. I heard all these injustices all my life but never heard any solutions.

  3. I lived in a segregated city all my life, NYC, and didn't know it. When I moved South that is when I realised NYC was segregated. The only difference between the South and East is that most whites back East are happier or appear content and the ones in the South act more like niggas. I have never seen so many poor whites in my life and they have attitudes especially working low paying jobs (cashiers, supermarkets,ect.). I'm used to seeing mostly minorities working these kinds of jobs, not whites. I'm glad I'm retired, I could not see myself working with these types of whites. It must be a stressful environment in doing so.

    Whites back home have self esteem compared to these yahoos. Yes, I know there are some racist whites back East, mostly cops and some sections of Long Island, but overall they are good people, unlike the ones South.

  4. Because people prefer to live among their own. I remember bringing a black friend over once to play video games. The first thing he asked me was if there were any black people in my neighborhood.

  5. OK I get it racial Segregation was a thing in the States for many years. Now what do We do to eliminate this housing discrimination and under funded public schools problem today?? Integration didn't work, because affluent white peeps do not want to live next door to a lot of black homeowners. Black and brown people in the neighborhood scare them away. Don't accuse me of racism, I am of African descent and I am open to ur solutions

  6. In Puerto Rico ash from a power plant was reserved in a community with mostly poor and many black Puertoricans, as well as exporting them to the Dominican Republic. Now they will be sending them to Osceola County in Florida, where a lot of Puertorican migrants (including many poor ones) live.

  7. You managed to explain housing separation BEFORE 1968, but did nothing to explain how housing is supposedly divided STILL….

    You've used the correlation that black families have a lower income and own fewer homes. But you did nothing to show causation to either. This video is nothing more than "there was inequality 60 years ago, and that's why people suck today"

    Redlining ended 60 years ago, people can move. Would you rather live in a city where you honestly believe the police are at war with you, or move to another city?

    You did NOTHING to show discrimination TODAY…..

  8. I'm in my 30s and I recall my dad talking with my uncle about how the blacks wanted to run to the suburbs with the white folks. He said we weren't moving. My dad was an engineer and my mom a lawyer at the time (later a judge). In fact, he and my uncle purchased several properties in the city's "distressed areas"- Chicago's south shore. He told no lies! Many blacks moved to the burbs and the whites went back downtown. They revitalized and raised prices through the roof. My dad died a few years ago, but he was alive to see it some 20 years later. We still have all those buildings and taverns in Chicago.

  9. This is tragic but there are still ways black people can overcome this instead of begging whites. We has to realize that America is a monopoly and everyone is playing chess except for us.

  10. Because we(Displaced African) don't like living around them(Caucasians)they don't wanna live around us! We don't like to and they refuse to!

  11. It's call white flight
    Rich white people and the middle class white people move out to the suburbs

  12. I’m black and from Germany. I don’t get why black people would like to live next to white‘s if white‘s dislike then. I thought people avoid people that don’t like them. I wouldn’t force myself on people that dislike me, it would just create conflict.

  13. "Segregation"? Its an aversion to death. (And property owners with neglected properties shouldn't be rewarded with a tax write-off for keeping them derelict.) And yes, its high time blacks quit blaming everybody but themselves for their problems.

  14. Its frustrating knowing this happened and that the people who still benefit from housing discrimination deny it happened at all and think any action to correct this great injustice is unfair

  15. Because blacks tear things up. It may take a few years Unless they have a mixed that they're calling 'black' as a crutch to somewhat maintain for them. Look no further than Detroit as the example (i.e. southern black '60's migration, From Alabama, overtime tearing a city like Detroit down to the ground). Who you foolin'

  16. This guy misses the point. The more the government helps, the worse things get. Black and white people have a common enemy. THE LYING JEW!

  17. Adam Ruins NPR

    He states the same facts, but explains the future effects of redlining a little better. Seeing how what happened in the 30s still effected generations of minorities even AFTER all these civil rights.

  18. Half-truth, anyone with a junior high school education can debunk this. If you believe this garbage please do some research.

  19. After living on the south side of Chicago, Jamaica queens, and Miami. There’s no fucking way I would live in a black neighborhood or let along buy property. These people want to talk about human rights but don’t talk about all the violence and low standards of human decency. Even the kids are insufferable. Try catching the subway or bus in New York when schools get out. Until blacks change their attitudes, no one will want to live next to them.

  20. Whites typically have earned higher degrees that garner higher wages, so they move into “nice” neighborhoods. They want to interact with other successful people.

    It’s people’s lived experiences (ie classroom / neighborhood fights or crime) that shape their global view on things – they’ll avoid these bad things.

    BTW, blacks are genetically predisposed to heart disease.

  21. MLK would be rolling in his grave if he knew that his name is being used to segregate black communities.

  22. You can't simply pin black under performance on the flow on effects of red lining. Every part of this video explains away any responsibility of black people for their own lives.
    Take your logic and facts and then apply them to other communities in America, Asians, Jews. Pacific Islanders, The Amish. how does it stack up then ?

  23. Coming from a white man from a small town in north mississippi, this shit is so true. In a lot of towns the train tracks is what separates the good and bad

  24. While houses are a way of creating wealth the primary cause of black poverty is the 70-80% rate of illegitimacy. Single mothers of any race are almost always poor.

  25. Whites own 98% of wealth in USA. Whites makeup 82% of the storied “1%” (those that own half of the world’s wealth). I could go on, but y’all get it.

    Whites have historically always been less than 20% of the world’s population; current estimates are 10%.

    Informed ppl know the how, but we need to be asking each other why just 10% of the world’s population has built systems dedicated to dehumanizing, oppressing, exploiting and destroying the nonwhite ppl of the earth and the planet, and what to do about it.

    Actually, the “why” is known: for fun, glory, and material gain. What are we going to do about it though? And NO answer to the system will come from the framework of the system itself.

    We will find out if whites are pure evil or not. The answer cannot be: maybe or sometimes or depends. That statement is either true of false. We have to attempt to replace the system of white supremacy with a system of justice. That’s it and there’s nothing else to do. A system where no one is mistreated (exploited for another’s gain). And like a hospital ER triage, those that need the most help, get it first. That’s justice. If whites keep fighting attempts at justice this only suggests they are evil.

  26. First of all whether you deny it or not everyone is racist to a point… I am white and I know people who are the biggest anti-racist advocates and claim they don't have a racist bone in their body and then I start pointing things out to them. They live in a predominantly white neighborhood, a bunch of them , in the zone they live in their children would end up being bussed to a very black school so they use another zip code to get into the white school.. another one is Baptist and 2 miles away is a Baptist Church but it's mostly black so they travel six or seven miles to go to the white one… none of them would dare stop at an ATM in a black neighborhood …. I could go on and on..oh, one more thing. One of the biggest "anti-racist", I asked him how would it be if his 16 year old daughter brought home a black boyfriend… I had to turn on the tap dance music as he danced around that question…

  27. Many blacks live differently than whites. Let's face the truth, black is more of a culture than a race today. There are Urban whites too. Urban whites and Urban blacks get along fine. Upper class whites and blacks get along fine. People mistake culture clash for racism. I've seen Urban types try to live amongst upper class. It doesn't work. Usually quiet types will choose to move and more urban types will move in thus bringing the neighborhood down to ghetto status.

  28. People don't deserve the dream just because they are black. Those that educate themselves, appreciate culture, and respect others will prosper. Problem is, you have thugs,high school drop outs, confrontational beings with inferiority complexes and chips on their shoulder that can destroy an up scale neighborhood, but feel they are entitled solely due to the fact slavery once existed.

  29. And I want to ask.. Where are our upscale Black neighborhoods? Why do white people have to be in the picture before we see ourselves in a decent light? I look around in cities and see what was once beautifuly housed neighborhoods now occupied by majority black and they are a mess now. That with street stalkers on every corner, booming car stereos, and police lights everywhere. How come blacks can only love themselves around white people? Alone, they dog and kill each other.

  30. This happens all over the world there is zones there is east side west side etc. I remember living in one area and had bad credit by the time i moved to a better area in 4 months time my credit was good again which had me to do my home work where i learned about this system.

  31. America has it's problems but blacks know very well that they get treated better here (by the racist white folks) than they would in Africa.

  32. Born and raised in Baltimore, I immediately recognized the building and sign on mlk boulevard. Sad to see what institutional racism has done to my city but the time is coming for black people to elevate themselves and reclaim our beloved city and restore it

  33. There needs to be more black owned banks that are solvent enough to give home improvement loans. It's funny how that property in the city's core isn't worth anything until those people want to move in and "revitalize" it.

  34. It's not just segregation..I see more and more discrimination from employers indirectly..I wish I could unsee this pattern, but it's true..

  35. The time period of the Civil Rights movement is also correlated with the War on Poverty. Racism shouldn't be an excuse not to take responsibility. You can overcome and turn out better than your previous generations, which will lead to more prosperous future generations. Or do you love the luxury that "being a victim" allows you to afford against other people?

  36. You can live where you can afford to live.. Am I indebted to pay someone who does not work to live in my neighborhood? NOPE!

  37. Most white should be ashamed of themselves what they have done to people of color, after they so called emancipation. They have practically enslaved black and brown people in different way with the government complicity. Until we black folks realize the only way to freedom in the white supremacists world, is to start building our own, our economics freedom, stay away from those people that had been rape, murder, and continue to marginalized our brothers. Build our own , school, hospital, movie theater, banks, only way forward is self empowerment, we can do it without government.

  38. The video shows that the root of the problem was racist american house system and segregation, but segregation isn't a good reason as to why communities can't better themselves. And even if the community wasn't bad it would still be dominated by blacks. We humans are bond to be around people similar to us culturally and physically. That this is important so after living in a very big city, there's a familiarity in your community or home you can back too. As a guy from Brooklyn, its a prefect example of distinct communities with a dominant race, and blending with each other in schools, work, parks, sports, and hang out downtown to Manhattan hubs. I can see this when i go to marine park and its mostly Italians and Irish. Then the community north of them midwood is primarily jewish, but both neighborhoods get along. I see it in sunset where its low income housing but its 2 communities of Asians and latinos 1 ave apart, but no blacks and some whites towards borough park. And all these communities are fairly safe. So race and income isn't an issue, its the growing problem that most of the east side of Brooklyn and other parts glorify hood life.

  39. Oh you don't work hard enough, pull yourself up by the boot straps. That's all I hear when I complain. Yeah it's easy for you to say that when you have 10 times wealth as me. Systematic racism right there from the 1800s. I was born in the 90s and it's still happening. I still can't get a mortgage anywhere and I'm college educated and served in the military. My income hasn't grown since 2009. I'm working right now and my wage is a quarter less than what it was over a decade ago. I hate it but I put my nose back on the grindstone and work, so that one day my kids don't have to go through the terrible agony of not having a home and having to do the worse back breaking jobs known to humanity today.

  40. You don't know what you don't know. I just didn't know…..Thank you for sharing this knowledge that explains what's really going on. I will share this video.

  41. I live in Baltimore. I can tell you all that this is probably the realest thing I have ever seen. You can walk 2 blocks West and have trouble finding a white person and then go 2 blocks East and you start seeing everybody staring at the one black person. We got a messed up city man. Time to make some changes!

  42. By keeping us segregated the wealthy have created a masterclass and instead of addressing the class warfare were all distacted by race

  43. The idea that Birmingham has been the most segregated city in the South over the years had nothing to do with it"s actual dissimilarity index, as that number in the city of Birmingham, has never been at any point during the 20th century, been higher than that in the city of Atlanta.

  44. Them: "Oh come on guys… reparations for slavery would be so hard to do! Who would get the money and how would it be done?!"
    Me: "Oh nah that's cool…Start here, check this out!"

  45. It's still happening to lower class WHITE people too. So why always talk about color. It sounds stupid af. It's about class NOT color

  46. My property taxes go up & up & up every year. Sometimes I wonder if they’re trying to make it unaffordable for me to live in my neighborhood. I have an escrow shortage EVERY YEAR (which means my mortgage payment goes up too). I depend on myself so it’s getting much harder to afford to live here. I’m a single Black female (Educator), & sometimes I feel like I’m being pushed out of my nh bc of that (Bridgeland in Cypress, Tx). I’m determined to stay tho.

  47. You don't see these problems in London. Do you ever see the black people ther? They act and talk like everyone else. Here it's like we're two different species or something. I wish it wasn't like that but for the most part it is. I have friends who are Mexican, white and black. My friends all act like normal people. They don't glorify gangsters and don't want to live in shady neighborhoods. They all have dreams and goals in life. I live in a middle class neighborhood so I'm not rich. I lay carpet, wood and tile for a living. I don't make a lot but I'm proud of the hard work I do. A lot of it depends on how your raised. My parents didn't raise me to hate and nether did my friends parents. We all love each other like brothers and will until we die. We don't see color we see people. Good people who take responsibility for our own actions and know that if we want something we're willing to work hard for it. I can see why it might be hard for some to live together when they seem like aliens too each other. I'm glad we don't have those problems. This is gonna sound gay but in the words of Rodney King….. Can't we all just get along lol? If both sides tried harder I'm sure we could

  48. Too bad segregation has ended and this hateful busing began. Now blacks destroyed not only cities, but destroyed many suburbs in both North and South and now are destroying the countryside in the North.

    The bad thing the British brought blacks here. Seems more homogeneous population the less bullshit talk and whining about racism etc.

  49. Name a city that’s majority black that thrives. Start with Philly. Not quite. Chicago? Nope. Maybe New Jersey? Hardly. Blacks bring bad. Period. Not all, but most. They’re not civil, they’re loud, they don’t maintain their property – they don’t even consider these innate characteristics on a day to day basis. They’re akin to feral animals. Very odd group.

  50. #ADOS are a group with a specific justice claim. The #ADOS movement demands a specific agenda with policy prescriptions that address the losses stemming from the institution of slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, convict leasing, mass incarceration and immigration.
    Without specific measures being instituted, #ADOS are locked out of the country our ancestors built during chattel slavery. Without reforms through transformative government, we will be left to continue living a third world life in a first world country.

    #ADOS #tangibles2020 #Reparations2020 #LineageMatters #DataMatters @ToneTalks @BreakingBrown ADOS101.com

  51. #ADOS are a group with a specific justice claim. The #ADOS movement demands a specific agenda with policy prescriptions that address the losses stemming from the institution of slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, convict leasing, mass incarceration and immigration.
    Without specific measures being instituted, #ADOS are locked out of the country our ancestors built during chattel slavery. Without reforms through transformative government, we will be left to continue living a third world life in a first world country.

    #ADOS #tangibles2020 #Reparations2020 #LineageMatters #DataMatters @ToneTalks @BreakingBrown ADOS101.com

  52. Even when many inner city residents get access to affordable housing integrating into nice areas with good schools and opportunities, there's a rise in crime with many bring criminal and ghetto backgrounds with them. You can take a man out of the hood, but you can't take the hood out of the man and you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink.

  53. people naturally self segregate and as far is quality of life in different parts of the city look no farther then the difference between europe and africa.

  54. IF this is not the case for reparations, then I do not know what is. All these federal programs denied to black people for years was the substantive plunder and exploitation of black wealth to support this system. Not to mention the realtors association of America practiced predatory lending schemes to these black families…sound familiar to you?

  55. But whites still say we are lazy and don't work ..the government gave whites free land ,bank loans and everything else that can help them who wouldn't come up off of that..

  56. That's okay, because these whites are moving their freaking behinds right back to the black neighborhoods everyday. There's more of them in our neighborhoods than us. I don't mean any harm, but they never wanted us in their neighborhoods, but, they can move anywhere they want, & there's nothing said or done about that though. What I'm saying is that when they move back, the rents are high as heck. These greedy, doggish landlords don't care if we can afford it or not, they're ready to throw people on the streets over this. Why can't the landlords work with people, & charge rent according to each individuals income, that way, there won't be so many homeless people. But all of these greedy slugs care about is making money. They already have somewhere to live, & I don't think that we should be priced out if our neighborhoods. But, what they do to hurt us, will come right back to them. One way, or another. They always get everything they want, later for us poor folks. Well, God don't like ugly, & don't care too much about the beauty. Yet, they're saying make america great again. "Yeah right!"

  57. This video pretends that white flight (and black flight) don't exist at all. Desegregation is perhaps the greatest failed social experiment of all time.

  58. But redlining is highly illegal to do according to my real estate teacher. How is it that these still exist yet it's illegal to do.

  59. The only reason why the whites are there is because they are poor but as soon as they can get out they do ?? The negroes do the same if they can ??

  60. This knowledge we have about racist loan practices need to take this and March all night long. Let the people know Truth is Out !

  61. So where are the invisible walls preventing blacks from just moving the fuck out? Or the telepathic mind fucking caused by whites keeping blacks from getting a good education in schools? Oh yeah! Because there is none! No such thing as white privilege and no such thing as housing segregation, you want people to sell you a home? Get good fucking credit you retards, nobody owes you shit. Go fuck yourselves.

  62. I was just talking to my husband about how segregated neighborhoods (grocery stores, apartments, roads, schools, play grounds, even how quickly construction gets done) is noticeable in our city of less than 100,000. While you’re driving through the predominantly white/rich neighborhoods, you can tell. And when you go down a few streets into the predominantly black/poor neighborhoods, you can tell. Racism and segregation is still very real. We NEED to keep this conversation going.

  63. probably the funniest (and truest) thing Chris Rock's ever said, next to the "Grand Opening; Grand Closing" joke (also true).

  64. So are we using people of color as all non-white people? Or just blacks and Hispanics? Because East Asian and Indian families now make higher income than white..it would make sense to not say people of color being lower than whites economically…p

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