Monday, July 28, 2008

Consequences of Changing Racial Composition of Cities
by C.N, Asian-Nation, July 28, 2008

In case you were not already familiar, the term “White Flight” refers tothe phenomenon of White residents leaving central urban areas of majorcities and moving into suburbs or even farther. This process beganafter World War II and coincided with the birth of suburbanization.

Unfortunately,White flight is also associated with the systematic segregation and“ghettoization” of people of color in these same central urban areas.That is, a combination of unequal government policies, discriminatorylending practices, and unethical real estate agents led to a vastmajority of the Black population being prevented from joining thesuburbanization movement and instead, were left behind isolated inneglected and marginalized central cities.

However, things apparently are changing. As the Wall Street Journal reports, in recent years, demographers and city planners have noticed that in manymetropolitan areas, White flight has slowed considerably and in many of these cities, has actually been reversed.

That is, because of increased investment and development (some wouldcall it gentrification) of downtown areas, many Whites are returning tothe central cities. However, this slow reversal of White flight has ledto some unanticipated consequences for people of color:

Between2000 and 2006, eight of the 50 largest cities, including Boston,Seattle and San Francisco, saw the proportion of whites increase,according to Census figures. The previous decade, only three cities sawincreases.
The changing racial mix is stirring up quarrels overclass and culture. Beloved institutions in traditionally blackcommunities — minority-owned restaurants, book stores — are losing thecustomers who supported them for decades. As neighborhoods grow moremulticultural, conflicts over home prices, taxes and education areopening a new chapter in American race relations....
In recentyears, minority middle-class families, particularly African-Americans,have been moving to the suburbs in greater numbers. At the same time,Hispanic immigrants (who poured into cities from the 1970s through the1990s) are now increasingly bypassing cities for suburbs and ruralareas, seeking jobs on farms and in meat-packing plants.
Citieshave spent a decade tidying up parks and converting decaying factoriesinto retail and living space. That has attracted young professionalsand empty-nesters, many of them white.

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