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Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Changing neighborhoods...

Well so far I've been on a trip with regards to Chicago neighborhoods and Mary Mitchell writes a column about how no matter how nice or desireable the neighborhood that there isn't much diversity. I wonder how and why. Well this is a good column regardless.

It's amazing the changes that are taking place in a lot of neighborhoods and hopefully for the better. She speaks of Maywood and how that western suburb is getting section 8 people (that is people who had to leave the city's housing project because their being torn down). She's thinking about going back to the old neighborhood, Oakland which is also on the lakefront futher north than Kenwood. It was once a neighborhood of housing projects, and now it is turning around being more diverse than ever.

I have one more item. This article discusses the white poor and the black poor. A few weeks ago we traveled on the northwest side of town, through Austin and Humbolt Park. We saw the concentration of blacks in a not very middle class neighborhood. My mother and I discussed why it seems poor blacks seem to be so concentrated. She thinks it's because no one wants to feel the pressure of upward mobility (that is the pressure of getting a much better job). That seems like a good explanation but an academic from DePaul about the white poor...

The simplest answer is there is no pocket of poor white people. Poor whites are far better integrated; however, there is a level of penetration that poor folks in general cannot make,"
So this in response to the question of where are all the poor whites or are there pockets of them. I can attest to that, in my uncle's old neighborhood there were some poor whites living on his block in an apartment building take these facts from that article...

The U.S. Census says the median household income for the poorest white neighborhood in the Chicago area -- meaning it is at least 55 percent white -- is $40,792. But the poorest black neighborhood is 97 percent black, and the median household income is only $14,205. That says to me that poor whites are in economically diverse environments, not ghettos.

Poor whites just like blacks can suffer the same issues as losing jobs, getting ill, even the issues of child support. Yet somehow black Americans are still marginalized. WHY? Well here's that same academic from DePaul...

"Blacks are highly concentrated to begin with, regardless of their socio-economic status," Kim said. "A number of studies have indicated that Chicago is still one of the most racially segregated cities in the country. What that means for blacks is if you are middle class or upper middle class, your likelihood of living in a black neighborhood is fairly high. For whites the pattern is slightly different. Even if you are poor, you have a little more options as to where you can live...."

"You will not see that many white folks down there. Despite the fact that these are very nice neighborhoods, there are very few whites willing to go into these neighborhoods," he said. "But it is not so much that blacks are segregated [by] whites. Blacks are segregated [by] everybody else.

"That includes Hispanics, immigrants in general and Asians,"

So there you have it. This is probably why a neighborhood such as South Shore, Chatham or anyothers aren't exactly attracting white residents. Could it be because they think they'll be moving into the ghetto? There are many questions, but there have been articles and maybe even studies as to where the black middle class lives and how they must maintain.

See for the most part the black middle class in Chicago lives near places where the black poor live. The black poor may come over from their part of town to cause trouble in a black middle class neighborhood. Black middle class families may also have relatives who are still poor and probably even went to jail. It is possible, and this should not be taken as a knock at all, but it's often true.

This reminds me of an important addage that anyone who aspire for upward mobility should demand. Never leave those who have not been blessed behind. Even then would the people who you seek to help be willing to take it an learn from it.

This has just spurred some ideas with regards to classism in black America and another neighborhood post on Chatham. There shall be something on those two subjects in the near future.

Neighborhoods change, but poor blacks stuck in ghettos from Chicago Sun-Times 6/21/2005

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