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shanthemanatl
Dec 20, 2006, 3:58 PM
I found this phenomenon fascinating. What do you think?

SUNDOWN TOWNS

A Hidden Dimension of American Racism


On Oct. 2001, James W. Loewen stopped at a convenience store in the small Illinois town of Anna -- a name that, as a store clerk confirmed, stands for "Ain't No N*ggers Allowed."

On Nov. 8, 1909, nearly a century before Loewen stepped into the store, a mob of angry white citizens drove out Anna's 40 or so black families following the lynching in a nearby town of a black man accused of raping a white woman. Anna became all-white literally overnight, Loewen reports, and embraced racial exclusiveness for the long haul. According to the 2000 census, just one family with a black member lives among Anna's 7,000 residents.

Anna is far from unique, as Loewen, a sociologist, argues in his powerful and important new book, Sundown Towns . On the contrary, Loewen reports that -- beginning in roughly 1890 with the end of Reconstruction and continuing until the fair-housing legislation of the late 1960s -- whites in America created thousands of whites-only towns, commonly known as "sundown towns" owing to the signs often posted at their city limits that warned, as one did in Hawthorne, Calif., in the 1930s: "N*gger, Don't Let The Sun Set On YOU In Hawthorne." In fact, Loewen claims that, during that 70-year period, outside the traditional South, "probably a majority of all incorporated places [in the United States] kept out African Americans."

Such a bold claim would seem to require an exact count of sundown towns to back it up. But Loewen admits that the challenges of uncovering and confirming the existence of each sundown town -- when everything from census figures to local histories proved misleading -- limited his ability to nail down an exact figure. Instead, he writes, "I believe at least 3,000 and perhaps as many as 15,000 independent towns went sundown in the United States, mostly between 1890 and about 1930."

This vagueness, along with Loewen's almost evangelical passion for his material, raises questions of credibility -- or at least of potential overstatement. But Loewen expertly dodges those accusations. He devotes almost an entire chapter to explaining his research -- detailing his rationale for defining sundown towns, laying out his statistical methods and revealing how he triangulated oral history, written sources and census data to arrive at a "confirmation." So when he reports that he's personally verified the existence of roughly 1,000 sundown towns between 1890 and 1930, you believe him. And because he pairs that finding with an analysis of the history, causes and patterns of sundown towns that shows that they were, in many ways, as logical -- and often as violent -- an outgrowth of American racism as lynching, he ultimately makes a strong case that sundown towns were a significant feature of the American landscape. As is often the case when the subject is race, the relative lack of hard evidence ultimately becomes part of the story, rather than a hindrance to it.

As in Anna, whites in about 50 towns used mob violence to expel and keep out African Americans, and many more relied on the threat of violence, Loewen reports. Some towns, he writes, passed "legal" ordinances banning hiring blacks or renting or selling them homes; others relied on citizens to pay informal visits to warn visiting African Americans that they "must not remain in the town." In 1960, the press reported that realtors in Grosse Pointe, Mich., had conceived of an altogether more clinical way to insure racial exclusivity: a "point system" used to assess a potential buyer's eligibility that included a rating for swarthiness.

Often, Sundown Towns argues, a community used a variety of methods in order to remain all-white through the years. To demonstrate this, Loewen charts the course of segregation in Wyandotte, Mich.: In the early 1870s, whites there drove out a black barber; in 1881 and 1888, they expelled the town's black hotel workers; in 1907, four white men beat and robbed a black man at the train station; nine years later, a mob of white townspeople "bombarded" a boardinghouse, driving out all the African Americans and killing one. "In the 1940s," Loewen writes, "police arrested or warned African Americans for 'loitering suspiciously in the business district' or being in the park, and white children stoned African American children in front of Roosevelt High School." In the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania professor who grew up in Wyandotte told him, all the members of a black family who moved into town ended up dead.

If Loewen's first priority is to unveil what he calls the "hidden history" of sundown towns, his second is to debunk the widely held idea that when the issue is race, the South is always "the scene of the crime," as James Baldwin famously wrote. The incidence of sundown communities in the South, Loewen reports, was actually far lower than it was in a Midwestern state such as Illinois, in which roughly 70 percent of towns were sundown towns in 1970. "This does not make whites in the traditional South less racist than [those] in . . . other regions of the country," he suggests.

With the rise of the automobile, among other things, came the birth of sundown suburbs. In 1909, Loewen reports, Chevy Chase, Md., became one of the nation's first after the owner of the Chevy Chase Land Company sued a developer to whom it had sold a parcel of land because of rumors that he planned to build affordable housing for African American workers. The company ultimately prevented the development, and the land sat vacant for decades before becoming home to Saks Fifth Avenue, its current resident. No doubt, the owner of the Chevy Chase Land Company would approve of the suburb's current racial makeup; in 2000, Loewen writes, "its 6,183 residents included just 18 people living in families with at least one African American householder." But even that isn't white enough anymore, Loewen charges: Whites are increasingly fleeing nearly all-white suburbs for lily-white exurbs, adding sprawl to the already numerous economic, psychological and sociological tolls of residential segregation.

Much has been written about the history of segregation within American cities, but this is the first full-length study of places that sought to exclude African Americans entirely. Loewen's desire to be exhaustive is therefore understandable. But in this case, exhaustive sometimes means exhausting. The book would have been more enjoyable to read had Loewen focused in depth on a few representative sundown towns, teasing out the history and sociology of the phenomenon in a more narrative, less textbook-like form.

That said, for its meticulous research and passionate chronicling of the complex and often shocking history of whites-only communities, Sundown Towns deserves to become an instant classic in the fields of American race relations, urban studies and cultural geography. After reading it, you'll view your own community, and the whole of the American landscape, more suspiciously -- and rightly so.

LSyd
Dec 20, 2006, 4:28 PM
very interesting.

-

DeadManWalking
Dec 20, 2006, 4:50 PM
This is no surprise. Even though such practices are illegal now, you still see many suburbs with overwhelming white majorities that defy logic. For example there are suburbs here in KC that are 95%+ white, but immediately border a city (KCMO, or KCK) that is 30%+ black.

LostInTheZone
Dec 20, 2006, 5:02 PM
no- I live in Pennsylvania. We passed an emancipation proclamation in 1780 that phased out existing slaves and granted full citizenship to free blacks, after slavery had already largely dwindled out because German immigrants were better at growing wheat than slaves from sugar and cotton plantations.

shanthemanatl
Dec 20, 2006, 6:12 PM
no- I live in Pennsylvania. We passed an emancipation proclamation in 1780 that phased out existing slaves and granted full citizenship to free blacks, after slavery had already largely dwindled out because German immigrants were better at growing wheat than slaves from sugar and cotton plantations.

That's interesting. The author of this book actually believes that Pennsylvania had more "sundown towns" that any other state that he researched, though he partially attributes that to the fact that Pennsylvania has so many towns/townships.

Cirrus
Dec 20, 2006, 6:22 PM
Slavery and segregation are not the same thing, LITZ.

Lecom
Dec 20, 2006, 6:44 PM
This is no surprise. Even though such practices are illegal now, you still see many suburbs with overwhelming white majorities that defy logic. For example there are suburbs here in KC that are 95%+ white, but immediately border a city (KCMO, or KCK) that is 30%+ black.
Same with Detroit city and burbs, right?

Chicago Shawn
Dec 20, 2006, 6:58 PM
I have read sections of this book. I found out that the Levittowns not only did not sell to black families, but wrote into the subdivison bylaws that only members of the white caucasion race were allowed to reside in the homes. If developers did not abide by this, they were not elgiable for governement loans and grants durring the post war housing boom, and the residents were not eligable for FHA mortgage guarentees which enabled them the buying power for suburban homes. This lasted to the Fair Housing Act of 1968, at which point the author writes, the racial issue bacame a gentlemen's agreement between home sellers and realtors.

brickell
Dec 20, 2006, 7:04 PM
I guess Miami Beach could be considered such a place. Black entertainers would play the hotels but were not allowed to stay in the hotels themselves, creating a booming afterhours nightlife in Overtown, Miami's "colored town". As late as the 50's I believe, black hotel workers had to carry ID's to be let on to the island. The beaches themselves were integrated until the 60's.

Regardless of whether it's a Sundown town or not, most every place I've lived has had the proverbial other side of the tracks, where enforced by law or not, segregation was a de facto way of life.

MayorOfChicago
Dec 20, 2006, 7:14 PM
Yeah I would agree that a LOT of small towns in America are all white. I think it all depends on where you are as to why this has happened. Places in the midwest are just as racist as places in the south, but I think the south is more in your face racist while the midwest is more behind your back.

I know growing up in Iowa there are probably hundreds of small towns without minorities. The reason for this probably has a great deal to do with the fact that many of these towns were settled in the 1800's with white immigrants - they were for the most part the only people who were moving to the rural open farming areas of the midwest. Almost all German and Irish with some Scandinavian. These towns were full of whites from the get-go, and most of them have just been on a very slow (although faster since the 1980's) slide for the past 75 years. There's no new people moving into any of these towns, so EVERYONE knows everyone else and there certainly aren't minorities moving in (or whites). This creates racism because you have generations of white people growing up with only white people hearing "horror stories" of what minorities do in the south and cities. Obviously most of these Irish settlers were the "minorities" of the 1800's, but now we've found new easier people to accost.

I've met a lot of people from small towns who aren't racist for the same reasons as racist people I've met from the south. It's much more just a general unknown and ignorant/naive racism. They've never been around any minorities and so therefore it's not something a lot of people want to deal with.

I grew up in a college town with around 15,000 minorities, about 40% asian, 30% black and 30% hispanic. I always had minorities in my classes growing up and were friends with them in high school. It was so confusing in college to become friends with people who were actually good nice human beings - but were generally racist just because they didn't know any better and had never been around a black guy or a girl from korea.

It's amazing the things people will do to stay away from minorities, waste all that time and energy, probably stall the economic growth of their economy and freeze their town in time - all because they're scared of a different skin color.

:no:

ComandanteCero
Dec 20, 2006, 7:15 PM
So, if i understand this correctly, a sundown town was one in which African Americans were wholely excluded, or pushed out by means of force, intimidation, legal statutes, or blocked access to capital. He's describing a subset of a larger phenomenon (i.e racial segregation), where by virtue of size and isolation the municipality was able to entirely exclude people (whereas in larger cities people were segregated in space by where they lived, although not by municipality). Sounds interesting. Although the article makes it sound as if people should be surprised that racism existed outside of the South.

MayorOfChicago
Dec 20, 2006, 7:19 PM
I guess Miami Beach could be considered such a place. Black entertainers would play the hotels but were not allowed to in the hotels themselves, creating a booming afterhours nightlife in Overtown, Miami's "colored town". As late as the 50's I believe, black hotel workers had to carry ID's to be let on to the island. The beaches themselves were integrated until the 60's.

Regardless of whether it's a Sundown town or not, most every place I've lived has had the proverbial other side of the tracks, where enforced by law or not, segregation was a de facto way of life.

Wasn't Sinatra famous for bitching out and refusing to play their gig in Vegas because Sammy Davis Jr. was made to enter the hotel through a side or back door and not be seen coming in the front. This was one of the first things I know of where a famous person just outright pointed to the fact that it was ridiculous.

BTinSF
Dec 20, 2006, 7:21 PM
This vagueness, along with Loewen's almost evangelical passion for his material, raises questions of credibility -- or at least of potential overstatement . . . .

With the rise of the automobile, among other things, came the birth of sundown suburbs. In 1909, Loewen reports, Chevy Chase, Md., became one of the nation's first after the owner of the Chevy Chase Land Company sued a developer to whom it had sold a parcel of land because of rumors that he planned to build affordable housing for African American workers. The company ultimately prevented the development, and the land sat vacant for decades before becoming home to Saks Fifth Avenue, its current resident. No doubt, the owner of the Chevy Chase Land Company would approve of the suburb's current racial makeup; in 2000, Loewen writes, "its 6,183 residents included just 18 people living in families with at least one African American householder." But even that isn't white enough anymore, Loewen charges: Whites are increasingly fleeing nearly all-white suburbs for lily-white exurbs, adding sprawl to the already numerous economic, psychological and sociological tolls of residential segregation.



Well, overstatement indeed. I lived in Montgomery County when I was growing up. I actually remember when the Washington DC schools were desegregated (vaguely) and that was enough for my family to move out of DC and into Maryland (segregation ended there too, but there were almost no black people so it didn't matter). In those days of the 50's and 60's, segregation was real and people actually did put their houses up for sale when rumors of a black family moving in swept a neighborhood. A fellow named George Mahoney ran for Governor of Maryland on the slogan "Your home is your castle", well understood code for they can't make you sell or rent it to a black person.

To say that anything like that exists today is ludicrous. People aren't moving to exurbs to get away from black people, they are moving there because they can get a bigger house cheaper--or because they want more vacant land around them. The question is why more black people aren't doing it too--and it's not because they couldn't.

Chevy Chase today is a very upscale, upper income community. I'm not sure I trust the statistics given by this author, but I doubt any lack of black residents is the result of an effort to keep them out. Even back when, I suspect the developer didn't want downscale housing as much as he didn't want black people. Frankly, racial prejudice works both ways and many black families prefer black neighborhoods, albeit prosperous ones if they are prosperous themselves (call it the Atlanta phenomenon). Adjacent to Chevy Chase, MD is the Chevy Chase neighborhood of DC, which is equally as nice, and I'll bet you'll find quite a few more black families there. Also, there are huge heavily black suburbs in Prince Georges County (next to Montgomery) where, to all appearances, many blacks who want the suburbs appear to prefer to live for reasons of their own.

bobdreamz
Dec 20, 2006, 7:44 PM
Mayor of Chicago you don't mess with Sinatra! Anyways Brickell beat me to it but Miami Beach was one of those 'Sundown" towns which amazes me to see how different it is today (nude beaches, gay enclave). Any black entertainer or sports hero couldn't stay on the beach after dark and this included Sammy Davis Jr & Mohammed Ali.

Omaharocks
Dec 20, 2006, 7:46 PM
To say that anything like that exists today is ludicrous. People aren't moving to exurbs to get away from black people, they are moving there because they can get a bigger house cheaper--or because they want more vacant land around them. The question is why more black people aren't doing it too--and it's not because they couldn't.



Oy. That's pretty damn naive of you BTinSF. De facto segregation exists in every city of every state in this country. There are so many structural limitations in place that prevent many black families from buying houses in wealthy, white suburbs that I'd have to spend the rest of my wednesday writing a 100-page post to even partially explain this. Instead, I recommend you read some Jonathon Kozol or Julius Wilson to understand the how extensive the problem is.

shanthemanatl
Dec 20, 2006, 7:59 PM
Oy. That's pretty damn naive of you BTinSF. De facto segregation exists in every city of every state in this country. There are so many structural limitations in place that prevent many black families from buying houses in wealthy, white suburbs that I'd have to spend the rest of my wednesday writing a 100-page post to even partially explain this. Instead, I recommend you read some Jonathon Kozol or Julius Wilson to understand the how extensive the problem is.

I think many white Americans, whether from the West, Midwest, Northeast, or South, remain in very deep denial about the persistent level of prejudice and bigotry that exists in their communities.

Oh, I know tons of people will come out of the woodwork and declare, "Well, not in my community, or "I've never discriminated against anyone", but I bet if you ask your African-American friends about bigotry in your community, they'll paint a very different picture.

BTinSF
Dec 20, 2006, 7:59 PM
Oy. That's pretty damn naive of you BTinSF. De facto segregation exists in every city of every state in this country. There are so many structural limitations in place that prevent many black families from buying houses in wealthy, white suburbs that I'd have to spend the rest of my wednesday writing a 100-page post to even partially explain this. Instead, I recommend you read some Jonathon Kozol or Julius Wilson to understand the how extensive the problem is.

Defacto segregation is precisely what I described as now existing and it has many causes. But defacto segregation, which is another way of saying preferential housing patterns, does not prevent a black person from moving into a white neighborhood if that's what they want to do. What might, I admit, is that none of the existing white people want to sell to them and although that's illegal, it happens. But unlike the 50's, that attitude is no longer so prevalent as to keep a determined black buyer from finding a house in the neighborhood if he/she wants it.

I'm not saying prejudice is dead. I'm saying it's weak enough that if there's a town of 6000, as Chevy Chase was described to be, right next to a majority black city like DC (with as many civil rights lawyers as that place has), I'd look for other reasons than that black people who want to live there can't--like maybe a lot of them just don't want to.

BTinSF
Dec 20, 2006, 8:07 PM
I think many white Americans, whether from the West, Midwest, Northeast, or South, remain in very deep denial about the persistent level of prejudice and bigotry that exists in their communities.

Oh, I know tons of people will come out of the woodwork and declare, "Well, not in my community, or "I've never discriminated against anyone", but I bet if you ask your African-American friends about bigotry in your community, they'll paint a very different picture.

Oh, heck. I'm gay. Prompt me and I'll cry you a river about anti-gay prejudice. But the fact is that people manage but the people who dwell on the roadblocks other people put in their path don't manage as well as the ones who just go after what they want and are smart about it--like buying a house in the town or neighborhood where they want one.

Cirrus
Dec 20, 2006, 8:12 PM
De facto segregation exists in every city of every state in this country. While certainly less than desirable, defacto segregation is not the same as law-bound segregation, and it's a disservice to the cruelties of forced segregation to suggest otherwise.

It's like suggesting 100 murders amounts to the genocide of an entire nation. 100 murders are bad, but to suggest they are the same as real genocide weakens what real genocide really is.

Cirrus
Dec 20, 2006, 8:18 PM
By the way, I'm white and I couldn't live in Chevy Chase either. Place is ultra expensive. If it's too expensive for many blacks that may mean blacks still have catching up to do relative to the highest tiers of white affluence, but it doesn't make the people who live in Chevy Chase racists, defacto or otherwise.

To suggest race is the only factor in places like that is, frankly, far more naive than thinking race isn't a factor at all.

LMich
Dec 20, 2006, 10:47 PM
Cirrus, that's the problem. A very, very large portion of this country actually believes that race isn't ever a factor and that minorities are having mass hallucinations.

As for Sundown Towns, the entire county of Livingston County here in Michigan used to be like that. Blacks were only supposed to drive through, and to this day there is still an attached stigma to the county, which had a Klan presence as recently as the 1980's. My dad and a group of friends were literally chased out of Howell in the 1980's for attending the balloon festival and then having the audacity to try to go to a local bar.

Jeff_in_Dayton
Dec 20, 2006, 10:56 PM
There is a little hamlet, just a collection of houses and country store, between Hodgenville and Bardstown KY called White City that was supposed to be like that...that they didnt want blacks around. This is sort of an urban legend perhaps, that places that incorporate the term "White" in the place name are unfriendly to blacks (I think there is a Whitehaven near Memphis that was like that too?).

Jeff_in_Dayton
Dec 20, 2006, 11:01 PM
A place that used to be (I dont know if it still is) a sundown neighborhood was the Little Italy area in Cleveland. This area was a no-go area while the neighborhoods around it turned black.

austin356
Dec 20, 2006, 11:17 PM
I thought this stuff only happened in the south.

hauntedheadnc
Dec 20, 2006, 11:56 PM
I thought this stuff only happened in the south.


In a good bit of the South, there are simply too many black citizens for this to happen. What are you going to do -- ban between 40 and 70% of the population of the county from coming to the county seat?

dvstampa
Dec 21, 2006, 12:16 AM
Reading an article that describes 1909 is in no way a reflection of how society is today. Racism does still exist. It probably will exist forever. You can't make one person like another race...no matter what government program you try to instill. But all of these folks acting like there are towns in every corner of this country pushing out minorities is absurd.

BTinSF has made some great points in that people are free to live where they wish to live. Some choose to live near work. Some choose to live near family. Some choose to live in super wealthy neighborhoods simply because they don't want to be left out. But there are no laws or subliminal racism keeping minorities from moving into certain communities.

I believe it was Al Sharpton who criticized Howard Dean because his campaign only had two blacks on staff back in 2004. But it was pointed out that Howard Dean was from Vermont, where blacks make up less than 2% of the population. According to the numbers, Dean's staff more than doubled the minority percentages of his own state. Is it his fault that minorities aren't flocking to the chill of Vermont? I've asked most of my minority friends, and they'll tell you just that...it's damn cold up there and they don't want any part of it!

And yet, you have a reverse situation right here in Oakland. This column from the Oakland Tribune (http://www.insidebayarea.com/columnists/brendapayton/ci_4360769) documents blacks leaving the inner-city of Oakland for suburbs. And the author, who is black I might add, seems to think this is bad. Or just as BTinSF says, she seems to think blacks should stick together to help rebuild and foster their neighborhoods.

Either way, we're damned if we do and damned if we don't. Whites leaving for the suburbs are vilified for their contribution to spraw. Minorities leave for the suburbs and are told they are turning their backs on their communities. Whites move back into the city and the same nuts bitching about spraw are blaming the whites for higher rents and that dirty word; "gentrification."

LMich
Dec 21, 2006, 12:29 AM
Reading an article that describes 1909 is in no way a reflection of how society is today. Racism does still exist. It probably will exist forever. You can't make one person like another race...no matter what government program you try to instill. But all of these folks acting like there are towns in every corner of this country pushing out minorities is absurd.

There ARE towns in just about every corner of the country still like this. And, it's not the blatant racism that worries minorities much anymore. We all know that you can't make people change. It's the subtle institutionalized racism that worries minorities, and that is just as real as the blatant. Denial is a sonofabitch. There were Sundown Towns in the past, and there are still Sundown Towns, today. I'm not surprised by your nonchalant tone about race issues and relations, you've always been dismissive and contemptuous. But, it still frustrates and saddens me that there are so many purposefully ignorant people like you out there many of which decided the fate of many minorities on a daily basis.

Tex1899
Dec 21, 2006, 12:41 AM
As a white person I can go into certain black neighborhoods and get the "you're in the wrong neighborhood" look.

I went to visit a customer of my dad's company when I was in college - this customer is a black-owned company. I drove down the street looking for the address, found the business, parked, and went inside. I was in a coat and tie, too. Once inside I introduced myself to the owner and he said the gentleman behind me wanted to speak to me; it was a black police officer who asked to see my driver's license. He called in my DL number, didn't "find" anything (what he was checking I have no idea), handed my DL back to me, and left. Racism, sundown towns, ...it runs both ways.

dvstampa
Dec 21, 2006, 12:46 AM
Lmich, if a sundown town existed today, in the form of this article, don't you think a news agency would have exposed it? CNN? FOX? 60 Minutes? Dateline?

If we find out about a lonely gay Senators flirtatious emails with pages, certainly we'd report about a town actively and legislatively pushing out minorities.

Then again, maybe I'm "purposefully ignorant" because of my role in the news media. I mean, why do my job if I don't have to.

But, it still frustrates and saddens me that there are so many purposefully ignorant people like you out there many of which decided the fate of many minorities on a daily basis.

Explain this one please. How am I...Mr. DVSTampa deciding the fate of minorities?

MayorOfChicago
Dec 21, 2006, 12:59 AM
the LAWS are obviously gone, now it's just people being selective and under the table racism.

shanthemanatl
Dec 21, 2006, 1:01 AM
Actually, the town of Vidor, Texas was the subject of a "town hall" meeting on CNN/Paula Zahn last night. Apparently, many African-Americans in that part of East Texas still consider Vidor to be a "sundown town". Though some white residents disputed that characterization, quite a few others freely admitted that Vidor had earned that reputation quite deservedly.

volguus zildrohar
Dec 21, 2006, 1:50 AM
As a white person I can go into certain black neighborhoods and get the "you're in the wrong neighborhood" look.

I went to visit a customer of my dad's company when I was in college - this customer is a black-owned company. I drove down the street looking for the address, found the business, parked, and went inside. I was in a coat and tie, too. Once inside I introduced myself to the owner and he said the gentleman behind me wanted to speak to me; it was a black police officer who asked to see my driver's license. He called in my DL number, didn't "find" anything (what he was checking I have no idea), handed my DL back to me, and left. Racism, sundown towns, ...it runs both ways.

I wouldn't call this situation the same thing. I've never heard of a white person in a black area being told to leave or die. Racism is a trademark of all humans but this tale isn't 'sundown town' - this is akin to DWB.

fflint
Dec 21, 2006, 2:18 AM
Racism does *not* run against whites in America when we're talking about sundown laws and such. That's an obviously false claim, Tex1899.

village person
Dec 21, 2006, 7:11 AM
Christ! This town of Anna, IL is about 30 minutes from me. I've only ever passed through. I thought it looked quaint, but I won't picture it the same again. :no: (Granted, it's only used as an example in the article of many such places, but still...) I'm happy to say that Cape Girardeau does have black people, hopefully some of which found whatever little refuge here from these surrounding sundown towns. :sly: Wow.

As it's been pointed out, the South couldn't rely on pushing minorities out of town because there are simply too many. I grew up (in the '80s-'90s) with many relatives in small, isolated towns in the deep South that I visited in the summer or winter school breaks. Blacks lived in these towns, just not where white people did. In fact, in many towns, they were quite removed from the white areas. You could almost forget that half the town wasn't white! In retrospect, it's really chilling. Everyone knew the black areas as "the quarters," and these were like little rural ghettos: tiny dwellings in shambles, junk strewn about. Utter poverty. In one particular town, too small to be incorporated and only consisting of maybe a dozen or two dwellings, these "quarters" were in sight from the heart of the white area. We knew it as the one part of town you looked at, but didn't know. As a child, you just take it for granted. But it was always so vastly different to me than what I knew in the "big city," Jacksonville, and I'm very glad I didn't grow up out there. The black people in Jacksonville lived amongst us. Today, however, I know better and can see some unnerving parallels. As a child, I didn't know much about the Northside of Jacksonville, which is the section of town not unlike those small-town "quarters," but on a much larger scale. And I also didn't know much about those areas of town where you could hardly see any blacks. I had the fortune, however minute, of growing up in an area somewhat between the two, where white and black people both lived, and in my last few years there, asians and hispanics were sizeable minorities. With however much contempt, people of different races lived there for as long as I knew. Still, the more I came to know the greater city, the more it seemed like the small towns I visited my relatives in. Many more people than I ever realized lived their lives with the 'other race' out-of-sight. By virtue of the city's size advantage over small towns, there were those areas where some level of integration had been reached, like where I grew up, but of considerable size were the areas that were, well, 'color-coded'.

I'm humbled by what I continue to learn about the world I live in. I think it's hard for many white people to realize the extent of the racial divide still surrounding them, because it doesn't hit them in a personal way. I didn't grow up isolated from racial issues, I grew up smack in the middle of them, though with the perspective of a white person. There are people in my family, people whom I love, who are racist, and there are people with whom I grew up, people who influenced my life greatly, who are minorities. It's a position that I've learned a lot from, especially to always be ready to call my limited perspective into question.

MidtownMile
Dec 21, 2006, 7:32 AM
Interesting topic. I actually think the conversations here may show the direction in which we have and have not gone. Just a few observations:

1. These towns exist. Of course they do and still will. We are dealing with people's thoughts and upbringing. From a pure biological perspective, that takes generations to change.

2. These towns do exist both directions. I'm sorry, but if you think there are not Black exclusive areas, I will gladly take you into some across this nation. There is racial hatred. It is a fact. It works both ways (albeit in different ways). Again, these are people's thoughts, and only education and time can change that.

3. People are free to chose where they live, but there are other constraints. Some constraints make things like this easier to perpetuate. That does not necessarily run into institutionalized racism, but it is a factor. (and not to send in a tangent, but I am a firm believer that market appeal will drive away institutionalized racism in the future, but EARLY education is where the current faults are lying - not secondary and post-secondary).

chi-townJay
Dec 21, 2006, 9:13 AM
The question here is WHY do we hate one another,seriously the color of skin we are,the money we make,the places we live,the languange we speek,the way we walk,the clothes we wear,even the food we eat dosen't tell the story of that man or womans SOUL,something we all have and if we are judging each other than why don't we judge by CHARACTER NOT COLOR?Because you see,If we all we're the same would'nt that make us millions of simple minded people with no goals in life?even if we we're all the same we would still find a way to hate each other because we would still have the HAVES AND DON'T HAVES and MONEY is the root of all evil,History has shown us that no matter of skin color there are gonna be good people and bad people in this world and its are responsibility to seperate the two,But skin color does not substitute the soul of a person and thats exactly what we did.

brickell
Dec 21, 2006, 3:25 PM
As it's been pointed out, the South couldn't rely on pushing minorities out of town because there are simply too many. I grew up (in the '80s-'90s) with many relatives in small, isolated towns in the deep South that I visited in the summer or winter school breaks. Blacks lived in these towns, just not where white people did. In fact, in many towns, they were quite removed from the white areas. You could almost forget that half the town wasn't white! In retrospect, it's really chilling. Everyone knew the black areas as "the quarters," and these were like little rural ghettos. . .

There are people in my family, people whom I love, who are racist, and there are people with whom I grew up, people who influenced my life greatly, who are minorities. It's a position that I've learned a lot from, especially to always be ready to call my limited perspective into question.



I came across this just a couple of years ago. A small very rural Florida town that I lived in early in life (Hardee County). Family still lives there so I visit often. I had no idea there was a black section to town. You never see them. Yet driving around randomly one day I came across it. They had their own shops and churches. That fact that it was there didn't surprise me, it was the fact that I had no idea that it was there. It still seems strange me to that such a small town, where everybody knows everybody else is able to retain such a split personality. In Orlando, Tampa and Miami, you can't hide it, but it's funcationally the same. They have their side, we have ours and for whatever reason, it doesn't seem to have changed that much over the years.

MayorOfChicago
Dec 21, 2006, 3:47 PM
These places still DEFINITELY exist. They're just so "under the radar" how they work.

I had a friend from a small town who was asian, and adopted by a white couple. He said besides him and his brother, there were no non-white people in his town or the two small towns nearby that made up their little "area". He said at two points in high school, a black family moved into one of the towns. The people didn't go knock on the door and ask them to leave, but they were both gone within 3 months. He said in this case, it was more that a lot of these people had just never seen a black person in real life, let alone having one in their town. They were so worked up about it and nervous around these new famlies, that they felt like they were THE talk of all three of these towns the whole time they were there. They finally had to just move away because they couldn't even live their lives, they were constantly being stared at and had every move scrutenized.

I thought this was absurd - not having even SEEN a black person your whole life, but then I met my roommate when I moved to Chicago. She grew up in a farm in rural northern Iowa. She said she was in high school before she ever saw a black person, at a mall in Waterloo, Iowa. She still remembers it to this day. So strange.

Antares41
Dec 22, 2006, 3:56 PM
A place that used to be (I dont know if it still is) a sundown neighborhood was the Little Italy area in Cleveland. This area was a no-go area while the neighborhoods around it turned black.


Don't know if that area is adjacent to Case Western Univ. but during the summer of 1982 while I was taking a walk around the area and old Italian man stop me and asked me if I was lost. Well I wasn't, but, my instinct tolded me that he was trying to tell me that I ought not walk through that neighborhood.
I turned around and went back in the other direction , not known the reputation of the area I thought it was probably best not to press my luck.

Pillsbury Doughboy
Dec 28, 2006, 2:53 PM
I wouldn't call this situation the same thing. I've never heard of a white person in a black area being told to leave or die. Racism is a trademark of all humans but this tale isn't 'sundown town' - this is akin to DWB.

There are plenty of areas where that is the case---I could drive ten minutes and be in a hostile area just because I'm white. Although I agree with you that the analogy was more related to DWB.

I once read that Cherokee County, Georgia, used to have a sign which read something about black people not being allowed. My dad said he saw that sign about twenty years ago---not that long ago. Cherokee County used to be in the rural north Georgia hill country, where there were and are virtually no black people---in fact, there are more Latinos than black people.

Most of these sundown towns it seems are in areas that were mostly white to begin with----and they want to keep it that way. Like HauntedHead wrote, it's virtually impossible in most places in the South to create a sundown town.

Pillsbury Doughboy
Dec 28, 2006, 2:55 PM
I thought this was absurd - not having even SEEN a black person your whole life, but then I met my roommate when I moved to Chicago. She grew up in a farm in rural northern Iowa. She said she was in high school before she ever saw a black person, at a mall in Waterloo, Iowa. She still remembers it to this day. So strange.

I'll go you one crazier. A friend of my girlfriend's is from northern Cobb County, Georgia (metro Atlanta). She had never met a black person until she enrolled at Augusta State University. How about that? :shrug:

toddguy
Dec 28, 2006, 4:01 PM
I'll go you one crazier. A friend of my girlfriend's is from northern Cobb County, Georgia (metro Atlanta). She had never met a black person until she enrolled at Augusta State University. How about that? :shrug:

I did not really 'meet' a non white person until I was in the sixth grade(when I had my first 'non white' classmate) I had seen them before though..mostly out of a car window. No kidding. My elementary school had 700 students every year I was there grades 1 though 5..and every student was white. Sad isn't it?:( That was how suburban life could be in the 60's and 70's. Of course that was the 70's and thank God it isn't that bad anymore.

My neighborhood when I was in elementary school was 100% white..and all families with kids. I did not 'meet' anyone my age whose parents had divorced until the 6th grade either.

HurricaneHugo
Dec 29, 2006, 12:24 AM
What about Mexicans?

How would be seen in these sundown towns?

MtnClimber
Dec 29, 2006, 2:28 AM
What about Mexicans?

How would be seen in these sundown towns?

I can't speak for mexicans, but alot of this sundown stuff seems to apply to blacks the most. I think you can pretty much find mexicans in any rural place in America. And the average racist white man would rather have a mexican live next to him, then a black person.

brickell
Dec 29, 2006, 4:43 AM
In the small towns in florida that I'm familiar with, the Mexicans have actually taken the place of the white's that used to live there. As more whites move to cities and suburbs, the migrants are the ones owning and operating the grocers and stores. They're taking over the picking operations. They're bringing their families and starting farms of their own. For whatever reason, the black families have stayed put in their separate and unequal neighborhoods.

creamcityleo79
Dec 29, 2006, 8:50 AM
It's interesting watching this conversation unfold between people from different parts of the country. When I moved here to Milwaukee in 2004 from Sacramento I had NO IDEA that the place was so racially segregated. It is now ever so apparent to me that many whites in the Midwest simply have no concept of integration, diversity, and acceptance. In a recent poll of Milwaukee area residents 55%(It was that much AT LEAST) of whites said that they would not go to a certain area simply because another area was dominated by another race. There was another alarming number (I think 25+%) that said they would feel uncomfortable in a social setting with other races. This is ridiculous. Coming from Sacramento, it was shocking to me that there could be places like this(even if it had been in the South). from Wikipedia:
Sacramento is notably diverse racially, ethnically, and by household income, and has a notable lack of inter-racial disharmony. In 2002, Time magazine (http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,340694,00.html) and the Civil Rights Project of Harvard University identified Sacramento as the most racially/ethnically integrated major city in America. [2]. The U.S. Census Bureau also groups Sacramento with other U.S. cities having a "High Diversity" rating of the diversity index. [3]

This description holds true for many California cities...and to a certain extent, other West Coast big cities. I see where the people from California in this thread are coming from. Because, I used to be there and I couldn't fathom racism and segregation on the level that I see it here. But, now that I live here, it's mortifying to hear some of the things people have the audacity to say without any shame about other races(mostly Black and Hispanic). Anyway, as a gay man and as a human being, I cannot live here any longer. My husband and I are getting out in April and moving to Sacramento.

I work in a call center that employs many open-minded, accepting, and diverse people. They see the racism and segregation and they all want out, too...and they're from here!!! This is a bigger issue than Sundown Towns. This is something affecting a lot of Rust Belt metros. Don't get me wrong. Milwaukee is an okay city. But, the race problems plaguing this city are too big for me to wrap my head around. This "blue" state is only blue to a certain point. Once it gets to the issues of race and equality, they're red as most Southerners!!

LMich
Dec 29, 2006, 9:58 AM
You're missing a major difference and that's the size of the minority, and particular, black community in Western cities. Whites are generally comfortable as long as the minority/black population is under 30% of a cities total. I'm not sure why that is a magic number, but it's one I've seen a lot. I've observed that it's after about 30% that blacks start getting in major leadership positions in the city government, and when whites begin to flee the city's school district. No major city in CA but Oakland has a black population over 30% but Oakland. Sacramento's sits at 15%, Los Angeles at 11%, San Francisco at less than 8%, San Diego at about 11%, Long Beach at near 15%...You get the picture. And then you go to Seattle (8%) and Portland (6.6%) Truth is that even with their large hispanic populations that it really is the truth that mainstream whites are far more comfortable of large hispanic minorities and pluralities.

In comparison, blacks make up 40% of Milwaukee's population, 36% of Chicago's population, 25.5% of Indianapolis' population, 81% of Detroit's population, 24% of Columbus' population, 51% of Cleveland's population...again, you get the point.

I challenge the belief that the West Coast is somehow some bastion of tolerance. As long as mainstream white Americans don't feel their dominance in a city is being threatened, they generally ignore their visible minority communities, altogether, so it's not like it's a better choice than cities that wear their poor race relations on their sleeves. I believe if any of these cities had black populations anywhere near midwestern cities, and if there economies were in anywhere near the same shape as many of the cities mentioned, we'd see the same kind of racial tensions. Heck, we saw it in South Central LA in the 1992 after most cities had had their race riots decades before. And, race particularly rears its head in declining Midwest cities when the economies go bad and it brings everything to the top.

America's race problem is a continuing nation-wide phenomenon and epidemic, the only difference is that it's more blatant and apparent in some regions due to certain factors that bring it to the top. Please, let us not get to misrepresenting the problem, or imply that the West Coast is even anywhere near solving issues of race between the dominant majority and the historically oppressed.

JManc
Dec 29, 2006, 11:16 AM
hmmm....sounds like vidor, tx. scary scary place.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/12/08/oppenheim.sundown.town/index.html

toddguy
Dec 29, 2006, 12:33 PM
It's interesting watching this conversation unfold between people from different parts of the country. When I moved here to Milwaukee in 2004 from Sacramento I had NO IDEA that the place was so racially segregated. It is now ever so apparent to me that many whites in the Midwest simply have no concept of integration, diversity, and acceptance. In a recent poll of Milwaukee area residents 55%(It was that much AT LEAST) of whites said that they would not go to a certain area simply because another area was dominated by another race. There was another alarming number (I think 25+%) that said they would feel uncomfortable in a social setting with other races. This is ridiculous. Coming from Sacramento, it was shocking to me that there could be places like this(even if it had been in the South). from Wikipedia:


This description holds true for many California cities...and to a certain extent, other West Coast big cities. I see where the people from California in this thread are coming from. Because, I used to be there and I couldn't fathom racism and segregation on the level that I see it here. But, now that I live here, it's mortifying to hear some of the things people have the audacity to say without any shame about other races(mostly Black and Hispanic). Anyway, as a gay man and as a human being, I cannot live here any longer. My husband and I are getting out in April and moving to Sacramento.

I work in a call center that employs many open-minded, accepting, and diverse people. They see the racism and segregation and they all want out, too...and they're from here!!! This is a bigger issue than Sundown Towns. This is something affecting a lot of Rust Belt metros. Don't get me wrong. Milwaukee is an okay city. But, the race problems plaguing this city are too big for me to wrap my head around. This "blue" state is only blue to a certain point. Once it gets to the issues of race and equality, they're red as most Southerners!!

Well the Midwest is not as bad as I think you make it out to be. (Gay here too and have worked in call centers before as well..and despite the diversity and all..you still have my sympathy in regard to the call center thing..:D )

I know this is now nearly 5 years old, but still..

Columbus, Ohio, Tops the List of Best Cities for Black Famlies
Posted Oct. 1, 2002 -- A six-month study by BET.com has found that Columbus, Ohio, is the No. 1 city for Black families

http://www.bet.com/NR/exeres/CDEE893A-6627-4B5E-9391-237FC4EA3511.htm?Page=1

If it were really so bad with midwestern cities I doubt this would have happened. And it came out the same year as the Sacramento article you quoted as well.

MayorOfChicago
Dec 29, 2006, 4:49 PM
You're missing a major difference and that's the size of the minority, and particular, black community in Western cities. Whites are generally comfortable as long as the minority/black population is under 30% of a cities total. I'm not sure why that is a magic number, but it's one I've seen a lot. I've observed that it's after about 30% that blacks start getting in major leadership positions in the city government, and when whites begin to flee the city's school district. No major city in CA but Oakland has a black population over 30% but Oakland. Sacramento's sits at 15%, Los Angeles at 11%, San Francisco at less than 8%, San Diego at about 11%, Long Beach at near 15%...You get the picture. And then you go to Seattle (8%) and Portland (6.6%) Truth is that even with their large hispanic populations that it really is the truth that mainstream whites are far more comfortable of large hispanic minorities and pluralities.

In comparison, blacks make up 40% of Milwaukee's population, 36% of Chicago's population, 25.5% of Indianapolis' population, 81% of Detroit's population, 24% of Columbus' population, 51% of Cleveland's population...again, you get the point.

I challenge the belief that the West Coast is somehow some bastion of tolerance. As long as mainstream white Americans don't feel their dominance in a city is being threatened, they generally ignore their visible minority communities, altogether, so it's not like it's a better choice than cities that wear their poor race relations on their sleeves. I believe if any of these cities had black populations anywhere near midwestern cities, and if there economies were in anywhere near the same shape as many of the cities mentioned, we'd see the same kind of racial tensions. Heck, we saw it in South Central LA in the 1992 after most cities had had their race riots decades before. And, race particularly rears its head in declining Midwest cities when the economies go bad and it brings everything to the top.

America's race problem is a continuing nation-wide phenomenon and epidemic, the only difference is that it's more blatant and apparent in some regions due to certain factors that bring it to the top. Please, let us not get to misrepresenting the problem, or imply that the West Coast is even anywhere near solving issues of race between the dominant majority and the historically oppressed.

Never thought about it that way, but I totally agree with you.

Antares41
Dec 29, 2006, 5:57 PM
[QUOTE=LMich;2536464]You're missing a major difference and that's the size of the minority, and particular, black community in Western cities. Whites are generally comfortable as long as the minority/black population is under 30% of a cities total. I'm not sure why that is a magic number, but it's one I've seen a lot. I've observed that it's after about 30% that blacks start getting in major leadership positions in the city government, and when whites begin to flee the city's school district. No major city in CA but Oakland has a black population over 30% but Oakland. Sacramento's sits at 15%, Los Angeles at 11%, San Francisco at less than 8%, San Diego at about 11%, Long Beach at near 15%...You get the picture. And then you go to Seattle (8%) and Portland (6.6%) Truth is that even with their large hispanic populations that it really is the truth that mainstream whites are far more comfortable of large hispanic minorities and pluralities.

In comparison, blacks make up 40% of Milwaukee's population, 36% of Chicago's population, 25.5% of Indianapolis' population, 81% of Detroit's population, 24% of Columbus' population, 51% of Cleveland's population...again, you get the point.

QUOTE]


Yes! I heard of this phenomenon also, although I heard it more like 25% Black in any neighborhood is enough to trigger significant demographic changes. Typically assisted by significant changes in property values, as the neighborhood becomes less desirable, which then effect school taxes etc. etc. and then the spiral continues typically stabilizing when a majority of the white people have left the community. I to am amazed by this magic number(25-30%), but, it seems to be a consistant barometer.

svs
Dec 29, 2006, 7:20 PM
Well out here in the wilds of LA, we have a white minority city. LA is greater than 50% hispanic. We have a new hispanic mayor who is very popular and I would point out that we had an extremely popular black mayor Tom Bradley, who was elected 4 times. Lots of things in the city are named after him and the city was only about 10% black at the time of his election. If I had to pick the most popular individual in the city of the Angels, it would probably still be Magic Johnson.

I don't believe whites are all that threatened by minority leadership if those leaders make it clear that they intend to work for the entire city not just the minority portion of the city. So Tom Bradley and Antonio Villarigosa are popular and non threatening while an Al Sharpton would be.

Although most whites were here were quite shocked by the rioting that took place after the Rodney King incident, in retrospect it was the breakdown in the police department that really let things get out of control. An awful lot of the arrestees were poor hispanics not blacks, and there was an awful lot of minority on minority violence especially directed against the Koreans. Actually most whites that I know were quite sympathetic to Rodney King, at least to the point that we did not believe he deserved to be beaten after he was down, and that the police were out of control on this occasion.

We do still have problems with gangs in this city and this is threatening to many of us, though the gangs are hispanic and Asian as well as black. If we see someone of any race dressed like a gang banger with headscarf, and gang colors we are going to feel threatened. If someone is dressed in Armani, we are not going to feel threatened regardless of the person's race.

We also have a large black middle class here and some of the nicest neighborhoods in the city such as Fox Hills, View Park, and Baldwin Hills are predominantly black. We see whites now trying to move into these neighborhoods as property is generally more of a bargain there.

It is interesting that we have some cities with predominantly black leadership such as Compton that have become increasingly Hispanic and there is some conflict as the black leadership has tried to freeze the newly arriving Hispanics out of city jobs. Some things are more human nature than racial I think. Watts and Willowbrook have become more and more Hispanic while places like Hawthorne which was one of the examples of a sundown city is becoming more and more black.

LMich mentions the 30% number which leads to "white flight", but I remember back in Chicago in the 50's when the number was 1 black family which was enough to get the whole white block to sell their homes at panic prices. This was called block busting and it doesn't occur anymore, thank god. So I think we have made some progress in the last fifty years.

kenratboy
Dec 29, 2006, 7:53 PM
I don't think the issue for most people in America is RACE, as it is CLASS.

I grew up and live on the West Coast - it seems most people don't have a problem with race, but with class - lets take two examples, and the reaction I picture most people having:

1.) You tell someone an 'ethnic' family is moving in next door, but give no other info.

2.) You tell someone an 'ethnic' family is moving in next door. The father is a math professor at the university and the mother is a doctor.

('ethnic' = another race/culture from your own, this is just an example for this thread)

In the first example, people might be worried about what sort of people will be moving in - however, in the second example, you have learned these are educated people, and from my experience, people would not care who they were or where they were from, period. Again, it is about education, class, etc.

As another example, from what I have seen on the West Coast, if you gave a white person two choices of people to have as neighbors:

-Poor white trash with 7 kids, 9 dawgs, and a 79 Camaro with straight pipes with season tickets to Jerry Springer.

OR

-A family of a different race/culture (any) where the parents were professionals (doctor, lawyer, business owner, executive, etc.)

I would be willing to bet FAR more than 90% would pick the latter.

Again, I see it as not an issue of race, but an issue of the people themselves.

Please feel free to disagree with me, but this is just my opinion made from my experiences.

slide_rule
Dec 29, 2006, 7:57 PM
lmich has a point. no one is singling out california as a bastion of racism. but the racist and classist attitudes of california are often overlooked or willfully ignored. other areas of the nation have more overt attitudes.

while certain minority-majority areas are indeed 'bad' in terms of crime statistics and school performance, it doesn't explain why many whites move away from, and avoid perfectly functional minority-majority areas.

if crime, school performance, income, and other quantifiable issues were the only factors influencing white flight, then it doesn't explain why bad 'white' neighborhoods are not deserted.

CGII
Dec 29, 2006, 8:09 PM
Lamentably I live in a mill town absorbed by suburbia with a population of about 18,000, and a recent census revealed 33 blacks living within. There was never any sort of forced exodus of minorities, just natural segregation (which, mind you, Milwaukee is frighteningly 'good' at).

creamcityleo79
Dec 30, 2006, 12:48 AM
An example of the differences between California/West Coast cities and those in the Midwest is the tolerance level of racist attitudes. In Sacramento, and probably much of California, a racist attitude is shunned and considered taboo. In the Midwest(in my experience), people are pretty open about their racism/prejudice. My grandfather has openly told my husband and myself at family functions that we should be racist; and my husband's mother has told us on a few occasions that she is prejudice to blacks and proud of it. Whites in this area use the "N" word with some frequency and are unashamed about it. Try to use that word in California...another white person might beat you up...or at the very least throw you a VERY dirty look. The point is(and studies have proven this) many major cities in the Midwest are very segregated and the racist ideologies are prevalent. You can say this is true about other places in the U.S. But, it's simply NOT! People in general in California are appalled at any hint of racism(I know I was when I moved here). But, in the Midwest, it's still fairly common for people to be segregated and for racial tensions to be high. I don't have a subscription to the Milwaukee Business Journal. But, recently, they put out a 4 part article on race issues in the Milwaukee metro area and how the racist attitudes are one of the main reasons(weather being the other) Milwaukee's economic growth has been slower than other cities. A 4 part article by a business journal regarding race issues tells me that it must be a pretty big deal!

creamcityleo79
Dec 30, 2006, 12:50 AM
Lamentably I live in a mill town absorbed by suburbia with a population of about 18,000, and a recent census revealed 33 blacks living within. There was never any sort of forced exodus of minorities, just natural segregation (which, mind you, Milwaukee is frighteningly 'good' at).

Where do you live?

MtnClimber
Dec 30, 2006, 1:09 AM
An example of the differences between California/West Coast cities and those in the Midwest is the tolerance level of racist attitudes. In Sacramento, and probably much of California, a racist attitude is shunned and considered taboo. In the Midwest(in my experience), people are pretty open about their racism/prejudice. My grandfather has openly told my husband and myself at family functions that we should be racist; and my husband's mother has told us on a few occasions that she is prejudice to blacks and proud of it. Whites in this area use the "N" word with some frequency and are unashamed about it. Try to use that word in California...another white person might beat you up...or at the very least throw you a VERY dirty look. The point is(and studies have proven this) many major cities in the Midwest are very segregated and the racist ideologies are prevalent. You can say this is true about other places in the U.S. But, it's simply NOT! People in general in California are appalled at any hint of racism(I know I was when I moved here). But, in the Midwest, it's still fairly common for people to be segregated and for racial tensions to be high. I don't have a subscription to the Milwaukee Business Journal. But, recently, they put out a 4 part article on race issues in the Milwaukee metro area and how the racist attitudes are one of the main reasons(weather being the other) Milwaukee's economic growth has been slower than other cities. A 4 part article by a business journal regarding race issues tells me that it must be a pretty big deal!


Actually I agree with this as well. The midwest defintly seems more racially divided, and your alot less likely to see interracial couples etc.

However I think LMich had a point, the reality is that their are very few blacks living out west. And the reality is that whites tend to be more accepting of Hispanics and Asians over blacks.

I've said this once before and I will say it again. The average racist white man is more able to accept an Asian or Hispanic person over a black person. The fact that the black population is very low in western states may have something to do with this disparity.

The same applies to Canada as well, you don't see as many racial problems in Canada because there are not huge black populations that have been historically subjugated to racism on the same scale in the U.S. Don't get me wrong their is racism.

LMich
Dec 30, 2006, 1:35 AM
I've said this once before and I will say it again. The average racist white man is more able to accept an Asian or Hispanic person over a black person. The fact that the black population is very low in western states may have something to do with this disparity.

Actually, the lack of a larger black presence in the West has much to do with when mass black migration began and ended, and simply the sheer distance and lack of rail connections to and from the black 'homeland' (i.e. The South). The Midwest offered more opportunities blacks closer to home on a huge scale in the early 1900's. The infrastructure was just there to assit this huge opportunity-based migration (i.e. direct rail connections to Detroit, Chicago, Indy, Cleveland...). The trip out west was a lot more risky, and the economies different. Their boom wouldn't come until after the last wave of black migration to the North. Both sides of my family came to the Midwest from the South (Arkansas) and Southwest (Texas) in the late 1800's and early 1900's for the economic opportunities.

MtnClimber
Dec 30, 2006, 2:00 AM
Actually, the lack of a larger black presence in the West has much to do with when mass black migration began and ended, and simply the sheer distance and lack of rail connections to and from the black 'homeland' (i.e. The South). The Midwest offered more opportunities blacks closer to home on a huge scale in the early 1900's. The infrastructure was just there to assit this huge opportunity-based migration (i.e. direct rail connections to Detroit, Chicago, Indy, Cleveland...). The trip out west was a lot more risky, and the economies different. Their boom wouldn't come until after the last wave of black migration to the North. Both sides of my family came to the Midwest from the South (Arkansas) and Southwest (Texas) in the late 1800's and early 1900's for the economic opportunities.


ACtually that is what I meant. Sorry. I meant to say that the reason the west may seem more tolerant is the fact that the black population out west is much smaller then eastern cities.

creamcityleo79
Dec 30, 2006, 2:00 AM
Actually, the lack of a larger black presence in the West has much to do with when mass black migration began and ended, and simply the sheer distance and lack of rail connections to and from the black 'homeland' (i.e. The South). The Midwest offered more opportunities blacks closer to home on a huge scale in the early 1900's. The infrastructure was just there to assit this huge opportunity-based migration (i.e. direct rail connections to Detroit, Chicago, Indy, Cleveland...). The trip out west was a lot more risky, and the economies different. Their boom wouldn't come until after the last wave of black migration to the North. Both sides of my family came to the Midwest from the South (Arkansas) and Southwest (Texas) in the late 1800's and early 1900's for the economic opportunities.
I can kind of see what you're saying. But, my family(we're white) on my mom's side migrated to California from Arkansas/Oklahoma in the early 1900's and they were very very poor. I think you do make a good point about the sheer mass of blacks who migrated from the South to the Midwest in the early 1900's, up through the 60's even, having to do with the attitudes of many Midwestern whites towards blacks now. But, those attitudes are still unacceptable and the fact remains that if those black people migrated now to California or to the West Coast I can say with a fair amount of certainty that they'd be welcomed and the racist attitudes would not go up with the percentage of black people. That's just an opinion. But, having been a Californian for 24 years before moving here I have quite a bit of experience with Californians...and don't even get me started on the Midwestern view toward gays(59-41% in favor of banning all forms of legally recognized relationships for gays from a BLUE STATE...tell us how you really feel, Wisconsin!!!!)!

Speaking of gays...does anyone think, to a lesser degree, that there are some areas of the country that are modern day sundown towns towards gays now? I've heard recently of whole counties in the South passing regulations and codes to try to remove gays from those counties. Anyone know anything about this?

shanthemanatl
Dec 30, 2006, 2:20 AM
I can kind of see what you're saying. But, my family(we're white) on my mom's side migrated to California from Arkansas/Oklahoma in the early 1900's and they were very very poor. I think you do make a good point about the sheer mass of blacks who migrated from the South to the Midwest in the early 1900's, up through the 60's even, having to do with the attitudes of many Midwestern whites towards blacks now. But, those attitudes are still unacceptable and the fact remains that if those black people migrated now to California or to the West Coast I can say with a fair amount of certainty that they'd be welcomed and the racist attitudes would not go up with the percentage of black people. That's just an opinion. But, having been a Californian for 24 years before moving here I have quite a bit of experience with Californians...and don't even get me started on the Midwestern view toward gays(59-41% in favor of banning all forms of legally recognized relationships for gays from a BLUE STATE...tell us how you really feel, Wisconsin!!!!)!

Speaking of gays...does anyone think, to a lesser degree, that there are some areas of the country that are modern day sundown towns towards gays now? I've heard recently of whole counties in the South passing regulations and codes to try to remove gays from those counties. Anyone know anything about this?

I heard of one, small, rural county in Tennessee a few years back that tried to "ban" gays. It went absolutely nowhere.

I live in Atlanta, one of the gay-friendlist cities in the country. As for the small-town South, I don't think it's any more hostile to gays than other small towns in the rest of America.

LMich
Dec 30, 2006, 2:21 AM
I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree, because I don't doubt for a moment that the West would have turned out the same way, in terms of race relations, if it had been able to handle the influx of blacks the Midwest handled. Again, just look at the sections of cities in the West that did see a large migration of working-class blacks. South Central LA isn't just some kind of abberation, it's the perfect example of the threshold I'm talking about.

Just an example, but do you know anything of Compton, California's history? In the late 40's/early 50's when segregation laws (both written and unwritten) started breaking down in Greater Los Angles, Compton, which had been largely white up until that point began to attract a black middle class to the west side of the city, and the whites quickly fled just like any any other city in this country. In fact, the eminent change in demographics yielded many of the same desparate acts by the white majority you see in our cities. To keep blacks out of law enforcement jobs in Compton in the 50's, the city even discussed dismantling the police department and handing policing of the area over to the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department.

I'm sorry, I'm not buying that the West Coast is anymore tolerant of blacks, in particular. If that really was the case, we'd have seen another similar-sized wave of black migration to the West, which never happened. And, we wouldn't see shrinking or stagnants black populations in some western cities.

shanthemanatl
Dec 30, 2006, 2:33 AM
I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree, because I don't doubt for a moment that the West would have turned out the same way, in terms of race relations, if it had been able to handle the influx of blacks the Midwest handled. Again, just look at the sections of cities in the West that did see a large migration of working-class blacks. South Central LA isn't just some kind of abberation, it's the perfect example of the threshold I'm talking about.

Just an example, but do you know anything of Compton, California's history? In the late 40's/early 50's when segregation laws (both written and unwritten) started breaking down in Greater Los Angles, Compton, which had been largely white up until that point began to attract a black middle class to the west side of the city, and the whites quickly fled just like any any other city in this country. In fact, the eminent change in demographics yielded many of the same desparate acts by the white majority you see in our cities. To keep blacks out of law enforcement jobs in Compton in the 50's, the city even discussed dismantling the police department and handing policing of the area over to the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department. I'm sorry, I'm not buying that the West Coast is anymore tolerant of blacks, in particular.


I agree, LMich.

I do believe that the West Coast is a bit more tolerant when it comes to issues of race, but you'd have to wonder how tolerant they'd all be if they all woke up tomorrow and found Sacramento, San Diego, Portland, and Seattle had suddenly become 60% black overnight.

Once the white political and economic power structure is truly challenged, you'd be surprised how quickly some people become less "tolerant" and flee for the suburbs. It's happened in nearly every major American city that has turned from majority white to majority-minority.

creamcityleo79
Dec 30, 2006, 2:42 AM
I guess we're going to have to agree to disagree, because I don't doubt for a moment that the West would have turned out the same way, in terms of race relations, if it had been able to handle the influx of blacks the Midwest handled. Again, just look at the sections of cities in the West that did see a large migration of working-class blacks. South Central LA isn't just some kind of abberation, it's the perfect example of the threshold I'm talking about.

Just an example, but do you know anything of Compton, California's history? In the late 40's/early 50's when segregation laws (both written and unwritten) started breaking down in Greater Los Angles, Compton, which had been largely white up until that point began to attract a black middle class to the west side of the city, and the whites quickly fled just like any any other city in this country. In fact, the eminent change in demographics yielded many of the same desparate acts by the white majority you see in our cities. To keep blacks out of law enforcement jobs in Compton in the 50's, the city even discussed dismantling the police department and handing policing of the area over to the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department.

I'm sorry, I'm not buying that the West Coast is anymore tolerant of blacks, in particular. If that really was the case, we'd have seen another similar-sized wave of black migration to the West, which never happened. And, we wouldn't see shrinking or stagnants black populations in some western cities.

I can see where you're coming from on this, LMich. I don't totally disagree with you. But, I think the shrinking/stagnant black populations have more to do with a greater influx of other races than it does blacks not coming to California. Seriously, the blacks that I know here either are planning, or want to, move to Atlanta or Phoenix. They all want out. Most of them work here in the call center with me(there's about 700 people in my building). They do not want to raise their children in an environment that is so hostile to blacks. I think a lot of the problem is that people in the Midwest don't talk about things. I'm not just talking about race relations. I'm talking about everything. Things are swept under the rug or avoided...which is exactly what white flight is. I think people in the South and people on the West Coast are generally more willing to sit down and talk about issues of race and such. People in the Midwest don't think they have to or they just don't want to. So, they don't. Many suburbanites are VERY opposed to lightrail here because they think it would bring a certain element out to the suburbs. That's why lightrail will never be built. Recently, a city in the metro area that borders Milwaukee(it's actually IN Milwaukee County) fought against the building of a Best Buy because they didn't want that same element in their neighborhood working there. That same suburb(Whitefish Bay) is infamously known as White Folks Bay. There's another suburb(West Allis) known as White Allis. I don't know about you. But, I've never heard of any kind of name like that for a city on the West Coast. Anyway, you're right, we're going to have to agree to disagree. But, I'm still getting the hell out of the Midwest and moving back to Sacramento. 92 days and counting!!!!

LMich
Dec 30, 2006, 3:25 AM
You can come up with as many personal anecdotes you want to, not to be mean, but it just doesn't matter. You're personal experience is a drop in the bucket of reality. We could sit here all day and trade stories. I could tell you how incredibly segregated Vegas is from spending considerable time there, with living conditions little better, if better at all, than many Northern and Eastern city projects. It's pointless. Again, if any of these western cities had the huge influx of blacks that Midwestern cities had at the time these cities experienced that influx, the story would be little different, if different, at all.

CGII
Dec 30, 2006, 5:13 AM
A:I've never heard West Allis called 'White Allis' (especially considering the Eastern, older neighbourhoods are pretty diverse, I don't think it's even a legitimate moniker)
B:I think that just because Western cities don't have nicks for white suburbs like the Midwest does is a rather poor argument for saying the Midwest is more racially tense.
C:It was Fox Point, not Whitefolks Bay, that debated the Best Buy.
D:I don't think light rail got shot down because of racial reasons. Whenever it wouldn't be running in a black neighbourhood it'd be in a liberal one, be it the Lower East Side or Marquette.
E:I live in Cedarburg (not voluntarily)

Jeff_in_Dayton
Dec 31, 2006, 1:45 PM
Speaking of gays...does anyone think, to a lesser degree, that there are some areas of the country that are modern day sundown towns towards gays now?

With gays & lesbians its different because you cant really tell whos gay and whos not.

I do know of a suburb of Dayton that does a lot of police harassament of gay bars when they try to open up there.

And another suburb of Dayton had a street called Gay street, or Gayview Lane or something, and the people living on that street petitioned to have it changed.

And yet another suburb of Dayton prohibited a gay organization from participating in some sort of parade or community event. Back in the 1960s this same suburbs had cross burnings and such when blacks tried to buy houses in there.

These are all small things, and one can certainly live in these places as long as one knows one place and doesnt flaunt being gay, but i would not say these particular suburbs are all that freindly.

@@@@@@@

Living in the California for a few years, certainly there is racial segregation there, and known black ghettos in even smaller cities like Sacramento. Yet there was also fairly integrated areas (by eastern standards) in inner city neighborhoods, too, which was pretty surprising to me as I was used to fairly distinct color lines dividing urban areas.

Jeff_in_Dayton
Dec 31, 2006, 2:03 PM
Don't know if that area is adjacent to Case Western Univ. but during the summer of 1982 while I was taking a walk around the area and old Italian man stop me and asked me if I was lost. Well I wasn't, but, my instinct tolded me that he was trying to tell me that I ought not walk through that neighborhood.
I turned around and went back in the other direction , not known the reputation of the area I thought it was probably best not to press my luck.

Yes, this area is near Case Western, more or less across Euclid from it, on Mayfield (which is the busy street).

I can think of suburbs and neighborhoods in Chicago that used to be no-go areas for blacks due to the very close-knit ethnic communities and incidents of violence to keep blacks out. One was Cicero, and the other was my old neighborhood of Cragin. These areas did eventually experience white flight, but it was from the latinos moving in.

The rule of thumb or urban legend or folk wisdom that used to be in Chicago was that the Jews and Italians will "run" (i.e quicker white-flight) when there is pressure for neighborhood racial change, while the Poles, Lituanians, and other eastern Europeans will stay and resist the change. This does seem to be born out if one is familiar with the older ethnic geography of the city, where it was usually the Mexicans and Puerto Ricans (or "Porkys" as we called them), moving into the old slavic ethnic areas, vs the blacks.


For Louisville, the no-go area for blacks was probably Portland, which remained a white enclave in the black West End, though it is more integrated today. The geography of that neighborhood sort of facilitated it staying white while the rest of the West End "flipped" in the 50s and 60s.

toddguy
Dec 31, 2006, 3:33 PM
I can kind of see what you're saying. But, my family(we're white) on my mom's side migrated to California from Arkansas/Oklahoma in the early 1900's and they were very very poor. I think you do make a good point about the sheer mass of blacks who migrated from the South to the Midwest in the early 1900's, up through the 60's even, having to do with the attitudes of many Midwestern whites towards blacks now. But, those attitudes are still unacceptable and the fact remains that if those black people migrated now to California or to the West Coast I can say with a fair amount of certainty that they'd be welcomed and the racist attitudes would not go up with the percentage of black people. That's just an opinion. But, having been a Californian for 24 years before moving here I have quite a bit of experience with Californians...and don't even get me started on the Midwestern view toward gays(59-41% in favor of banning all forms of legally recognized relationships for gays from a BLUE STATE...tell us how you really feel, Wisconsin!!!!)!

Speaking of gays...does anyone think, to a lesser degree, that there are some areas of the country that are modern day sundown towns towards gays now? I've heard recently of whole counties in the South passing regulations and codes to try to remove gays from those counties. Anyone know anything about this?

Maybe instead of "Midwest' you should be saying "Milwaukee"?? I just see alot of generalizing here. How much have you dealt with other midwestern cities besides Milwaukee? I am not discounting your personal experiences in either Milwaukee or Sacramento, but maybe it would be better to stick to those places when commenting rather than using such a broad brush to paint entire regions as 'this or that'?? Again I cannot speak about Milwaukee since I have never been there and do not know that much about it. And it sucks that you have had those kind of negative experiences..but again it sounds like some of that given what you have posted is related to ..well..who you are related to (grandfather and such).

There are backwaters of prejudice everywhere and the midwest is no exception..but for every one of those I like to think there is a Madison, Wisconsin or a Yellow Springs Ohio.

As for Ohio I do not know of any real sundown towns for gays..but (speaking in a broad general sense here..yeah I know.lol) I would say the south/southeastern section is not really friendly to gays. I know of a number of gays in small towns like Waverly, Ironton, etc-and they are all in the closet.
Good luck with the move.:)

Hoodrat
Jan 2, 2007, 1:25 AM
[QUOTE=shanthemanatl;2522523]I think many white Americans, whether from the West, Midwest, Northeast, or South, remain in very deep denial about the persistent level of prejudice and bigotry that exists in their communities.QUOTE]

I would definately agree with that statement.

oldpainless
Jan 10, 2007, 11:23 PM
I'm not saying that discrimination doesn't exist in the 21st century. It exists in every community on some level. However, the fact that some individuals expect this or subconsciously look for racism in their everyday encounters helps to inflame the overall problem and even takes it to a level that doesn't reflect what is actually happening. I honestly think that If you go looking for racism you'll probably find it everywhere you go. If you approach life expecting that you will be subjected to discrimination you probably won't have any trouble finding it.

Here is something that happened to me a few weeks ago: I was at Wal-Mart returning a few items and there was a fairly large group of people waiting in the return section. The atmosphere was busy with lots of talking, people walking about and whatnot. There wasn't really a line so much as there was just this large lump of people. Pretty much the whole group of people were white or latino. A mid-aged black couple had arrived probably 10-15 minutes before me and was technically "ahead" of me in this group of people, but you couldn't really tell since there wasn't an actual line. So as we inch up closer to the return counter, the Wal-Mart employee finishes taking care of the people in front of me, and I'm standing next to the black couple, -- and he points at me and says "Next"... this pissed off the black lady no doubt, since the look on her face was one of outrage. I felt bad and offered for them to go ahead of me since they got there way before I did, but perhaps out of principle the couple denied and stood there with disgust. Understandably, I figured the employee didn't know that they arrived before me since he was busy doing his job. The black people were pissed, and based on their reaction I figured they thought they were getting discriminated against, but I often wonder -- would say a middle-aged white couple react with the same outrage and bewilderment? Its hard to say. I'm sure they would protest, but I'm not so sure with the same surprise that these people had. Anyway, some may consider this outright racism, but I simply think it was a guy who honestly didn't know who had gotten there first, which is understandable.

Anyway, I'm not saying it doesn't exist. I'm just saying if something has been preached to you over and over you naturally start looking at life through a filtered lens.

Then again, I'm not a black person and I can't honestly say that the reality of the world is that racism is the exception instead of the rule.

oldpainless
Jan 10, 2007, 11:23 PM
double post

kenratboy
Jan 11, 2007, 12:35 AM
oldpainless:

You made a very good point.

If somebody has a chip on their shoulder, they will easily be able to 'find' and 'see' racism everyday.

As humans, we constantly interact on a personal and impersonal lever, be it having a private and intimate conversation with a friend or family member, or waving somebody to merge from a side street ahead of you. It would be very easy for somebody to think an act is racist for various reasons - even if it is not.

I am sure that everybody on this forum has done something innocently that a person saw as being racist - because thats what they wanted to see (your Wal*Mart example, if you did not let a person of another race/culture merge ahead of you, getting in a checkout line with a cashier of your own race, etc.)

On the flip side, I am sure the opposite is true, people may see an act as anti-racist or preferential to another race (LETTING a person of another race/culture merge into traffic, calling on a customer of another race/culture before one of your own, etc.) - and again, it was based on other criteria, not race, but they saw it as something different.

Point is, many people choose what they want to see, with little regard for what really transpired.

From what I have seen, real racism (think KKK member) is not that hard to miss, it might not be blunt, but tone of voice, body language, word choice, etc. usually makes it pretty obvious that one person has no desire to deal with another person.

brickell
Jan 11, 2007, 3:52 AM
Anybody see these two different stories?

Regardless of whether 80, 90 or even 99% of the people are not racist, it only takes one. Even if neither one is racially motivated, a lot of people are going to see it that way.

Shotgun fired into Louisiana mayor's home
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2003517628_mayor10.html

Louisiana mayor-elect's family turns to state
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nation/4440863.html

Rusty van Reddick
Jan 12, 2007, 12:37 AM
Places in the midwest are just as racist as places in the south, but I think the south is more in your face racist while the midwest is more behind your back.

I completely disagree, having grown up in the outrageous segregation and racial hatred of Hammond, Indiana, where I got called a "nigger lover" because I wouldn't accompany my older brother to harass the "niggers" who used to walk home to "their" neighbourhood (east hammond) from school. I cannot tell you the absolutely blinding hatred that many, perhaps most, working class whites (and Mexicans, who for some reason were completely accepted in white areas) expressed for black people when I was a kid. Marlin Luther King himself made the same observation about whites in Chicago- that their seething hatred for blacks exceeded anything that he had observed in the south.

I lived for 2 years in Mobile Alabama as an adult and whereas it was as unmistakeably segregated as Chicago or any rust belt city, I found southerners MUCH savvier about discussing issues of race and much less "overt" than midwesterners.

So I must say, based on my experience, that you are completely wrong. And that's why the majority of "sundown towns" are not in the south. The north is simply more racist. No question.

LMich
Jan 12, 2007, 3:42 AM
So I must say, based on my experience, that you are completely wrong. And that's why the majority of "sundown towns" are not in the south. The north is simply more racist. No question.

You can't be serious. You're not going to find so many sundown towns in the South not because it's less racist (that is down-right ridiculous to say, and so boldly, too), but because of the sheer number of black Americans in most of the South. And, you may as well call the white half of most of these incredibly segregated cities and villages sundown towns. I'm not sure what part of the South outside of Mobile you've been too, but you've either been supremely naive, or so lucky to be located in isolated bubbles of toleration.

One may be able to make a decent argument that the cities of the Midwest (a very varied region, BTW) are not as tolerant as often protrayed. One may even make the argument that the Midwest may be just as racist as the South. But you're really reaching for straws, and debating uphill, if you're going to try and make the argument (and with an unbecoming boldness considering the issue, might I add) that the Midwest is easily more racist than the South, especially considering how many current residents of the Midwest are descendents of Southern migrants, both white and black. We're talking about a region that has brought us fairly recently the idea of segregated proms, Trent Lott and the Strom Thurmond incident (and Strom Thurmond, seperately, with his illegitimate daughter, and the fact that he was even able to break into politics, at all), a confederate flag on South Carolina state house incident, George Allen...need anyone else go on? If you're going to argue that the Midwest is decidedly more blatantly racist than the South, you're going to have to come with some serious examples and proof and not personal anecdotes, that, as I said to another poster, we could trade for days.

AZheat
Jan 13, 2007, 11:35 PM
I just read many of the posts on this thread and I'm glad I didn't grow up in such racist areas that many have described. I grew up in Montana and although my home town had about 45,000 at that time I was only aware of one black family. In fact I remember as a child that the only time I ever saw black people would be during the summer months when black travelers happened to be going through town and might stop at a restaurant or gas station. But I also remember that people didn't seem to make racist comments or have any hostility towards black people in other parts of the country. It makes me think that the whole racist mentality is something that's passed from one generation to the next in most of the country, almost like a religion. I guess I was in such a remote part of the country that I wasn't influenced in that way and basically grew up with a neutral attitude towards people of different races.

Rusty van Reddick
Jan 14, 2007, 3:13 AM
LMIch, I'm a sociology professor and even I don't know how to quantize or operationalise "racism" to start, so let me restate that in my opinion some parts of the rust belt (like Lake County, Indiana, and Milwaukee, among many others) are more racially segregated (and this is easy to verify, as none of the most racially segregated metros are in the south- and you know this, right?), and, based on my observations (not "personal anecdotes," as you misstate- I am talking about social trends, any of which is observable by me or you- but that does not make them "anecdotal." You need to learn what constitutes an "anecdote"), there is more overt racism in places like NW Indiana.

You can disagree, but what I will not declaim is my strident belief that people in, for example, Hammond Indiana are far more OVERT in their racial hatred than are people in, say, Mobile Alabama.

shanthemanatl
Jan 14, 2007, 3:33 AM
I just read many of the posts on this thread and I'm glad I didn't grow up in such racist areas that many have described. I grew up in Montana and although my home town had about 45,000 at that time I was only aware of one black family. In fact I remember as a child that the only time I ever saw black people would be during the summer months when black travelers happened to be going through town and might stop at a restaurant or gas station. But I also remember that people didn't seem to make racist comments or have any hostility towards black people in other parts of the country. It makes me think that the whole racist mentality is something that's passed from one generation to the next in most of the country, almost like a religion. I guess I was in such a remote part of the country that I wasn't influenced in that way and basically grew up with a neutral attitude towards people of different races.

No offense, AZ, but it's easy not to show hostility or make racist comments when there is one black family in a city of 45,000! To whom would you express such sentiments?

It's easy to pontificate about how "it's not like that where I come from" when you live in a town that is almost exclusively white. You can rest assured that if your town of 45,000 became 50% black overnight that the citizens of your town might begin to view issues of race in a completely different light.

Have you ever wondered why your town had practically no black families?

I don't mean to be harsh, and my apologies if I'm coming across that way. My feathers just get a little ruffled sometimes when someone from an area that has practically no African-American community makes such comments.

AZheat
Jan 14, 2007, 4:28 PM
Have you ever wondered why your town had practically no black families?

I think it's pretty obvious. The great majority of blacks originally were located in the south and generally migrated to large northern cities where there was work over the last century or so. Montana is almost as large as California and even today has less than a million inhabitants so it hardly attracted any white settlers either if you look at it's history.
Honestly, I don't see why my remarks would upset anyone. I'm merely pointing out that there are very different attitudes about race in various parts of the country and now that I'm older and have lived in several big cities that do have black populations I'm glad I didn't grow up with a chip on my shoulder due to the influence of generations of ancestors who passed along their hatred, violence and ignorance. If you want to express your displeasure about racial problems you might think about directing your comments to people who openly support and promote racist philosophies in the twentyfirst century. I'm not one of those people.

MtnClimber
Jan 15, 2007, 4:35 AM
I think it's pretty obvious. The great majority of blacks originally were located in the south and generally migrated to large northern cities where there was work over the last century or so. Montana is almost as large as California and even today has less than a million inhabitants so it hardly attracted any white settlers either if you look at it's history.
Honestly, I don't see why my remarks would upset anyone. I'm merely pointing out that there are very different attitudes about race in various parts of the country and now that I'm older and have lived in several big cities that do have black populations I'm glad I didn't grow up with a chip on my shoulder due to the influence of generations of ancestors who passed along their hatred, violence and ignorance. If you want to express your displeasure about racial problems you might think about directing your comments to people who openly support and promote racist philosophies in the twentyfirst century. I'm not one of those people.

I actually agree with AZ. I grew up in a rural town out west as well. And no we did not have many black families. Mostly Alaskan natives,Native Americans, and some hispanics. And I have traveled all across America and lived many places.

I find that people who live in the Rust belt, and the south are noticably more racist and open about it. Driving through Indiana and Illinois is enough to even make a white person scared. For generations these places have been breeding hatred. You dont see people very often with confederate flags out west. Don't get me wrong there are some nut cases here and there.

I think as a general rule people out west are more tolerant of different ethnic groups. You can argue all day about the fact that less black people live in western states. And maybe that is the case, but the ground has already been laid. One only need to look at a map of where the most interracial marriages occur to see what I am talking about. Places like Hawaii, Alaska, Wa, OR, and California are among the top states for interracial marriage. The rate of intermarriage IMO is usually a good indicator of where people are the most intergrated within society.

shanthemanatl
Jan 15, 2007, 4:42 AM
I think it's pretty obvious. The great majority of blacks originally were located in the south and generally migrated to large northern cities where there was work over the last century or so. Montana is almost as large as California and even today has less than a million inhabitants so it hardly attracted any white settlers either if you look at it's history.
Honestly, I don't see why my remarks would upset anyone. I'm merely pointing out that there are very different attitudes about race in various parts of the country and now that I'm older and have lived in several big cities that do have black populations I'm glad I didn't grow up with a chip on my shoulder due to the influence of generations of ancestors who passed along their hatred, violence and ignorance. If you want to express your displeasure about racial problems you might think about directing your comments to people who openly support and promote racist philosophies in the twentyfirst century. I'm not one of those people.

My apologies, AZ, if I seemed to be lecturing---it was not my intent. You are to be commended for being open and accepting of those that are different from you, despite the fact you may not have been exposed to much racial diversity while growing up.

I think the point I was trying to make is that it is truly difficult to grasp the nuances and politics of race relations unless you have lived with and confronted the issue on a daily basis. Even then, it can sometimes seem to be a riddle that can never be solved.

Perhaps the treatment Native Americans received at the hands of the US government in the West (and the rest of the country) might be a good parallel to the injustices suffered by African-Americans in the South and the many "sundown towns" across America.

LSyd
Jan 15, 2007, 3:23 PM
i'm just going to stay out of this one except for a few comments:

@ Austin, yes, it does only happen in the south. ;) see MayorofChicago's post...sadly, a very common attitude..."just blame the south." it's easy to do and makes you feel better to stereotype an entire region. :(

it's good to see furrycanuck write something intelligent, based on experience, and i agree with him. i've read a lot of articles and reports that Indiana or Ohio is the most racist state with the most KKK membership, etc... one of the largest racist music labels is based in Minnesota (the largest in Virginia?) racism knows no borders. watching a documentary on Martin Luther King and George Wallace this morning, and King noted that racism was everywhere, but it was easiest and most important for him to fight it in the south, his home.

so, other than anecdotes, how to determine which state's worst? the number of groups (as seen on the Southern Poverty Law Center's web site,) the number of hate crimes, the number of people belonging to racist/hate groups, the type of groups, or reputation, anecdotal evidence and opinion?

southern poverty law center's top 11 with number of groups, ranging from neo-confederate, kkk, neo-nazis, black separatists, etc...

California - 52
Florida - 50
South Carolina - 46 (interesting to note that the majority, neo-confederates, are in the landlocked/mountainous part of the state, the upstate)
Texas - 43
Georgia - 40
Tennessee - 36
North Carolina - 35
Ohio - 34
Virginia - 33
Louisiana - 28
Pennsylvania/Mississippi - 27
Michigan/New Jersey - 25
Missouri - 23
Illinois/Arkansas - 22
Alabama - 21

lowest number in the south: Alabama - 21

http://www.splcenter.org/intel/map/hate.jsp

LMich, most of your incidents are related to the past or the older generation. yeah, there was a confederate flag on the SC state house for 30 something years...and it was finally taken down. trent lott lost his leadership job over telling the world he was a racist moron (but now has it back, unfortunately for the republicans.) strom thurmond was a politician from a time that it seems to me a different world...and such a politician (and hypocrite, as the illegitimate daughter proves) that once he realized segregation was a lost cause, he abandoned it and started working with african-americans. same thing with george wallace.

segregated proms...segregationist idiots are everywhere, the point of this thread. maybe if demographics were different there'd be segregated proms in suburbs in the midwest or elsewhere? i'm not offering an excuse, just playing devil's advocate on this one.

racist idiots are everywhere. can't we all just get along? stop pointing fingers and bragging about how our state/region is more tolerant? end the pissing contest?

-

LMich
Jan 16, 2007, 12:32 AM
I guess you missed my point. I didn't come with the attack, I came with the defense to the ridiculous proposition that the Midwest was easily the most blatantly racist area of the country, with the argument being nothing but anecdotes, which people keep using as "proof" in these silly threads. If you're going to call a region of the country the most racist part of the country you better back it up with facts, because we can go toe-to-toe with little anecdotes all day long. My naming those people and events was a way to show how silly this can get. If you're going to make a bold claim, you better come with better than "well, when I was in ____ so-and-so said ____." Or the other cop out "I'm a sociology professor and you're not." I'm sure with all of that knowledge he'd be able to bring an actual argument to back up his bold claim.

BTW, your stats showing the hate groups, I've seen before. What I find interesting is the size of some of these states, and how many hate groups they have, per capita. It should be no surprise that California and Texas rank near the top in sheer numbers.

LSyd
Jan 16, 2007, 12:49 AM
I guess you missed my point. I didn't come with the attack, I came with the defense to the ridiculous proposition that the Midwest was easily the most blatantly racist area of the country, with the argument being nothing but anecdotes, which people keep using as "proof" in these silly threads. If you're going to call a region of the country the most racist part of the country you better back it up with facts, because we can go toe-to-toe with little anecdotes all day long. My naming those people and events was a way to show how silly this can get. If you're going to make a bold claim, you better come with better than "well, when I was in ____ so-and-so said ____." Or the other cop out "I'm a sociology professor and you're not." I'm sure with all of that knowledge he'd be able to bring an actual argument to back up his bold claim.

BTW, your stats showing the hate groups, I've seen before. What I find interesting is the size of some of these states, and how many hate groups they have, per capita. It should be no surprise that California and Texas rank near the top in sheer numbers.

oh, yeah, sorry about missing the "proof" point.

that is an interesting list of groups, although i'd like to see more on the size of the groups, although the types of groups is interesting to look at. i think i know where one of the black separatist groups is/was in Columbia as it was on my way to night class at a satellite campus.

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