Measuring racial progress in America – Segregation and poverty have declined among blacks since 1968 | United States

Measuring racial progress in America – Segregation and poverty have declined among blacks since 1968 | United States

Jun 6th 2020WASHINGTON, DC“EVERY TIME I think about it I feel like somebody’s poking a red-hot iron down my throat,” says Bigger Thomas, the poor bl

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“EVERY TIME I think about it I feel like somebody’s poking a red-hot iron down my throat,” says Bigger Thomas, the poor black boy living in a Chicago slum in the novel “Native Son”. “Goddamit, look! We live here and they live there. We black and they white. They got things and we ain’t. They do things and we can’t. It’s just like living in jail.” Richard Wright penned those lines about the debilitating psychological effects of the ghetto in 1940, before the civil-rights era; before the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 and the ensuing widespread racial unrest and riots; and well before the current seething protests against racial injustice in several hundred American cities. How relevant are those sentiments today?

In recent years the most prominent episodes of unrest over the deaths of black men in police custody have erupted in places with histories of segregation that persist to this day. They include Chicago, where Laquan McDonald was killed in 2014; Baltimore, where Freddie Gray was killed in 2015; and now Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed on May 25th. Ghettos are no longer legally enforced as of 1948, though the proliferation of restrictive single-family zoning rules in cities does not help. Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at Princeton, evaluated the effects of the civil-rights era on black families and found, depressingly,…



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