Friday, January 28, 2005

When one studies the situation of housing segregation and attempts to promote open, inclusive, and diverse communities, one tends to find some issues that are hard to deal with when it comes to strategies of integration.

One such dilemma is that when polled about the types of integrated communities that people want to live in, African Americans often say they prefer a neighborhood that is 50% white and 50% black. (These surveys are too often disregard that there are other races and ethnicities to consider so we have to stick with the black/white dichotomy here.) Whites feel that 50/50 is something to flee. They prefer a much smaller amount -- approximately 10% Black.

In reality, the population of the United States is breaks down as follows:

White: 211 million (75%)
Black: 35 million (12%)

(Btw, the US is also 4% Asian, 2% Multiracial, 6% Other. Of the total population, approximately 13% are Latino across al races but mostly white.)

Obviously we have a mathematical conundrum. If African Americans all lived in 50/50 neighborhoods then that would mean 83% of whites would live in exclusive neighborhoods. Even if all Latinos were white and the other races lived in 50/50 situations 52% of non-Latino whites would live in exclusive communities) lived I don't think that's such a good situation. But, if it takes a 50/50 neighborhood for African Americans to feel comfortable living in an integrated community what is an integrationist to do? It seems unfair to ask an extremely disenfranchised group to accept less than the ideal requested.

My current thinking: If the 50/50 model were to become reality (we're not even close to that yet), there is no guarantee that those neighborhoods will offer the same opportunities as the 100/0 neighborhoods. So, maybe the 50/50 model is just a first step. But, the ultimate goal should be 75/12. Then there are no exclusive communities for whites.

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