Sunday, August 9th, marked one year since Mike Brown, an unarmed Black teenager, was killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, prompting nationwide protest of police brutality against Black men, women, and children. As the week proceeding that one-year mark has seen renewed protest against institutional as well as overt racism, the moment reminds us to examine the effect that housing segregation has had on communities like Ferguson.
Writing for the New York Times, John Eligon looks at how segregation has continued to harm poor minorities of the St. Louis region, which “remains among the most segregated places in the country, where most blacks and whites, though sometimes separated by only a short walk, live in different worlds.” Despite some availability of housing vouchers to the poorer residents of St. Louis, the opportunity for those residents to move out of impoverished neighborhoods is sorely unavailable. [NYT]
Accompanying the above NYT piece is a map that shows the habit of large cities segregating minorities who receive housing assistance, such as Section 8 vouchers, to historically poorer areas of town. As readers will note from the inclusion of one prominent Kentucky city in this list, housing segregation is happening a lot closer to home than we may be willing to admit. [NYT]
The segregation of the poorest community members to a single pocket of a city is explored in-depth in this essay from The Century Foundation Paul A. Jargowsky. Examining data from census tracts of the past 20 or so years, Jargowsky concludes that “we are witnessing a nationwide return of concentrated poverty that is racial in nature, and that this expansion and continued existence of high-poverty ghettos and barrios is no accident.” The essay also furthers the argument that we must evaluate how to address racism and poverty with an intersectional approach, and that a necessary component of that solution must include fair and affordable housing. [TCF]
Concluding this week’s roundup is news of a Not In My Backyard, or NIMBY, policy pre-emptively thwarted in the small town of Anchorage, KY. Earlier this week, Jefferson Circuit Judge James M. Shake threw out a lawsuit filed by the city of Anchorage against a local children’s center that sought to prevent the center from “accepting youths officials deem too dangerous for the neighborhood.” Supporters of the children’s center celebrated the judge’s decision to reject the lawsuit while an Anchorage city official claimed that the lawsuit to prevent some children from being accepted at the center was merely an effort to learn what the city’s “rights and our responsibilities are.” [Courier-Journal]
(Photo: “Protestors demonstrating down West Florissant Ave.,” by Loavesofbread. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons)