From Ferguson to Baltimore: The Fruits of Government-Sponsored Segregation

In Baltimore in 1910, a black Yale law school graduate purchased a home in a previously all-white neighborhood. The Baltimore city government reacted by adopting a residential segregation ordinance, restricting African Americans to designated blocks. Explaining the policy, Baltimore’s mayor proclaimed, “Blacks should be quarantined in isolated slums in order to reduce the incidence of civil disturbance, to prevent the spread of communicable disease into the nearby White neighborhoods, and to protect property values among the White majority.”

Thus began a century of federal, state, and local policies to quarantine Baltimore’s black population in isolated slums—policies that continue to the present day, as federal housing subsidy policies still disproportionately direct low-income black families to segregated neighborhoods and away from middle class suburbs.

Whenever young black men riot in response to police brutality or murder, as they have done in Baltimore this week, we’re tempted to think we can address the problem by improving police quality—training officers not to use excessive force, implementing community policing, encouraging police to be more sensitive, prohibiting racial profiling, and so on. These are all good, necessary, and important things to do. But such proposals ignore the obvious reality that the protests are not really (or primarily) about policing.

In 1968, following hundreds of similar riots nationwide, a commission appointed by President Lyndon Johnson concluded that “[o]ur nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal” and that “[s]egregation and poverty have created in the racial ghetto a destructive environment totally unknown to most white Americans.” The Kerner Commission (headed by Illinois Governor Otto Kerner) added that “[w]hat white Americans have never fully understood—but what the Negro can never forget—is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white society condones it.”

In the last 50 years, the two societies have become even more unequal. Although a relatively small black middle class has been permitted to integrate itself into mainstream America, those left behind are more segregated now than they were in 1968.

When the Kerner Commission blamed “white society” and “white institutions,” it employed euphemisms to avoid naming the culprits everyone knew at the time. It was not a vague white society that created ghettos but government—federal, state, and local—that employed explicitly racial laws, policies, and regulations to ensure that black Americans would live impoverished, and separately from whites. Baltimore’s ghetto was not created by private discrimination, income differences, personal preferences, or demographic trends, but by purposeful action of government in violation of the Fifth, Thirteenth, and Fourteenth Amendments. These constitutional violations have never been remedied, and we are paying the price in the violence we saw this week.

Following the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, last August, I wrote The Making of Ferguson, a history of the state-sponsored segregation in St. Louis County that set the stage for police-community hostility there. Virtually every one of the racially explicit federal, state, and local policies of segregation pursued in St. Louis has a parallel in policies pursued by government in Baltimore.

In 1917, the U.S. Supreme Court found ordinances like Baltimore’s 1910 segregation rule unconstitutional, not because they abridged African Americans’ rights to live where they could afford, but because they restricted the property rights of (white) homeowners to sell to whomever they wished. Baltimore’s mayor responded by instructing city building inspectors and health department investigators to cite for code violations anyone who rented or sold to blacks in predominantly white neighborhoods. Five years later, the next Baltimore mayor formalized this approach by forming an official Committee on Segregation and appointing the City Solicitor to lead it. The committee coordinated the efforts of the building and health departments with those of the real estate industry and white community organizations to apply pressure to any whites tempted to sell or rent to blacks. Members of the city’s real estate board, for example, accompanied building and health inspectors to warn property owners not to violate the city’s color line.

In 1925, 18 Baltimore neighborhood associations came together to form the “Allied Civic and Protective Association” for the purpose of urging both new and existing property owners to sign restrictive covenants, which committed owners never to sell to an African American. Where neighbors jointly signed a covenant, any one of them could enforce it by asking a court to evict an African American family who purchased property in violation. Restrictive covenants were not merely private agreements between homeowners; they frequently had government sanction. In Baltimore, the city-sponsored Committee on Segregation organized neighborhood associations throughout the city that could circulate and enforce such covenants.

Supplementing the covenants, African Americans were prevented from moving to white neighborhoods by explicit policy of the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which barred suburban subdivision developers from qualifying for federally subsidized construction loans unless the developers committed to exclude African Americans from the community. The FHA also barred African Americans themselves from obtaining bank mortgages for house purchases even in suburban subdivisions which were privately financed without federal construction loan guarantees. The FHA not only refused to insure mortgages for black families in white neighborhoods, it also refused to insure mortgages in black neighborhoods—a policy that came to be known as “redlining,” because neighborhoods were colored red on government maps to indicate that these neighborhoods should be considered poor credit risks as a consequence of African Americans living in (or even near) them.

Unable to get mortgages, and restricted to overcrowded neighborhoods where housing was in short supply, African Americans either rented apartments at rents considerably higher than those for similar dwellings in white neighborhoods, or bought homes on installment plans. These arrangements, known as contract sales, differed from mortgages because monthly payments were not amortized, so a single missed payment meant loss of a home, with no accumulated equity. In the Atlantic last year, Ta-Nehisi Coates described how this system worked in Chicago. In summarizing her book, Family Properties, Rutgers University historian Beryl Satter described it this way:

Because black contract buyers knew how easily they could lose their homes, they struggled to make their inflated monthly payments. Husbands and wives both worked double shifts. They neglected basic maintenance. They subdivided their apartments, crammed in extra tenants and, when possible, charged their tenants hefty rents. …

White people observed that their new black neighbors overcrowded and neglected their properties. Overcrowded neighborhoods meant overcrowded schools; in Chicago, officials responded by “double-shifting” the students (half attending in the morning, half in the afternoon). Children were deprived of a full day of schooling and left to fend for themselves in the after-school hours. These conditions helped fuel the rise of gangs, which in turn terrorized shop owners and residents alike.

In the end, whites fled these neighborhoods, not only because of the influx of black families, but also because they were upset about overcrowding, decaying schools and crime. They also understood that the longer they stayed, the less their property would be worth. But black contract buyers did not have the option of leaving a declining neighborhood before their properties were paid for in full—if they did, they would lose everything they’d invested in that property to date. Whites could leave—blacks had to stay.

The contract buying system was commonplace in Baltimore. Its existence was solely due to the federal government’s policy of denying mortgages to African Americans, in either black or white neighborhoods.

Nationwide, black family incomes are now about 60 percent of white family incomes, but black household wealth is only about 5 percent of white household wealth. In Baltimore and elsewhere, the distressed condition of African American working- and lower-middle-class families is almost entirely attributable to federal policy that prohibited black families from accumulating housing equity during the suburban boom that moved white families into single-family homes from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s—and thus from bequeathing that wealth to their children and grandchildren, as white suburbanites have done.

As I described in the Making of Ferguson, the federal government maintained a policy of segregation in public housing nationwide for decades. This was as true in northeastern cities like New York as it was in border cities like Baltimore and St. Louis. In 1994, civil rights groups sued the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), alleging that HUD had segregated its public housing in Baltimore and then, after it had concentrated the poorest African American families in projects in the poorest neighborhoods, HUD and the city of Baltimore demolished the projects, and purposely relocated the former residents into other segregated black neighborhoods. An eventual settlement required the government to provide vouchers to former public housing residents for apartments in integrated neighborhoods, and supported this provision with counseling and social services to ensure that families’ moves to integrated neighborhoods would have a high likelihood of success. Although the program is generally considered a model, it affects only a small number of families, and has not substantially dismantled Baltimore’s black ghetto.

In 1970, declaring that the federal government had established a “white noose” around ghettos in Baltimore and other cities, HUD Secretary George Romney proposed denying federal funds for sewers, water projects, parkland, or redevelopment to all-white suburbs that resisted integration by maintaining exclusionary zoning ordinances (that prohibited multi-unit construction) or by refusing to accept subsidized moderate-income or public low-income housing. In the case of Baltimore County, he withheld a sewer grant that had previously been committed, because of the county’s policies of residential segregation. It was a very controversial move, but Romney got support from Vice President Spiro Agnew, who had been frustrated by unreasonable suburban resistance to integration and mixed income developments when he had been the Baltimore County Executive and governor of Maryland. In a 1970 speech to the National Alliance of Businessmen, Agnew attacked attempts to solve the country’s racial problems by pouring money into the inner city as had been done in the Johnson administration. Agnew said that he flatly rejected the assumption that “because the primary problems of race and poverty are found in the ghettos of urban America, the solutions to these problems must also be found there… Resources needed to solve the urban poverty problem—land, money, and jobs—exist in substantial supply in suburban areas, but are not being sufficiently utilized in solving inner-city problems.”

President Richard Nixon eventually restrained Romney, HUD’s integration programs were abandoned, Romney himself was forced out as HUD Secretary, and little has been done since to solve the urban poverty problem with the substantial resources that exist in the suburbs.

Ten years ago, during the subprime lending boom, banks and other financial institutions targeted African Americans for the marketing of subprime loans. The loans had exploding interest rates and prohibitive prepayment penalties, leading to a wave of foreclosures that forced black homeowners back into ghetto apartments and devastated the middle class neighborhoods to which these families had moved. The City of Baltimore sued Wells Fargo Bank, presenting evidence that the bank had established a special unit staffed exclusively by African American bank employees who were instructed to visit black churches to market subprime loans. The bank had no similar practice of marketing such loans through white institutions. These policies were commonplace nationwide, but federal bank examiners responsible for supervising lending practices made no attempt to intervene. When a similar suit was filed in Cleveland, a federal judge observed that because mortgage lending is so heavily regulated by the federal and state governments, “there is no question that the subprime lending that occurred in Cleveland was conduct which ‘the law sanctions’.”

Baltimore, not at all uniquely, has experienced a century of public policy designed, consciously so, to segregate and impoverish its black population. A legacy of these policies is the rioting we have seen in Baltimore. Whether after the 1967 wave of riots that led to the Kerner Commission report, after the 1992 Los Angeles riot that followed the acquittal of police officers who beat Rodney King, or after the recent wave of confrontations and vandalism following police killings of black men, community leaders typically say, properly, that violence isn’t the answer and that after peace is restored, we can deal with the underlying problems. We never do so.

Certainly, African American citizens of Baltimore were provoked by aggressive, hostile, even murderous policing, but Spiro Agnew had it right. Without suburban integration, something barely on today’s public policy agenda, ghetto conditions will persist, giving rise to aggressive policing and the riots that inevitably ensue. Like Ferguson before it, Baltimore will not be the last such conflagration the nation needlessly experiences.


  • Thanks for that. Economic policy, zoning regulations (like the Mt. Laurel decisions), building regulations can and are all used to support certain class/racial interests and to work very hard against others. Are the people devising these policies and regulations unaware of the impact they have on the rights of others or are they quite well aware and choose to exploit whomever they can?

    • Chris Kuylen

      I guarantee you someone, somewhere devising these policies knows exactly what he/she is doing, whether his/her peers sitting next to him/her on a political panel know or not, often time they (other politicians) are swooed by the one person that actually knows how for a political consensus will reach, and into which pockets. After all, don’t bite the hand that feeds….

      • David Moskowitz

        I agree that this has been a completely conscious policy repeated in every village and hamlet of our “great” nation. It’s great for the oligarchy that’s been running it for the past 400 yrs, not so great for everybody else, and an abomination for the slaves brought over to work the fields and the Big Houses.The awful slaughter and sacrifice to free the slaves during the Civil War was completely negated by the failure of Reconstruction. We haven’t climbed out of that abyss yet. Race continues to divide us and blind us to the economic realities of our country. The oligarchs who own us also run the military-industrial-intelligence complex, and get us to fight and pay for their wars. Getting past race to see the puppet masters–the Koch brothers are as good an example as any–would be a major achievement for the electorate. It would be nice to avoid another Civil War and settle the dispute politically in the 2016 elections.But it needs to be settled: are we a country of plantation owners and oligarchs, like most other countries on earth, or are we a nation of free and rich enough people, like Norway?

    • Tracey Anne Miller

      I have observed it is a little of both. And in either case this comes from a very low consciousness level! We have all been raised in separation and then survival of the fittest based from the Darwin theory when in actuality Nature works in co-operation with everything.

  • Chris Kuylen

    Excellent, well written, people should read this.

  • aspromised

    So much of that we didn’t know or conveniently forgot. Thank you.
    *Shared*

  • Joe Scott

    Redlining.

  • Tracey Anne Miller

    Very good! Thank you! We are repeating history all over again because we have not learned our lessons! I agree that people need to read this article. Last week I watched a 6 hour documentary on Netflix of the history of Afro-Americans which was excellent. What is happening today is bringing up so many memories of the 1960’s when I marched with the Black Coalition in Pittsburgh for Civil Rights. We have now moved into a Human Rights Movement for now only our Afro-Americans but for our children, elderly, and people of disability in segregation. May we all wake up and creatively join together as one human race and work together as family.

  • Tammy Mack-Lowe

    Thank you! Black people have been strategically railroaded into poverty. Irrespective of what we did or didn’t do, we would have always been poor. In this context, the only solution is redress. Black people need to have restored to them the same opportunities White people have come to expect as a matter of course.

  • janeinak

    But the question is, what to do now? What is the remedy for the situation on the ground now?

    • boredwthis

      THIS is precisely what frustrates me. I read the piece written after the Ferguson riots and had my eyes fully opened. NOW, when I try to educated my fellow Caucasian friends on what has been systematically happening in many cases right under our noses they look at me as if I am a television test pattern!

    • Ned Nederlander

      Get the government out of the way. Asking the government to solve the problem with suburban integration policies is like asking a robber to house sit. Freedom of association will solve the problem far faster and better.

  • Lisa Powers

    Reading this explains a lot about the inequality that exists. If only more people would understand and see that people with different skin colors are just like people with different hair colours, just different amounts of melanin and then treat all human beings as equals.

  • Hi Richard, Thank you. I have spent the past two years researching South African history and writing the book, ‘Land Mine’, where I discuss the fact that the typical ‘economic segregation’ that took place in our country, identical to much of what you describe, created the poverty and all the angry damaged conditions that we see in our local community.
    If it was not for the ‘economic segregation’ that still exists thanks to the Pillars of Colonisation that have not been removed, our ‘black communities’ would be the economic power of our country.
    Why have we done nothing?
    It is because we have suppressed the expression of antipathy by the victims towards the hurt, and financial damage resulting from the economic apartheid.
    “Land Mine” is aimed at awakening the world to the fact that the damage done to our people, is as bad as the damage done through the holocaust, we should have shame for the impact of our actions.
    http://land-mine-removal.co.za.
    I will link this article on my site. Thank you.

    • dontmincemywords

      Hands up to you Cedric de la Harpe

  • Once we talk about the root cause we can understand the reaction. But they don’t want to do that.

    Thank you!

  • ecogordo

    This explains the policies of the past very well. As has been pointed out currently, Baltimore is a black city with a mostly black government. Baltimore County has a large black population and more poor people today than Baltimore City. How do we make progress today and change the housing policies of yesterday when government is unresponsive, inflexible and unwilling to be open and innovative?

    • alissa914

      Voting them out of office. That’s your power and probably the only thing you can do to make change. And they can’t stop you from voting based on your income.

  • Dr. Johnny Nacho

    What if the majority of households had two loving parents to try and guide the children to the right path in life….teaching them the basics between right and wrong. What a world that would be to live in.

    • Jim Dixon

      What if we did not have the phony drug war and mass incarceration of so many people of color.

    • Jessica Kelly

      Indeed, what a world. We should ask Rand Paul’s son, and Sarah Palin’s daughter, and the Duggar’s oldest son about that.

    • John Smith

      Dr Nacho,

      Please note that more than 50% of Americans are single. So please stop pulling out excerpts Moynihan report from 1965 and start saying something new.

      The issue is poverty and lack of opportunity. Please take your resume, put the address as some place in an all black neighborhood and see how many job offers you get.

      Obviously your parents did a great job in teaching you prejudice and bigotry.

    • Steven Parke

      Plenty of single parents manage – and do a wonderful if more difficult job. But they have financial resources and came from areas that provided them opportunities to succeed. You are glossing over the clear inequity happening to further your own ideals.

  • Public_Programming

    Brilliant! Might as well add every other major city in America to the list. And when you’re black people think you’re just being paranoid or making this stuff up. Blacks themselves are so caught up in trying to make it they don’t even share this information with one another thus we fall victim to the same traps over and over again.

  • jakeslaw

    History has a way of reminding us that unless and until we treat every human being a a person, there will continue to be these tensions. Racism is simply a reflection of the condition of fallen mankind. So recall the words of Mother Teresa who to this nation that if we allow for the killing of unborn children, how can we not expect violence at all levels. Or the idea that respecting women and not exploiting them is somehow archaic. Or the notion that perhaps men should be responsible and avoid destructive behavior toward themselves and others. Or that marriage is something people ought to take seriously. Or that work – no matter how difficult or menial – is better than stealing or selling drugs or living off of welfare. Are we going to recognize that we were all made in the image and likeness of God, or does He even matter anymore?

    And finally please do not expect the government to help. As the story aptly reflects, government has been a major part of the ongoing problem.

    • MaryOGrady

      “Mother” Teresa? Really? The one who palled around with “Baby Doc” Duvalier and his pampered wife? The one who refused to give back the ill-gotten gains donated to her by the felonious Keating, when a judge asked her to? The one who refused to consider any couple whom she knew to have used contraception as prospective adoptive parents?
      When abortion is illegal, living, breathing women die. Illegal abortions still fill a good 25-30% of the OB-GYN beds in the hospitals of Mexico, where abortion remains illegal. Women still arrive at the emergency rooms hemorrhaging, or burned internally from the potassium permanganate which is a popular means to attempt self-abortion, or bloated from gas gangrene. Desperate women will risk their lives to end their unwanted pregnancies. Since Roe vs. Wade, meanwhile, in the US, the beds that were allocated for patients with botched abortions have been put to other uses.

      • Freddymeboy

        Abortion as part of the solution to ANYTHING? We must do better than that!

        • MaryOGrady

          Abortion is a solution to unwanted pregnancy. If it is legal, it will be performed under safe conditions. If it is illegal, it will still be carried on, but the desperate woman who has one will risk her life.
          If you sincerely want to reduce the number of abortions, work for easy accessibility to effective birth control, and for decent social services so that an unexpected pregnancy is never a ticket to destitution and even homelessness. The US falls far short on each of these matters.

          • Freddymeboy

            There are actually no unwanted pregnancies, just people who don’t want to accept them, just as there are no safe abortions, since at least one person always dies. Since you want to be part of the solution, let’s start by agreeing that we are the creatures, and the creator, who is love, makes the rules. Humans in “control” of birth? Not possible!

  • dontmincemywords

    Excellently researched information, put together giving the past history chronology todate. Outcome nothing has changed and the pain remains. So unbelievable.

    • A crime is only addressed if the victims are able to express antipathy towards their hurt and damage they suffered. The voice of our ‘majority’ in South Africa is suppressed, what chance do the blacks in America have?

  • I would like to propose that it will not take suburban integration, but intentional and targeted interventions around families (especially as it applies to children aged 0-6).

    We have learned more in the last decade than in all of human history combined. And one of the most transformative revelations is that the brain literally wires itself in response to its surroundings (whether functional or dysfunctional) during a “second gestational” period directly after birth.

    http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/multimedia/interactive_features/gene-expression/

    http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/multimedia/interactive_features/biodevelopmental-framework/

    Inner city community schools that offer the right combination of services are making a remarkable difference.

    https://lumineducation.org/ourprograms/
    https://lumineducation.org/results/

  • Anne G. Lynch

    I wonder how this issue looks on a state-by-state basis! I live in a town which grew rapidly during the Civil Rights movement due to white flight from the state capital. Today that town is nicely integrated. Several black families live in my neighborhood of single family homes. This change happened slowly and without any kind of political action. I have myself been curious as to why integration moved so smoothly.

  • Lee Tierra

    Not to leave out “Redlining” and the once thriving Jewish community in Boston

  • Monty Neill

    What Richard describes for Baltimore was (of course) also true for Boston. Despite the evidence of federal effort to maintain and enforce residential segregation, the Supreme Court began its rush away from dealing with governmentally mandated segregation in Milliken v Bradley which managed to block city-suburban school desegregation on the grounds that it was de facto segregation not de jure.

  • Cha5678

    Like Wells Fargo selecting a few blacks to market to other blacks, the political elite on the left and right have their appointed Nomenklatura, a relatively small black charlatans has been permitted to integrate itself into political nobility, those left behind are more segregated now than they were in 1968

    Black-owned businesses and family units have declined and there’s been no change in the black-white school achievement gap after decades and trillions of concentrated spending towards that effort.

    The nobles got rich. Advocacy organizations, Education Inc, unions got te money. Politicians got the votes. And blacks got killed, drugged up, aborted, jailed and/or replaced by Latinos.

  • hopleyyeaton

    My neighborhood in suburban Prince Georges County, Md. was typically family oriented middle class and about 50-50 black and white. When a couple houses for rent were picked up for Section 8, several of my black neighbors started to talk about moving to Charles County or even farther out. They were concerned about people from Anacostia being moved into our neighborhood. Andre told me he’d worked too hard for all he and his family had and didn’t want the environment around his home and his boys deteriorating. That situation was all social, cultural, and mainly economic, not racial.

    • alissa914

      Similar things happen out here just outside of Philadelphia on the border (Bensalem, PA for example). After a few years, you just see people getting hostile and nasty (playing very loud music from kicker boxes in the middle of the day… fixing cars in the parking lot….. very city-like behaviors, I guess). It makes you want to move but not because of race or anything (I mean, there were a lot of Indian people moving in although they were more stuck-up and condescending than anything)….. but you just want a normal, quiet life and here you have people that are rude and inconsiderate making your life more unpleasant. So you move further away from the city and as those people move further out, more people move even further out, etc.

    • Further proof of the internalization of American racism, which is the bastard child of American classism.

  • caroline

    its not just government, there are private forces at work as well. Carl Icahn bought the routes out of St. Louis eventually decimating TWA as a viable airline and St. Louis as a key hub. Before this happened, the airport unfortunately expanded into black neighborhoods of Kinloch est. since 1890 forcing poorer citizens into public housing. Tax code issues and lobbying has enabled corporate giants Emerson Electric, Monsanto, and Malinckrodt (all 5 miles from Ferguson) to detach from their local communities and disengage from local jobs programs at the entry and manufacturing levels.

  • ksteve

    We need to adopt governmental policies that work toward eliminating ghettos from our society. Such policies should, in my opinion, include, but not be limited to requiring that ALL communities (whether developed privately or by government) include X amount of low-income housing. But we need to go beyond that and ensure that EVERYONE have at least a tolerable level of living. We need to ensure that our public schools equip everyone to the extent that they have an opportunity to enjoy a decent life. We need to ensure that adequate health care is readily available to everyone, regardless of their income. Yes, we need, in my opinion, a more socialist-style government, a government that provides for people’s real needs and funds such programs via a truly graduated income tax..
    To get there, the overly-selfish and greedy profiteers obviously need more regulation. People who exploit others for profit (as described by Mr. Rothstein) cannot be allowed to get away with it. No one or no institution should ever be regarded as too big and powerful to be penalized when they violate just laws.

  • TheoJoe Woo

    Truth is sovereign… If all local, state, and federal governments in America truly have it’s citizen interests in mind, whatsoever those interests may be, why have the politicians not shared information regarding the duality of our God-given names? Duality meaning public/debtor and private/creditor characteristic of all our God-given names. How about all government admitting to the unconscionable contracts we all unwittingly enter into every day? How about all American government showing everyone how to avoid unfair taxing and out-of control federal spending and trade deficits? How about all American government explaining to all of us how they (government) trick us into their legal justice system where judges, statute, law, and code play God with our lives? Under the guise of liberty, freedom, and justice for all.The people running things in this country, and the world, know exactly what I’m talking about and they also know that I speak the truth. Would’nt be wonderful if the government explained in detail how they have convicted most of us for crimes, most of which are civil in nature, and have no victim. These are the issues that each of us must address if we truly want to be free. Anyone interested who would consider aiding me to this end will be appreciated.

  • Matthew Smith

    While I was aware of much of this history, I was happy to see it laid out so well, chronologically. The thing is though, for many years the impediments to people moving wherever they want have been brought down, and while economics are still a limiting factor, no one is keeping anyone from buying property anywhere they can afford… The sub-prime mortgage game suckered a LOT of people of all colors, sadly, Blacks lack of economic/financial education has hurt many in so far as it has made them less aware of credit scoring and the consequences of certain loan agreements… It is odd to me to see how many immigrants come here and within half a generation or so, have learned, quite well, how to work the system to great advantage and manage, despite some obvious disadvantages, to become economically independant and comfortable quite quickly.

    • massappeal

      Thanks for your comment. Just adding—sub-prime mortgage lenders targeted people of color (both immigrants and native-born citizens) specifically.

      • Matthew Smith

        They targeted those they thought were less financially educated.

        • massappeal

          Yeah, but it was more than that. Less financially educated people of color were targeted more than less financially educated white folks.

  • Tim Dyson

    ksteve, you have got much of it right. Our government should provide a chance for all our citizens to have a tolerable place to live. But the billionaires that actually determine policy will never allow that type of change to take place. Billionaires want more wars, more foreign intervention and less money spent on domestic programs. We need seismic shift in how we spend our tax dollars. It’s never going to happen until our society finally says enough is enough. I have been saying we need a revolution, a forceful but peaceful revolution. Bernie Sanders has not got a chance but he does have the right idea about overhauling our government. I hope more people like you, ksteve, speak up. Good stuff.

    • Jeffrey Euchler

      “From time to time the tree of Tyranny must be watered with the blood or patriots and tyrants” Thomas Jefferson. There never in history, “EVER” has been a peaceful revolution! Sounds nice!

      • Bolvon72

        That’s the tree of liberty, you know?

    • Teresa Salsbury

      I do hope you are wrong about Bernie not having a chance. Neither major party seems to have a clue about fixing this, or any other common sense problem.

  • wreed22

    Fatherless homes? Unending welfare transfers over generations? Baltimore has the second highest secondary education spending in the US. About $15,000 per pupil. Results? Democratic power structure in Baltimore? The Federal Govt has gutted the urban Black families in the name of helping. The police response, in inner city Black areas, is based on daily violent lawlessness perpetrated by witless, untrained, uncivilized young Black males. The generational loss of Fathers is devastating. Black on Black crime is devastating. More spending on welfare and education?

    • massappeal

      Thanks for your comment, but violent crime rates have declined nationwide for over two decades, and they’ve declined more rapidly in cities than elsewhere.

      • wreed22

        Do you live in an inner city area?

        • massappeal

          I don’t know how you define “inner city area”, but I live in a city and have for quite some time now. How about you?

    • Kemosahbee

      You obviously haven’t read the article – or you’d have to reach further…

  • farawayplace

    Why am I not surprised that this article chooses to harp on every event PRIOR to the near 40 years that Democrats, most of them black, have been in power in Baltimore? That’s right, four black mayors and seven black police commissioners since. A police force 40% black. 3 of the 6 officers charged in the recent death that caused the riots, are also black.

    Interestingly, there IS a former white mayor we can blame the police brutality on. That one guy is Martin O’Malley — the same Democrat running for president along with Hillary. He WAS responsible for brutal police “zero tolerance” policies that infringed on black civil rights.

    But media outlets like this would rather go back 40 years and blame it all on the white man… doesn’t fit their agenda to discuss the above.

    • Morpheus X

      Because history doesn’t begin when YOU want it to.

      Systemic and institutional problems have a weight and momentum all their own. Those problems PREDATE Democrats taking over.

      You say they’ve been in power for 40 years. That’s 1975.

      Refresh our memory – when was the last riot in Baltimore? 1968, when MLK was assassinated. And the circumstances and reasons were essentially the same as they were last week and the same as they were in the Watt’s riots.

      Nice try, though…

      • farawayplace

        When was the last Republican mayor in Baltimore? Look it up, and get back to us. And by your own admission, no Democrat has changed things in all of that time. In fact, O’Malley (Democrat) is who angered blacks so much with his completely unfair, and heavy-handed anti-crime tactics.

        • Morpheus X

          I guess you have reading comprehension issues.

          I’ll repeat myself.
          “history doesn’t begin when YOU want it to.

          Systemic and institutional problems have a weight and momentum all their own. Those problems PREDATE Democrats taking over.”

          And once more for good measure….

          “history doesn’t begin when YOU want it to.

          Systemic and institutional problems have a weight and momentum all their own. Those problems PREDATE Democrats taking over.”

    • Kolya2

      Really? Conservative actions shipped the jobs away. They hobbled the educations of blacks. Roadblocked the paths to wealth building. How were democrats supposed to rebuild anything if there are no jobs, no tax base, and the people are under-educated? It takes money and mental capital to rebuild, and conservatives made sure there wouldn’t be any of that available.
      And lest you think it’s purely racial, they did/do the same to the whites in Appalachia and the Deep South so there’d be a constant stream of desperate labour.

      • farawayplace

        Bill Clinton signed the agreement that doomed the US working class to Chinese labor. Fact. Look it up. He did more to damage the US workers than any Republican before or since.

    • You know what doesn’t fit the agenda? Quite literally? Turning a problem that has irrefutable, defensible fact and undeniable historical precedent behind its present day manifestations into a simple-minded, privileged snark about how your subjective view of partisan politics is the only way to look at that problem. As if both political parties haven’t egregiously exploited all kinds of marginalized citizens in this country, not the least of which includes the unconscionable, unethical, and wholly despicable treatment of People of Color from the moment the Union accepted the idea that genocide and chattel based slave commerce would be an acceptable method by which it could ‘respectably’ build its empire. The last half century of complex problems surrounding race issues here are directly and indisputably tied to the perpetual view of so-called minorities as inhuman, subhuman, and second-class, with the entirety of their communities being lambasted as having some ridiculous propensity for laziness and crime, and somehow unfairly siphoning off the tax revenue of “hard-working Americans.” This, because, just like all other people here, there exists within said communities that are responsible for those things. But you, along with those who think like you, have decided that, oh, yes, clearly it has nothing to do with the things you believe to be fair and true, and that there’s no way you or your predecessors could in any way have played a role in how our modern day issues are playing out. So, of course, if you’re some sort of Conservative or GOP thinker, if something is wrong with your country, it MUST be the Democrats. And if you’re a liberal, and the same problem, OBVIOUSLY it’s those nasty Republicans. You are refusing to acknowledge that when it comes to American racism – which is the bastard child of American classism – party lines were (and are) all but irrelevant to those being affected by its poison. This is whether you’re looking at new problems being brought to the table, or ones that have existed for centuries as they pertain to things like Slavery, Jim Crow, and Separate But Equal legislation. The mere fact that there exists within your mind the audacity to speak on this topic with such fervor, and such arrogance, using the pettiness of the Corporate-owned, lobbyist-infested, media-hyped circus that is the US political theatre, only proves in spades how far all of us are from seeking collective answers and actually reaching a state of peaceful coexistence. Do yourself a favor, and find people who are actually willing to listen and agree with your statements, because chances are, they’ll be just like you in that they’ll also want nothing to do with “these people,” and would rather bitch and moan about things you all really don’t care about.

      • Kemosahbee

        Well said! Most don’t do nuance well, especially on the conservative side of things – ‘it’s their parents fault’ after all, isn’t it? /s
        The idea that racist fueled policies and sensibilities might have planted the seeds which are ‘blooming’ today and throughout the last 50 years or so is lost on partisan folks whose ‘I got mine, f— you’ mindset is perfectly A ok with an inept political system w/o the will, spine, heart or intelligence to do anything about it.

    • Robert Hodge

      AAACKK! It isn’t only a ‘black’ or even a ‘white’ problem in the abstract. Even though it is, it ISN’T.

      It’s a black and black problem, its a black and clueless white problem, its a black and BLUE problem, its a black and lack of GREEN problem…shall I go on?

    • Steven Parke

      Because when you build a house the foundation is where serious long lasting problems happen. It’s called logic. You can only do so much good or bad once the foundation is rotten. Shocking – I know- you’d rather blame a political party than the actual problem. The system is the issue. Do you think either party really cares to fix it? If so you are fairly ignorant of the agenda of the two major parties. Neither has offered a real solution for poverty or poor education, and no lone is even talking injustice. Show me how either party can actually offer a solution to this issue with any real reform.

      • farawayplace

        So why the obsession with Democrats? You would think that people would learn after 40 years of broken promises, scandals, and graft.

        • Steven Parke

          Really?
          You’d think people would understand the same of BOTH parties. I certainly do which is why I am an Independent. I’m always amazed that people think one party works better. The Republicans certainly have been no better in any way shape or form and they are vocal and lawmaking bullies to boot.

        • Steven Parke

          Why the obsession with the two party system at all? Neither party does right by the average/median income person in this country.

    • Cort

      Have a hard time feeling sorry for people who blame white people. Every citizen has a right to vote. The vote is your voice for change. If you don’t like the policies, change the politician. How many people living in the ghetto are becoming familiar with their representatives or the policies/programs they support? Voting won’t matter if you don’t know what you’re voting for. The people of Baltimore choose free handouts in exchange for a democratic vote. You want to be prosperous? Stop selling your vote for snap and section 8!

      • Joan C. Grim

        Wells Fargo Bank first pushed sub-prime mortgages on thousands of black
        families in Baltimore (referred to as “Mud People” by loan officers),
        then foreclosed on their homes. But unlike Baltimore’s black youth who
        threw rocks, not one single banker was arrested for destroying the
        community.
        Who are the real looters?
        Source NY Times: http://nyti.ms/1rV9qse

        https://www.facebook.com/usauncut

    • mercdem2

      While others who were more easily folded into the “american ideal” and were able to buy property, they had 40 years to accrue equity, to build wealth. Blacks in baltimore were kept out of that opportunity and we see the result of being locked out from upward mobility today. That being the first point. Secondly, it’s not about a black mayor or black cops, it’s the tactics of violently policing blacks while unjust laws long on the books are written to protect the powered elite. You and the rest of your type really need to learn something about the nation you live in other than the whitewashed lies you choose to believe. The willfully ignorant like yourself suffer from acute cognitive dissonance and it is killing all of us,

  • jddeatherage

    bigger government is the problem, not the solution.

    • massappeal

      Thanks for your comment, but if Baltimore was passing segregation ordinances over a century ago, how is “bigger government” the problem?

      • alohay2k

        Just look what happening now…cronyism, nepotism, fraud, waste, favoritism…look, there is even a prosecutor using all this to run for office…as she set’s up the next rounds of riots due to the ridiculous, no-win charges she filed against six police officers.

        • massappeal

          Thanks for your response, but I think you missed what I was asking. Baltimore didn’t have “big government” a century ago, and it still had racist laws and institutions. How is “bigger government” the problem?

  • Jeffrey Euchler

    I live in a 123 apt.( Predominantly hud) complex, not one person of color resides here, is this the exact opposite, or business as usual?

  • Alithia Toussaint

    More of the same

  • Chris Weaver

    Why did i have to do the leg work to determine that THAT MAYOR

    J. Barry Mahool…. was a democrat?

    • Fideliolioli

      Racism was a problem in every party and every corner of America in 1910; and in terms of the parties – if you’re inferring that the two parties have not changed dramatically in 100 years in terms of their values and platform – try getting the GOP of today to vote for Eisenhower – or even Reagan. Your implication shows a profound lack of historical understanding. Just stop.

      • Chris Weaver

        Speak for yourself Fidel… I have a better understanding than you assume. You stop … unless you can speak for yourself.
        I live in a county that has been held in Democrat control ever since the County leader of the KKK came to power in 1870 and there has NEVER been a single republican ever elected to office…. oh the Democrats have changed… they just co-opt and keep on rolling.

    • Otis Mule

      Thanks for the research.
      The reason is for you, that is important information.
      For someone like ct525, above, it would be like saying J. Barry Mahool was a Republican cause yesterday’s D’s are today’s R’s so the information would be wasted space by the author.

  • Robert H Moore

    wow all that and not a peep about how all the housing stock that was created for white industrial workers but also workers migrating from the south especially during world war II was financed, still interesting

  • This is a great history. You should add this detail: a federal district court rule in HUD v Thompson that the city’s policy of locating public housing projects in the city’s urban core was illegal. The settlement agreement gives people the opportunity to move into wealthier neighborhoods.

  • Wendy Hestick

    HOW EUROPE UNDERDEVELOPED AFRICA by Walter Rodney and you would see why black people are running from Africa to where their wealth was taken and pilfered, like the Congo to Belgium etc.

  • Christopher Ryan

    Great article

  • I am favor of freedoms right and guarantees in Baltimore

  • Bronxboy47

    My uncle’s family was among the first two black families to move into Shaker Heights, Ohio, back when Shaker Heights was considered one of the most exclusive neighborhoods in the country. The neighborhood responded by redistricting the neighborhood to exclude the two black families. This (along with similar variations) is the same problem blacks aspiring to move into the middle class have faced in every state of this non-racist country. It is a black reality far too many whites refuse to acknowledge or even familiarized themselves with. The history of governmental collusion (be it municipal or national) in the deliberate segregation of blacks from whites is a history which must be ignored or suppressed for it is the most telling aspect of this nation’s attitude towards its black citizens.

  • rt90k

    Quite reliably, this article pins the blame for black problems on someone else.

    • Clearly you stopped reading after the first word in the first sentence

    • Bronxboy47

      Are there any problems blacks have that are not wholly their own fault? Somehow I get the impression you don’t think so, otherwise the detailed examples of the historical barriers deliberately created by government bodies, both national and local municipalities, wouldn’t allow you to make such an assinine, bigoted statement.

  • Youth community organizations working together political agents of social sustainability systems helps minimize the city´s risk in Baltimore

  • ct525

    In the early 1900’s the Democratic party was controlled by white southerners like the Republican /Tea party is today.

    • Otis Mule

      That is so tired. Get off of it. Please go meet one and find out for yourself. You couldn’t have come up with that on your own because I have heard so many people say or write the same thing.

  • Catehess7

    So what can be done to move forward? The unfortunately predictable pedantic comments on every other post are not helpful and simply do not lend themselves to solutions beyond the just pull up your boots and get over slavery and certainly do little to honor the supposed founding fathers, documents or any other sacred creeds or texts. What about forming a ‘more perfect union’, promoting the ‘general welfare’, establishing ‘justice’ for OURSELVES and our posterity collectively??? Is that only important for those who have not had the rules stacked against them? If circumstances, situations, and external forces are not important here, why do we EVER ask for a ‘motive’ for illegal behavior? Why do we have entire departments, sections and sectors of law enforcement dedicated to the investigation into WHY? Is not THIS national devolution equally as important such that we are interested or should be invested not only in why but resolving to ensure that answer is addressed finally and for the GREATER good???
    We absolutely MUST engage in meaningful numbers to hold ALL our elected officials accountable to and for PEOPLE (regardless to the traditional divisive exclusions utilized to underestimate, undervalue and marginalize those they summarily do not plan to represent), and not to and for ‘corporate entities’. Vote, education, organize and STAY, STAY, STAY engaged with empathy, sympathy, compassion and love. Peace to all.

    • RozeeRivet

      Catthess7,
      Your agonizing frustration is widespread…and deep. It takes a lot of guts, patience, wisdom, and butting up against some pretty rugged rocks to decide that what you know to be right is worth a whole lot of sweat, tears, and gut’wrenching perseverance. The America we were all brought up to believe we lived in, the city on the hill standing as a beacon for the whole world’s journey to enlightened democracy…That’s our project…not our reality. And it’s a big one. We just need to know that it’s like everything else worth knowing and achieving: It’s like Sysiphus and the rock rolling up hill. Except that it’s possible to succeed because people do learn and they do want good things for the common good. Only mentally ill societies want what’s been going on here for far too long. We can’t expect all the crazies to disappear, but people do learn and peoples do grow while remaining eternally vigilant.

  • Terri Lynn Sullivan

    The book made movie, “Hunger Games” is anti-war. Its author’s message lost onto many due to her amazing ability to “show don’t tell”. Yet, it is a purposeful metaphor to the American economy and culture of war games for power, profit and entertainment, played out in violent movies and media as “honor” and “service” . The well-intentioned yet deeply programmed public “cheering” them on for our path to “freedom”. All the metaphors are there….the “tribute”, the hunting down of mostly poor within districts, the glorification of it all for money and totalitarian power, the starving of social services across cities, taking money form schools and putting it into our war games. Interesting, how its teens themselves open minded and able to think for themselves enough to see the message more than historically conditioned adults continuing to “honor” their loved ones before them for “protecting our freedom”. All while people believe the mainstream media “Breaking News”, when every station is owned and controlled by a few huge war profiteers fed “news” directly from the capitol and its cronies. Want to be pro-American? Fight the non-violent fight for clean air, clean water, and a clean soul. There is absolutely NOTHING pro-American about waving the flag around or wrapping it around the innocent blood of our youth, while our capitol manufactures “enemies” that never existed beyond those we arm ourselves, such as “Kurds” and onward. USA is the warfare capitol of the world, and its time for people to start investing in the social good. The racism, hate, blame, anger, unhealthy culture of irrelevant revenge are purposely implanted into people’s minds, to fuel our violence for profit culture, played out like the violent video games we’ve profitably placed on store shelves for innocent children to become obsessed with. Why? So the Hunger Games can continue. Put down your guns and electronic finger puppets, and visit this destination known as “reality”.

    • RozeeRivet

      Very well put, Terri Lynn!

  • MarthaStew

    As it is said, “all politics are local.” Before blaming any one party on a national scale, how about looking at the ordinances to see if any antiquated, segregationist laws still exist on the books and eliminate them. Second, look to see how the wards or precincts are drawn in census years. It should lay bare if there is rampant gerrymandering going on. If so, get grass roots community input to shine a light on what’s happening, and remove the elected officials responsible for it. Third, work toward slapping crippling penalties on the banks or realtors who use predatory lending practices, deny loans or mortgages based on race, or who deliberately steer clientele toward racially-segregated neighborhoods or apartments. That’s a start.

    • M. Sharma

      Great Start to a solution! Will educated people as yourself help with solutions as you’ve explained or is it not your problem? Helping minority communities elect the right politicians and remove elected officials that are hurting their own communities? Or will you vote who will make your people prosperous? That’s the issue at hand, not enough educated people in our own communities and/or people with power, let’s be honest, to assist with the over crowed ghettos with individuals still stuck in slave like mentalities. It’s easier said than done!!!! Secretary George Romney tried to make a change and look what Nixon did to him, he was the last politician to this day to try and make a change on a larger scale. No one since has taken the liberty to fight such an injust system with power. You say it’s starts locally but that’s far from the truth, it’s starts on a national scale. But let’s face it, our government will only do what’s right for whites. It’s sad to know that my sons’ will have to fight harder, work harder for equality. Will your children have to work as hard to be seen as an equal human being? Maybe if they were, you’d make this your problem.

  • Brett FISH Anderson

    So much important conversation to be had on this and i have collected a bunch of really good stuff on my blog over here: https://brettfish.wordpress.com/2014/04/11/taboo-topics-race

    But to be honest i don’t know that this conversation will move forward until people of all races commit themselves to sitting across from and next to other people with different stories and starting to listen to them and wrestle and challenge and figure out this stuff from a point of relationship, which is something we looked at encouraging over here: https://brettfish.wordpress.com/2015/05/09/how-a-plate-of-spaghetti-and-a-argentina-football-player-hold-the-hope-for-south-africa

    South Africa is not s different in a lot of the race stuff we have to overcome, and there is lots to be done, but i’m convinced that as people get face to face and cultivate relationships, that we will see positive and transformative movement in the right direction.

    Keep on
    love brett fish

  • james

    This article and the NPR story really put some meat on the bone in connection with the issue of generational poverty and how one can become stuck in the ghetto. While some may argue that its is more of the same, I learned that discriminatory practices in the housing industry, not that long ago, were legally codified examples of blatantly racist attitudes..Something more than a few people would like to dismiss, excuse or ignore. Not placing blame but explaining, via context, the current situation. Bravo and thank you.

  • mg

    Born in 1960 and growing up black in Buffalo, New York as a kid you could always see the segregation and sense that something wasn’t quite right with the way neighborhoods were divided and constructed. The way some people were treated, and the way the city distributed funds. I remember asking myself what’s up with all the hatred towards blacks not having knowledge of all the history and institutional racism that was in effect. Hell, I was a kid just trying to have fun. But as I grew older I could see it and other things more clearly and would overhear my parents and aunts and uncles talking. My dad would tell a stories about how he was denied entry into the Navy because they had a “quota system”, denied jobs, mistreated at work because he was the only black machinist in an all white shop. My mom was asked to train someone who be her boss in college book and retail sales department. Problems with trying to buy a house which my parents eventually did in 1970 when I was 10 years old. There were 7 kids total, my parents had us all in Catholic schools.

    I’m always taken aback when I hear the depth of the hatred and racism regardless to who you are or what you’ve done in your life. Some folks just don’t like the skin I’m in. Whether your doctor, lawyer, veteran, scientist or nurse. This report/blog by Richard Rothstein crystallizes it for me and should be mandatory reading for anybody that wants to speak about or know more about why things are they way they are. Black ghettos, maybe all ghettos for the most part are created by the policies and practices of federal, state, and local governments and commercial entities.

    I remember asking myself as a kid and even recently with the unrest/semi-riots “why is it no matter where I travel to the black neighborhoods are always the worst parts of town?”. “Don’t these folks (my folks) get it”. I could never quite put my finger on why. I recently came to the conclusion after many years of it bothering me and that this report spells out that these neighborhoods and the people in it are designed to fail for the most part with a few exceptions. It’s hard to win in life when “your country” is working against you and don’t want you to succeed. This has left a terrible legacy of poverty, miseducation, exploitation, health outcomes etc… etc… in minority communities. Unless you are really smart, can jump real high, run real fast, have a great jump shot, can knock down 3 pointers, have great moves on the football field, can rush the quarterback, are 6’4″ -225lbs and can run the football or… have the benefit of have a great parent or two, good role models, a decent education, good friends relatives who help to look out for you. I could go on but I won’t.

    When you see folks protesting and acting a fool think about how their ancestors were hated, mistreated, and exploited, (and how this was enforced by local police departments) the legacy continues. Most of these folks don’t even know how they ended up where they are in these run down neighborhoods and parts of towns. They just know something ain’t quite right. One can say violence is never justified but it should never be a mystery as why sometimes “things” happen.

    I rather spend my time on solutions… but folks need to know what the problem is and who created it before they can figure out how to fix it. It definitely needs fixing. Hopefully Mr. Rothstein can publish some solutions/recommendations on how to fix some these problems. Nothing would make me happier than to come up with solutions that don’t involve having to depend on the government. Would be nice to fix these problems from within the communities so folks can better control our own destiny.

  • drybones

    THIS is very well put together there only one thing not spoken about in all of these things the one institution is free masonry very much a part of this republic it is consider the first masonic republic which there exits a brotherhood of white elites with the help of a black chosen class calle the boule.

  • BrownSugarC

    When we don’t teach ALL our history, we walking around not knowing the truth. What America has done and continues to do to the descendants of the slaves is just as bad as what Russia, China & North Korea do to their residents. The so called “underclass” is pulling down our entire nation. When we fail to educate black, brown and native American children in the same manner as white children, our whole country suffers. Who knows if the cure to cancer is locked up in the head of some little children from an inner city town?

    • Courtney Black

      Black culture is at fault. Education is seen as ‘acting white’, and can get you a severe beat-down in any inner city. The problem with black people is black people.

  • Sean_M_Donahue

    It sounds as if one of the keys to developing black neighborhoods is requiring successful black people to live there.

  • sylvia

    All this history and nobody takes blame. I am sorry but if a group of people do not take the Initiative to move forward and change the way they do things, then it continues the same behaviour over and over, nobody wants to be around that. Aggressive behavior towards others, does not accomplish anything . If you know a plague is around the corner, you will not go there. Unfortunately, most people sees blacks in this manner. Smokey Robinson and other well established blacks have said that there is no reason for blacks not to accomplish in this lifetime. If they are constantly living with century history pounded in their heads like Al Sharpten does, there will never move forward. Look at Baltimore. Who is doing what there. It is not the other races. They are killing each other. So, if that is what they want, that is what they will get. Having the mayor throw her first line of defense under the bus, is down right stupid and shows her ignorance,also her lack of experience. Mayor, this is not the neighborhood barbeque.

    • Public_Programming

      Stop spewing your ignorant conservative talk show rhetoric. Most people have no clue about how generational poverty works or the forces that continue to hold poor blacks down in this country today. This article is only one example. There are numerous mechanisms in place to keep people dumb and poor (the education and legal system for starters). It is so easy to blame an entire race of people instead of facing reality that the system is inherently racist and does not work for everyone. Understand there would be no Al Sharpton if there was no KKK, Woodrow Wilson, David Duke, Jesse Helms and other racists who have put in place a system designed to deter and retard entire groups of people from becoming successful in the country they were born in. If you call yourself a person of color you should be ashamed for not even being educated to such realities.

      • Roger Berwanger

        You are right about the adverse effects of education and the legal system on the upward mobilty of black familes. But the public needs to know WHY? I maintain the system is not as inherently racist as are those who are responsible for the well being of black familes. I believe as behavior of people “improves”, racism will “improve”. The keepers of the system – viz., politicians, lawyers and government officials – do not do as good a job as they should, or could to change the behavior of those they help.

        Has anyone studied the % of community investment in cities that actually reaches the people vs the % that bueaucracy requires to provide help? Bureaucracy has a horrible performance record. It works to serve the lowest common denominator. It ensures mediocrity. If true, what can be done to improve the Benefit/Cost ratio?

        Example: Historically, more money has no positive effect on public education outcomes. Why? Could greater discipline in schools be part of the answer? Behavior is a root cause of racism. Changing it is the challenge. Good education one way.

  • assman35

    The truth is that the only way for blacks to rise up is through painful hard work. And when I say painful and mean really freaking painful. And since they are not willing to do that this problem will not be solved but will only get worse and worse and worse.

    Am I asking black to become supermen. Yep I am. Its hard and brutal but it works. Its how immigrants have risen up. Its the only solution. Blacks don’t want to hear this. Brutal hard work is all that is necessary to solve the problems that blacks face. Never in the history of the world has any race risen up in any other way and no race has been stopped from rising this way EVEN when they faced incredible racism and discrimination.

    Chinese in Malaysia face tremendous discrimination and racism but they are the wealthiest people in Malaysia and own 80% of the wealth.

  • David Diagne

    !Flor de problema.

  • Mark Robb

    What a beautifully written piece , that shines light on what led to the creation and development of conditions central to the underlying dilima that persists today with urban projects and innercity decline. This mess created out of past descisions and policies that were sanctioned and supported by a government in favor of discrimination. Its implication of the need for a policy to rectify the present is clearly the greatest need for conditions to ever change. The brightest light it shines though is through its highlighted attention to the actors whose Federal policy decision was to not only do nothing to advance or improve conditions but in fact to shut down attempts at improvement. Your usage of these identified historically significant individuals and situations is a sad fact in its correctness.

  • mg

    Totally enlightening and fascinating. 99.9% of people have no idea of the history of “ghettos” and rundown areas of towns and cities and the federal government/city government involvement. Not even the people living there know how or what has happened to there part of town. These people and parts of town have been systematically disconnected from the economic ecosystem of society. No wonder they are in the condition they are in. Instead what happens is the victims get blamed for their situation in which they find themselves. Granted personal responsibility is critical but these blacks and other minorities are also fighting institutional racism and relegated to 3rd world living conditions. Ghettos are not organic they’ve been created and perpetuated by a legacy of deep entrenched racism.

  • Richard Urban

    Good article, but the more fundamental problem is the disintegration of the family, which is especially prevalent in inner city black areas. With 85 percent plus of chidren born outside of marriage, this is a breeding ground for chaos. Families with both parents raising children provide a much more stable environment, even in inner city areas.
    What should be emphasized is generational change, i.e, this generation not repeating the mistakes of the past generations. Our organization, http://www.urbanlifetraining.org, encourages youth to show leadership by abstaining from sex before marriage, as well as abstaining from drugs and alcohol.

    • Life training is good and important, but it’s the slum conditions themselves that lead to family disintegration. Imagine what generations of slum conditions do to people, family, hope, and so forth. Young people in such conditions with already broken families will naturally tend to make more trouble and bad decisions. It’s not like “they” are “weak” and “we” are “strong” inherently. If there had been a history of racial segregation and oppression of whites, with whites forced into slums, the same conditions would exist there.

      Did you ever see the movie District 9? It touches on these things from a sci-fi perspective.