Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ferguson Missouri- Face of a Nation Where Poverty Has Moved to the Suburbs

Fegruson Missouri, where the police killing of an unarmed young Black man, Mike Brown, sparked rioting yesterday, represents the demographic contours of a society changed by gentrification and demographic inversion.. There are now more poor people living in suburbs than there are in inner city neighborhoods. In New York, the most famous historically Black neighborhoods, Harlem and Bedford Stuyvestant, have experienced an enormous white, and middle class influx, and can no longer be deemed "hypersegregated" That label would be more accurately applied to two suburban neighborhoods- Hempstead and Mount Vernon. I suspect the same dynamic can be found Chicago, Washington DC, and several other large US cities.

This means that civil unrest, in response to racial and class marginalization, should it take place--- and there ample reasons to think it might-- is far less likely to take place in center cities than it did in the 1960's or even in the 1990's. It is also less likely to threaten powerful institutions.

We are only beginning to understand the apparatus of containment and control-including zero tolerance policing and a huge prison industrial complex-developed to cope with higher levels of poverty in this country than most other advanced societies. But one thing is for sure- population distribution by race and class look very different than they did in the 1960's. Cities are increasingly sites of investment and residence for the Global rich- poor people and people of color are now mostly living in the suburbs


Ebony Murphy-Root said...

This is important because too often I see areas populated by mostly black folks described as 'urban' when similar communities populated with white folks are not. I was super annoyed this spring when I spoke on an ed panel at Central Connecticut with Jeffrey Villar, former superintendent of Windsor CT schools and now executive director of the deformy The Connecticut Council for Education Reform described a local majority black town here in CT, Bloomfield, as 'urban' and described it as similar to communities like New Haven and Hartford when clearly in terms of household income, educational levels and numerical population it is not.

Just because black folks make up the majority of a town doesn't make it 'urban'.

Adrew Miller said...

probably I think face of nation is too important then poverty, so keep continue way we would like to follow more instruments.
Thank you
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Jeffrey Villar said...

Setting the record straight, during my term as Superintendent of Windsor, I raised the issue that Windsor was an affluent suburban community that did not fit the narrative that has been traditionally used to explain the under performance of Black, African-American, and Latino children. I in fact took a significant amount of heat for suggesting that there was something else driving the underperformance of these groups of children. There is plenty of documentation of these struggles in the Hartford Courant. I feel very passionate about this issue and I am sorry that I some how failed to communicate this to Ms. Murphy-Root during the Central Connecticut event.

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hotmail said...

A nice post, and yes it is. I often find that people who are upset are suffering themselves, and lashing out is a way to make themselves feel better. Sometimes you have to let things get thrown out - not always easy, but better in the long run for your sake. x
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