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John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE GUARDIAN

 

Well if true – and that’s a big “if” because measuring such things accurately is not easy – it would not surprise me.

In much of America this is very true despite the end of all formal segregation many years ago. It has been replaced by informal or voluntary segregation.

There are many reasons for this, and people should avoid jumping immediately to saying “racism.”

First, blacks tend to be, on average, less economically successful for whatever reasons, so there are differences in worth or wealth. More well off people always live in different places than less well off.

Second, it is an easily observed fact that people of one type or another tend to show a preference for having people of their own kind as neighbors. This is just as true of blacks as it is for whites. And, of course, it explains phenomena like China Town or Korea Town or Spanish Harlem or many other such concentrations.

Three, all the stats from places as diverse as the United States, South Africa, Jamaica, and other places say that places with large concentrations of black people tend to suffer more crime. That’s not an opinion, it’s just what the stats say, millions of them.

In America, for example, cities or states or regions with high black population concentrations – Detroit, Washington, Atlanta, New Orleans, and increasingly, Chicago – there is a much higher incidence of crime, especially violent crime.

In a state like Maine with few blacks, crime rates are comparable to those in Canada. That is a major reason why whites often flee to new locations as the population in an area changes noticeably. It’s called “white flight.”

White flight also happens out of parents’ concern for children in changing schools, concern both over violence and a sense of declining achievement in the schools.

These are very hard facts, but they are facts and society cannot pretend to deal with a situation unless it starts with facts.

Prejudice owing just to skin color is much less common than many people imagine. We see this in the United States, which, despite its history and despite its voluntary segregation, has twice elected a black man as president.

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