One of the great contributions of Arnold Hirsch's Making The Second Ghetto is the conception of racism not as deviancy, moral degeneracy, or stupidity, but as a political ideology whose employers' tactics differ according to class, but whose goals remain the same.The Language of Segregation Under Social Sanction
The goal of post-war white Chicago was to keep African Americans sealed in the ghetto. Working-class and ethnic whites worked toward this goal through what Hirsch calls "communal violence," which is to say entire communities angling toward terrrorism:
Continuing from our conversation around housing segregation and the language employed by those with power I think it's worth thinking some about the text of this petition:Levittown is the most famous of the post-WWII suburbs, which contends with it's own legacy of bias.
"As moral, religious and law-abiding citizens, we feel that we are unprejudiced and undiscriminating in our wish to keep our community a closed community ... to protect our own."
The petition was put out in 1957, as Levittown sought to stave off integration. What's important to note is that we are well into post-war America and there is some social sanction emerging against prejudice and discrimination. What the petition does is effectively endorse prejudice and discrimination while claiming not to.
''It's symbolic of segregation in America,'' he said. ''That's the legacy of Levittown."Coates, again: The Ghetto, Public Policy, and the Jewish Exception
The other day I wrote about differences in how two sectors of Chicago's white community responded to the prospect of integration. I contrasted the response of Chicago's upper-class whites with its working class white ethnics. I am coming to hate all of these terms for their lack of precision. Chicago's white Jewish community demonstrates the problem. When I was researching my article on Detroit, African Americans generally told me that it was usually in the Jewish communities where desegregation began. Jews proved much more open to renting or selling to black families than other whites. I won't go so far as to say that there were no Jewish race riots in the mid-20th century, but I haven't read about a single one.James Baldwin wrote in 1948: From the American Scene: The Harlem Ghetto: Winter 1948
But the most affecting aspect of the book is the demonstration of the ghetto not as a product of a violent music, super-predators, or declining respect for marriage, but of policy and power. In Chicago, the ghetto was intentional. Black people were pariahs whom no one wanted to live around. The FHA turned that prejudice into full-blown racism by refusing to insure loans taken out by people who live near blacks.A History of Liberal White Racism, Cont.
Contract-sellers reacted to this policy and "sold" homes to black people desperate for housing at four to five times its value. I say "sold" because the contract-seller kept the deed, while the "buyer" remained responsible for any repairs to the home.
There is some sense that when we talk about the period leading up to the New Deal and beyond, that we are talking about progressives in the North making a tragic, yet necessary, bargain with white racists conservatives in the South. In fact what Ira Katznelson shows in Fear Itself is something a little more complicated. The white supremacists in his book are, indeed, for the most part, Southern. But they also are very much married to to the prospect of progressive liberal reform. It may break our brains a bit to imagine, say, a Southern white supremacist backing railroad unions. But that's actual history.The Ghetto Is Public Policy - "The wealth gap is not a mistake. It is the logical outcome of policy and democratic will." and from a comment: I'd think about it like this: in Chicago at the time, there were two fundamental housing markets: one for whites, and one for blacks.
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