This sounds bad, but...

This sounds bad, but hear me out. I recall when there was a topic asking where the worst neighborhoods were. Almost all were black areas.

Why are black areas the crappiest areas of the city. Okay, I understand that they were once “redlined” to live there and poverty may keep them there. But, geez, just because you’re poor doesn’t mean you can’t be clean!

And why are they the most violent areas? It’s hard to blame whitey, since we hardly ever venture into those neighborhoods. Most of the gangfights, drive-bys, robberies, are among themselves.

I know most of the answers may blame white people (or some euphemism) for their plight. Then how come many of the nations in Africa are parallels to the inner cities (violence, poverty, filth, etc)?

Generally, places that are totally run down occur not simply in poor areas, but in the poorest areas of abject poverty. The slums of today (heavily occupied by black people) are not more run down than the slums of 100 years ago (occupied mostly by whites while the blkacks were still eking a living off farms in the South).

The most significant difference that I have seen between places that are run down and dirty and places that are maintained despite general poverty, is ownership. Few people care for that which they do not own. This drove the shanties of 1890’s New York and drives the “projects” in most cities, today.

The comparison to African cities, while not truly valid, does have some interesting similarities. In those nations where the Europeans kept the bureaucracy pretty firmly in the hands of Europeans, there was little “ownership” of the infrastructure and it has fallen to pieces. In countries where the local people had a part in running things while it was a colony or a white-held nation, things have not totally deteriorated. Beyond that, there are far more issues involved in problems in Africa (can you say Cold War pawns?) than can be easily passed off as racial issues. If you look around the world, you will also find that Africa is in no way the only location with problems related to poverty.

Anyone can make facile remarks and draw conclusions on limited examples. For a more realistic understanding, it helps to gather enough information that the conclusions are warranted. (Would you say that it would be valid to draw conclusions about you based on where you live and your apparent educational level, matched against various stereotypes that I’m sure we could dig up?)


In the case of the bad area being where the blacks live, or the blacks living in the worse level, I can say that it is NOT because they are black. It’s because they are dirt poor. The poor are probably more likely to turn to crime. Why? Probably because they’re poor, eh? In a white slum, it would be just as bad. Blame it on poverty, nothing else.


Did you see the Godfather film where the young Godfather and family lived
in the slums? WASP-y New Yorkers were shocked and dismayed by these strange
and dirty people.

Many Americans were horrified by the Irish. “Irish immigrants of the first
generation comprised 34% of all voters in NYC in 1855 yet they added
surprisingly little to American Economic life, and almost nothing to
American intellectual life…” (p. 481 “The Oxford History of the American
People” Morison, Samuel E.)

Boston store fronts had signs, “Irish need not apply” they were dirty,
lazy, shiftless, and any other derogatory thing you could think of…

I’ve heard the argument made (Maybe in Morison.) that prohibition was urged
because half of the salaries (probably the wrong word) of these working men
went to drink. “…Northern cities, full of Irish- German- and
Italian-Americans who were incurably wet.” (Morison p. 901)

Getting out of places like that, well, it is more than just a step up. But it is happening all the time.

Oh, I’m gonna keep using these #%@&* codes 'til I get 'em right.

You want to talk about slums? Take a look at Victorian London. Makes today’s ghettos look good.

And not a black in the bunch.

It’s about abject poverty and alienation from mainstream society.

Race has zero to do with it.