Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Kujichagulia on Gentrification

Gentrification and “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”
by Kujichagulia


In 1963, former governor of Alabama, George Wallace, delivered his infamous inauguration speech declaring, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” Fast forward more than half a century later. America boasts of being a post-racial society, yet segregation remains an American epidemic. From colonization to plantations, reservations, ghettos, border patrols, and gated communities of insecurity forever whistling Dixie and protecting the Confederacy, America is determined to go down singing, “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”

Although the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 prohibited segregation, mere legislation cannot regulate bigotry, ignorance, hatred, fear, or inhumanity. Instead of achieving desegregation, thus began half a century of “White flight” from major cities across the country to newly established suburbs where housing, education, liberty and justice were denied to all Melanites (non-Whites). The Kerner Commission Report of 1968 addressed the practice and politics of White flight stating “America’s social norm of segregation and exclusion leads to one obvious conclusion – “Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black, one white - separate and unequal.”

In spite of an exodus from the cities in search of nuevo-segregation elsewhere, myopic dreams of perpetual privilege gave way to the stark realization that white-flight did not improve the quality of white life. Although white-flighters were able to avoid being neighbors to any Melanites, they couldn’t avoid the two- to five-hour segregated commutes that dominated their morning and evening routines from white-washed suburbia to the chocolate/brown cities they abandoned in favor of sustaining segregation and tolerating racism from the sidelines. Once antebellum dreams of racially-sanitized suburbs morphed into daily nightmares of refilling gas tanks for bumper-to-bumper commutes with intoxicating vehicle exhaust, crowded carpools, expensive toll booths, and random acts of road rage, white-flight shifted into reverse.

     The solution – gentrification! Based on the rules of segregation, gentrification displaces Melanite (non-White) families from their homes, communities, and cities so that the gentry (wealthy White class) can relocate back into the cities. As a result, foreclosures, redlining, escalating prices, and exorbitant rents force many Black and Hispanic people/families out of Oakland, as well as many metropolitan cities nationally. Rising property taxes are pricing long-established families out of their homes. Caucasians are consistently awarded with homes and home loans, while Blacks and Hispanics are routinely denied homes and home loans. Likewise, Blacks and Hispanics are generally denied home improvement loans. Moreover, Blacks and Hispanics are often charged exorbitant interest rates on the home loans eventually attained. The result … more segregation.

In February of 2016, the document, ECONOMIC EQUITY: LOCKED OUT OF THE MARKET / POOR ACCESS TO HOME LOANS FOR CALIFORNIANS OF COLOR, revealed an unwavering commitment to segregation and racism in the 21st century. According to journalist, Rob Wile, “The study, co-produced by the Greenlining Institute and Urban Strategies Council, found that in 2013, the top-twelve lenders helped African American borrowers purchase a mere four homes in Oakland, while Hispanic borrowers received just seven  home purchase loans.” The Rob Wile article, Another mortgage lender just settled charges that it discriminated against blacks and Hispanics for years (http://fusion.net/story/141197/another-mortgage-lender-just-settled-charges-that-it-discriminated-against-blacks-and-hispanics-for-years/), documented, “San Bruno, Calif.-based Provident Funding Associates is accused of charging 14,000 minority borrowers interest rates and broker fees that were on average hundreds of dollars, and at times thousands, higher than what white borrowers paid. The practice started as early as 2006 and lasted through at least 2011, according to the Justice Department’s complaint.” Yet it is what it is; it's business as usual; life goes on, et cetera. While gentrification guarantees increased segregation under the guise of urban improvement; it's merely business as usual. It's the same ole progressive racism that patriotically fulfills America's prophecy of “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!”

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