Race and class in America: There is NOT a shared experience | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Race and class in America: There is NOT a shared experience

Posted By on Thu, Jan 2, 2014 at 6:54 AM

Wonkblog is a regular source of fresh ways of looking at big political themes of the day.

Lately, it has been soliciting from big thinkers their nominations for the best graphs of the year — stories told in stark statistical terms.

This nomination is from The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates, a favorite of mine to begin with.

It takes exception to the growing popular notion that class more than race is an impediment to mobility in post-racial America. Coates responds with a graph by Patrick Sharkey, who wrote "Stuck in Place."

This is wrong. And Sharkey's chart is just one reason why. Basically it shows that huge swaths of black people live in neighborhoods with poverty levels that virtually no whites ever experience. And this finding has been consistent across post-Civil Rights history.

If you look at the chart, in the first generation, 62 percent of black people but only 4 percent of white people lived in neighborhoods where 20 percent or more of the people were poor. The numbers aren't much different in the second generation. And in both generations, only a third of black people live in neighborhoods with under 30 percent neighborhood poverty. Only 1 percent of all white Americans lived that way.

So, even those black people who make the middle class are not the same as white people of the middle class.

Black people — regardless of class — live around way more poverty than even poor white people. Incidentally, this is also the reason one should be very skeptical when people say things like "controlling for income" or "controlling for class." For black people, class is racism. We should not be shocked by this. We've had some 350 years worth of policy with that exact goal. America is working as intended.

Little Rock has provided and continues to provide examples of the phenomenon. Right now, the Waltons are bankrolling an effort to build a "charter school" — essentially a publicly financed academy for a select, predominantly white neighborhood. Some people of color will make it into the school's classes if it is created. But the vast tough neighborhoods of Little Rock where the poor people, mostly black, live and who don't have the means of transportation to this enclave, won't be present in numbers consistent with other truly public schools They'll be even less likely to enjoy the proven educational benefits that come from exposing poor children to middle class children. Inevitably, this class division will reflect the racial divide that Coates sees. Which is the point. The Waltons are building a school expressly meant to keep children from a good neighborhood out of other public schools whose student bodies are primarily composed of students from the poor parts of town.  That they happen to be overwhelmingly black is simply fact.

Tags:

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • North Little Rock mayor shows downtown plaza plan

    North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith is presenting a plan to the City Council tonight for a downtown plaza meant to augment planned private developments and further enhanced downtown as a destination.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Attorney general asks for continued secrecy on execution drugs

    As expected, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has asked the Arknasas Supreme Court for an "emergency stay" of a lower court ruling that the Correction Department must produce labels from one of the drugs used in executions.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • Groups seek end to commercial collection of wild turtles

    Several environmental organizations to end commercial turtle collection in Arkansas.The harvests (more than 126,000 turtles from 2014 to 2016) are not sustainable and that, in turn, is damaging to ecosystems, the groups said.
    • Sep 25, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Charter school accountability: Non-existent in Arkansas

    A state audit finds charter school spending violated state law, but the state Education Department says it has no responsibility for ensuring proper management of charter schools. Say what?
    • Mar 5, 2016
  • Campus gun bill clears committee

    The so-called compromise amendment that will allow anyone 25 or older with a training certificate carry a concealed weapon on public college campuses was approved in a Senate committee this afternoon.
    • Feb 21, 2017
  • Policy group urges opposition to new charter seats in Little Rock

    The Arkansas Public Policy Panel is urging supporters of the Little Rock School District to tell state Board of Education members they oppose applications to be heard this week to dramatically expand the number of charter school seats in the Little Rock School District.
    • Mar 9, 2016

Most Shared

  • Bad health care bill, again

    Wait! Postpone tax reform and everything else for a while longer because the Senate is going to try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act one more time before September ends and while it can do it with the votes of only 50 senators.
  • Sex on campus

    Look, the Great Campus Rape Crisis was mainly hype all along. What Vice President Joe Biden described as an epidemic of sexual violence sweeping American college campuses in 2011 was vastly overstated.
  • The inadequate legacy of Brown

    LRSD continues to abdicate its responsibility to educate poor black students.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation