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A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida (Historical Studies of Urban America) Kindle Edition
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I am a Cuban-American resident of Miami, so I don't have too much experience with Black Miamians. Nevertheless, it was very interesting to listen to the history of something that is so close to home, but I had no idea about. Some of the interesting facts that I learned about in the book are as follows:
1- How the "richer" Blacks tended to be as condescending to the "poorer" Blacks as the White Supremacists. This is especially evident with the Black slum lords. Or even with the middle-class Blacks that moved to the suburbs, and then resisted their downwardly-mobile brethren -- from the urban ghettoes -- from later joining them in the suburbs.
2- The connection between education and real-estate in terms of how property taxes influence the achievement level of your local schools.
3- How Martin Luther King failed in many of his battles against Black slum-lords in various cities, all over the country.
4- How segregation was able to morph into the current structure, where you do not have the overt Jim Crow-era redlining. Making it much harder to protest because the segregation is harder to pin down to purely legal regulations.
5- "Housing-integration" equals "Class-segregation". That the "rich Blacks"are as dismissive of the "poor Blacks" as "rich Whites" are.
6- The concern of much of the civil rights movement has been to make life easier for wealthier Blacks, not necessarily to make life easier for poorer Blacks. For example, in Atlanta in the 1980s, a Pulitzer Prize-winning series of articles by Bill Dedman showed that banks would often lend to lower-income whites, but not to middle- or upper-income blacks.
I consider myself to be an FDR Democrat, with the New Deal as the central force that drove the majority of Americans to the wealth that currently possess. However, this book helps to highlight some of the limitations that the New Deal faced when "economics" crossed into the "racial space" in US. You see how the hatred of Black people is the main driving force in how so many White people vote and make their economic decisions (e.g. where they live needs to be as far from Black people as possible). In the Obamacare debates, it was clear that many White people did not want to have a "Medicare-for-all" plan because it would unduly help out so many "lazy" Blacks. This racial Myopia really blinds so many White people to their own class interests.
This topic is something that is so enduring that one really gets tired of reading about racism all the time. However, it really is a driving force in US history all the way through the beginning until today. For example, even redlining officially began under FDR's New Deal with the National Housing Act of 1934, which established the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).
Lastly, this book reminded me how "free Blacks" owned Black slaves in the Old South. Economics sometimes does trump racial politics, but not always.
Since real-estate is so important to our lives, I think that it is important to learn about the racial aspects of real estate in the modern US, as well as in previous times. I still remember how the 2008 crisis was blamed by so many right-wingers on all the Blacks who took out mortgages that they couldn't pay. And the reason for the global recession was because of these "dumb Blacks" who messed things up for everyone. How so many middle-class Whites believed that Wall Street was not really responsible for the crisis shows how important it is for the Corporate elite to fan the flames of racism from time to time. Whenever there is an economic crisis, you can just place the blame on the Black "welfare-queens", and that's all.