Friday, April 12, 2013

If Only...

America has lived for decades with this myth that mixing races lowers property values. In fact, the opposite may be true. Some studies from the 1970's showed that mixed-race neighborhoods, if they could stabilize, held their property values better than homogeneous ones. If anyone can live in a particular neighborhood, then it has a larger customer base. On top of which, quality mixed-race housing is an incredibly scarce resource. When demand is greater than supply, prices go up....

Capitalism: it actually works sometimes. If only America would let it.


To sift through the census data for (Kansas City, MO's) 49/63 and ask "Is the neighborhood integrated?" is to pose the wrong question. The only question you can ask is "Who in the neighborhood has integrated?"...It's entirely possible that 49/63 will gentrify, drive out older residents, and lose all its character. It could also backslide into urban decay, sending families with children out the door. The relationships in the neighborhood will decide. "True integration," as Martin Luther King said, "will be achieved by true neighbors who are willingly obedient to unenforceable obligations."

If you turn on your television these days, you hear a lot of old white people talking about this "real America," some apple-pie, Bedford Falls, Walt Disneyfied idea of a simpler country, a "time of innocence" that we've lost. They're right. It's gone. We destroyed it so we wouldn't have to share it with black people. We gave up real neighborhoods so we could pay more to have "protection" inside the regional profit silos of HomeServices of America. We gutted (Kansas City's) Blue Hills, and now you have to go to Orlando to get it back. Only that's the big lie at the heart of the J.C. Nichols dream. Desirable associations aren't something you can buy. They're something you have to make.

There's only one way America's neighborhoods will begin to integrate: people have to want it more than vested public and corporate interests are opposed to it. And more people should want it. Mixed-race, mixed-income housing is a product we need on the market. 

-Tanner Colby, Some Of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration In America

Update, 11:06 AM: A blast from the past: "There's a beautiful British word for this: they call it 'gentrification.'"

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Denial & Revisionism

These days, education in Louisiana is not only plagued by the current ease with which the law enables any public school to slip some non-scientific creationism in with its science courses, there is now a possibility that history itself may be challenged by a nifty bit of revisionism embedded in HB-660, as Lamar says:

Not content to let House Republicans monopolize unconstitutional legislation, Louisiana State Representative Katrina Jackson (D-Monroe) recently filed HB 660, which she’d like to be known as “The Parental Choice Historical Prayer and Pledge Act.”

A. The State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, or “state board”, shall establish a policy and develop procedures to allow public school students to participate in the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer and the “Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag” at the commencement of each school day. Such policy and procedures shall include but not be limited to provisions for the following:
(1) Student participation in the recitation of the prayer and pledge shall be voluntary.
(2) Students shall be reminded that the Lord’s Prayer is the prayer that the pilgrim fathers recited when they came to America in search for freedom.
(3) Students shall be informed that these exercises are not meant to influence an individual’s personal religious beliefs in any manner.
(4) The recitations shall be conducted so that students learn of America’s great freedoms, including the freedom of religion symbolized by the recitation of the Lord’s Prayer.
B. The state board shall develop a program of instruction for public schools with regard to the pilgrim fathers.
"Revisionism" is the nicer term for what Representative Jackson is proposing. Much of what is in HB-660 is an outright denial of what those "pilgrim fathers" had in mind for this country, which didn't include separating church and state at all. In fact, the history of religious tolerance in this country is a far messier business than most people like Ms. Jackson and others around the country who have introduced similarly-worded bills in their states would have us believe. As this Smithsonian article says of those pilgrims:
The much-ballyhooed arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans in New England in the early 1600s was indeed a response to persecution that these religious dissenters had experienced in England. But the Puritan fathers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony did not countenance tolerance of opposing religious views. Their “city upon a hill” was a theocracy that brooked no dissent, religious or political. 
The most famous dissidents within the Puritan community, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, were banished following disagreements over theology and policy. From Puritan Boston’s earliest days, Catholics (“Papists”) were anathema and were banned from the colonies, along with other non-Puritans. Four Quakers were hanged in Boston between 1659 and 1661 for persistently returning to the city to stand up for their beliefs.
In a state that, last time I looked, still has a significant number of Catholics in it, I don't think many of them look to the pilgrims as practitioners of freedom of religion.

Also, to get a much larger, more frightening view of what outright, downright insanely stupid denial is, I direct you to Exhibit A. There's a reason why I and my fellow Jews are taught never to forget about the Shoah - remembering the truth of such horrible times is a great tool for helping see the truths about proposed blatant violations of the U.S. Constitution as outlined in bills like HB-660.

The truth about this bill? It's based on lies.