Breaking Brown

March 25, 2014

Wait, White People Created the Ghetto, But Blacks Are Supposed to Fix It?

Wait, White People Created the Ghetto, But Blacks Are Supposed to Fix It?


by Yvette Carnell

One of the myths that just won’t d¡e in the black community is the idea that black people are, for the most part, responsible for our economic condition in this country. If you want to see this fairytale play out in real time, then just head over to the comments section here, where many of the commenters are praising Booker T. Washington for his largely conservative economic vision. What is absent from the arguments among those who cheer Washington, and Min Louis Farrakhan for that matter, is the role our own government played in undermining black life and living conditions.

You can pull up your sagging pants if you like, but a black college graduate still won’t earn as much as a white high school graduate over a lifetime. And what’s more, ghettos in America weren’t built by lazy saggy-pants wearing black folk too lazy to work. As Jamelle Bouie points out in The Daily Beast, the creation of urban ghettos was a consequence of policy decisions:

Redlining is the practice of denying key services (like home loans and insurance) or increasing their costs for residents in a defined geographical area. In theory, this could be used against anyone. In reality, it was almost exclusively a tool to force blacks (and other minorities) into particular geographic areas. The practice began with the National Housing Act of 1934, which established the Federal Housing Administration, as well as the Federal Home Loan Bank Board. It was this agency which created “residential security maps” for several cities to determine the safety of real estate investments in selected areas.


You should already see where this is going: Existing black neighborhoods were lined as unsafe, and thus ineligible for financing. For prospective property owner, this was terrible: Absent cash on hand, there was no way to afford a home or a business in your area. What’s more, blacks were all but barred from entering white neighborhoods, if not by restrictive racial covenants (which forbid property sales to African Americans and other minorities) then by violence and intimidation

This is what created ghettos, not black folk refusing to “do for self” or “pull themselves up by the boostraps.” And since U.S. policies created the ghetto, I’ve continually advocated for policy remedies to unmake the ghetto. Somehow, to the ears of Obama fanboys and girls, that’s akin to asking for a handout.

Bouie concludes:

After a half century (or more), it’s not hard to see how we get to here from there: When you prevent a whole class of people from building wealth, accessing capital, or leaving impoverished areas, you guarantee cultural dysfunction and deep, generational poverty. When it comes to inner-city poverty—we built that.

And just so that those who traffic in black respectability politics are clear, when Bouie says “we” he ain’t talkin’ about black folk.




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14 thoughts on “Wait, White People Created the Ghetto, But Blacks Are Supposed to Fix It?

  1. Watchful says:

    Nuthin’ new here, we’ve always been blamed for the condition we find ourselves in, even by many of our own ppl. If anyone has read Sam Yette’s book ‘The Choice’ (a must-read IMO) which was written way back in 1971, u’d see that ain’t a damn thing changed. This is y, while I agree that we should advocate for government policy remedies to our long-standing plight in this country, we also shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for it to somehow materialize. I think empirical evidence has shown us that while many of us may like to believe we’ve made some gains thru the political process, they’ve been nominal at best, and to a larger degree, that same process has ultimately worked against us.

    Should we really expect, after all this time, that the executive and legislative ‘representatives’ in this country truly intend to see that our ppl receive justice? I think not, we have to be realistic about just how much we can achieve thru that process, especially as long as we continue to lack the economic backing to influence those who formulate said policy. Let’s face it, money aka power talks, and u know how the rest of that saying goes.

  2. MsMarietteHill says:

    Ghetto existed in Europe for many, many, many years ago before they came to America….remember the white Irish came here (NY) and were looked down upon as low-lifes here in America….but Blacks are supposed to make them famous???? Naw….Check out your history folks!

  3. Watchful says:


    Yup, along with the so-called jews.

  4. JohnCrane says:

    One word…Detroit. 83% black Detroit

  5. Michaelnurse4900 says:

    Again, this question of restorative justice beacons. There needs to be a fundamental revision of this two tiered system of valuing in America. Why does it always seem like america is driven to win the hearts and minds of foreigners in distant lands, ignoring the carnage, devastation and thirst at home. We all know by now that this is the behaviour of an infidel. One that leaves his own undone to see after another. (Perhaps, America disowns some of its citizens).
    Another distorting and annoying thing is the audacity for some parochially minded individuals to respond to this article with a woefully uninformed attempt at demagoguery. For Pete’s sake; Greece and Rome once ruled the known world. Europeans love to pride themselves, even two thousand years later on the achievements of these great Mediterranean empires. Noting also that the rest of Europe at that time, achieved relatively nothing (being further removed from African influence) but also claim racial pride from same. What of today’s Greece and Italy? A cesspool of economic failure, and bailout/handout seeking caricatures; comparable to any Detroit, Baltimore, Camden, Gary, Newark etc. now that’s the truth and you should know better…smh

  6. Michaelnurse4900 says:

    1 timothy 5:7Prescribe these things as well, so that they may be above reproach. 8But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
    American racist defined….smh

  7. Michaelnurse4900 says:

    These people don’t trust in anything like God, period!

  8. AllenShaw says:

    Well since it is understood that the author does not have any positive feelings for the current President I will submit these few word anyways.
    In 1935 long before President Obama was born I used to visit the “Ghetto” in Cleveland, Ohio. Sometimes in the past I remember someone singing a song “I’m Living In The Ghetto”.
    In those days I always thought that meant where the Black folks lived.
    I have always been aware of the lack of opportunity available to Blacks.  Almost every Black where I lived knew that they had to get into a higher level of education then high school. Also for those high school drop outs, an attempt was made to train them in a vocational skill. Prior to World War II a group of individuals came north and moved into my town. It was not long before they were working in the factories taking jobs that others did not want. Making money because they were willing to work harder. After World War II many Blacks went to college, contrary to what is said today almost all of the people from my home went to college on the G.I. Bill.  In the south, the blacks were not able to take advantage of the courses as much as in the North. There were many graduates from the colleges in the south and those graduates became successful.  Many teachers received their degrees from the southern colleges.
    Something has happened to the drive of many young individuals.  They are not willing to perform any hard labor, looking down their nose as if work is below their dignity. Today, I cannot find a Black carpenter, plumber, roofer, brick layer to perform work for me because the few that are working are overworked.
    Yes, economics (to you the White man) is keeping us in the Ghhetto! Why are we not teaching our young men to do the jobs that make money using their labor? Is it the White Mans fault that no one is learning those labor skills?  If any young man wanted to become successful that is an outlook for them. They could than, if they wish, move out of the “Ghetto”.  Is it really President Obama’s fault? And when did Rev Min Louis Farrakhan become a part of the failure. I was of the opinion that he was a positive voice in the community.
    Have you checked the wages of the skills I mentioned above?

  9. Stickhoss says:

    JohnCrane  Detroit, you ever heard of outsourcing?  Why was Detroit called Motor City or are you one of the new immigrants who want to add his 2 cents and don’t know jack?  Tulsa Ok, Black Wall Street.  Ever heard of it?  Well STFU retard

  10. Stickhoss says:

    AllenShaw  Let me first say I agree with a lot of your points, however I, being a tad bit younger see the problem with our youth a little different. The kids today ASK.  Where did working twice as hard as Whites get you?  They say my brother was the first to graduate high school, but he couldn’t get work. Why would they want to rebuild what the slaves built for no pay, then the sons and daughters of those slaves had to turn around and paid for. Blacks have an abundance of ideas, but no funds and nowhere to get the funds.  if we stop judging one another and stand together, share your ideas and consider other peoples ideas even if they are youngsters.  IJS  We can agree to disagree  but WE should start working together toward a common good for ALL Blacks.  And as far as those skills listed above, have you seen a construction sight lately.  When Caterpillar was outsourced to Mexico, that kind of ended the chances for Blacks in the construction industry.  Yong girls in nursing is next to be replaced by.  Well I think you know what I’m saying.

  11. AllenShaw says:

    Stickhoss AllenShaw 
    First let me ask this question!Why do people think their life is based on any
    comparison between other individuals? A person is born alone; no matter his
    race the individual is on a course that is to his benefit; hardly every does
    the outcome of one individual totally affect the outcome of another!

    In my life, I was taught that no one really cared if I
    succeeded; however on most occasions when I attempted to do what was asked or
    required I was rewarded.
    Life is competitive. In the real world people can starve,
    not have a home and many other bad things can happen to them. No matter how
    many article are written telling young people of their right, the truth is if
    they don’t care and don’t want to compete they will be left behind to do
    There is this belief that Blacks are required to work
    together and if they do not all Blacks will fail.If a person pays any attention to life, they
    will see that each tub has to sit on its own bottom!
    Now you speak of why, (Why would they want to rebuild
    what the slaves built for no pay, then the sons and daughters of those
    slaves had to turn around and paid for.”
    I will remind you that the Civil War has been over for
    149 years. During the period after Civil War until 1964 many Blacks in the south
    lived very successful lives. They were Lawyers, Doctors, Teachers, Druggist and
    the entire construction field, carpenters, brick layers, painters, home builders;
    other fields were available to Blacks in both the north and the south. More
    construction work was available to Blacks in the south then the north.
    Since integration many Blacks moved to the north to work
    in the automobile industry. Everything was working well until the foreign car
    market was introduced into the United States. After that came the depression. Now
    major cities in the north like Detroit are in desperate shape.
    The population of the United States is uneven when it
    comes to the distribution of Blacks:
    3 States have 30 plus per cent Blacks
    5 States have 20 plus per cent Blacks
    5 States have 15 plus per cent Blacks
    8 States have 10 plus per cent Blacks 9 States have 5 plus per cent Blacks
    17 States have 1 plus per cent Blacks
    3 States have -1 plus
    per cent Blacks
    With the exception of the 8 states with 20 plus Blacks
    per state, the population of Blacks becomes insignificant as they are spread
    out over the state or are in one or two large cities.
    If there is any hope for any one individual it is self-determination.
    The opportunity exist to see the unemployment rate of Blacks or to subtract the
    unemployment from 100 to determine the employment rate.
    Unemployment Rate: June 2014: 10.7%
    Table A-2
    Most current Black businesses are individual.Statement like “if only we had the money”
    sound hopeful, if one knows who lends money to an individual who cannot make up
    a business plan and show the lender that there is some positive proof that
    there will be some profit.
    Where are the
    businesses that we will buy from? Saying that we should buy from Blacks sounds
    good if the businesses existed and provide competitive service.
    “We can agree to
    disagree  but WE should start working together toward a common good
    for ALL Blacks”
    Please explain
    what this would be and how you would accomplish it!
    “that kind of ended the
    chances for Blacks in the construction industry.  Yong girls in nursing is
    next to be replaced by”
    I do not believe these statements can be justified
    by facts.

  12. catfishfuku says:

    Im a poor white guy from a very mixed family so call me racist if you will but i know the truth.I mowed lwns for 20 yrs and worked my ass off to provide for me and my family of 5. I do agree racism still exist but these are my observations. They tore down the old projects in my neighborhood and replaced them with nice duplexes about 5 yrs ago 90% black familys.In those 5 yrs it looks like shit drugs on the corner bunch of people sitting around all day doing nothing to improve their community.How is this my fault? In the 20 yrs i worked my ass off 1 countem1black dude applied for a job where i work and he was put to work that day.He worked 3 days and quit and went back to dealing drugs in same neighborhood because he made more money and didnt have to work as hard.He told me this.Seems to me its the culture of entitlement and easy money destroying the black race and not whitey bringing you down.Just my thoughts.

  13. Watchful says:


    Of course, it would ‘seem’ that way to u. There r plenty of so-called ‘poor’ white ppl like u who just can’t seem to bring themselves to see the global system of racism/white supremacy as the prevailing problem that has plagued ppl of color the world over. Not at all surprising to me that u hold that point of view.

  14. Slowpoke96z28 says:

    Anyone can fix it, but the one living there can fix it the fastest…

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