Of the two rivers that cup our nation’s capital — the Potomac and the Anacostia — the latter of the two is, perhaps, the most apt reflection of where America is at socio-economically. The Anacostia River, the Anglicized namesake of which was first officially recorded by Thomas Jefferson and referred to the Nacochtank Native American tribe dwelling east of the river, is just down the hill from my Anacostia house and reflects well what divides our nation’s capital and ultimately, America.
A quick dig into the District’s demographics and it is painfully apparent: a growing white majority living west of the river, encroaching east, and a predominantly African-American majority living east of the river. There is no question that we are a deeply and demographically divided city. As I take Metro’s green line home to Anacostia after work, I am frequently the only white person on the train. Any remaining white folks on the green line generally disembark at Navy Yard, the last stop before crossing east of the Anacostia River.
As it happens in D.C., so too does it happen in America. This year researchers at Dartmouth, the University of Georgia, and the University of Washington looked at Census neighborhood data to compare trends in racial diversity and found that highly diverse neighborhoods are actually rare; African-Americans remain concentrated in segregated neighborhoods and newly-arrived immigrants continue to settle in concentrated racial residential patterns. (Huffington Post)