Are we passing the “tipping point” for black habitation in the cities?

By | June 17, 2014

The term “tipping point” used to be synonymous with white flight from the cities. Now that Blacks are being forced from high priced urban neighborhoods, what is the “tipping point” for maintaining the Black urban presence? “How many upscale, mostly white people does it take to make a neighborhood, and ultimately whole cities – like San Francisco – unaffordable and downright hostile to Black habitation?”

Back in the early Sixties, sociologists began to use the term “tipping point” to describe white response to the entrance of Blacks into formerly white neighborhoods. The raw statistics showed clearly that such “tipping points” existed, although sociologists argued about the dynamics of precisely when white exits turned into sudden, wholesale flight. Certainly, real estate agents and developers understood the phenomenon, having set it in motion in city after city in the Forties and Fifties in order to make a killing in the market. So-called “block-busters” played on racist hysteria, buying up white properties at rock bottom and selling them at inflated prices to Blacks desperate to escape densely-packed ghettos.

white flightThe churning of neighborhoods generated billions in profits and changed the face of America in a remarkably short period of time. Ultimately, whites’ refusal to share urban space with Blacks created an American racial and economic geography unique in the world, in which the Black and brown poor resided in hollowed out, shrunken, capital-deprived central cities surrounded by a belt of suburban white wealth – the exact opposite of the historical world model of urban development. (Voice of Detroit)

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