Friday :: Aug 19, 2005

Nowhere To Run


by pessimist

I had an idea occur to me yesterday, and in researching it, I found more than enough material to support the contention. But yet, I had the feeling that something was missing. As it turns out, something WAS missing, and I was far from the first to discover this phenomenon.

As luck would have it, someone who noticed this actually took the time not only to name this phenomenon, but to describe both how they derived its existance and how they define it: the ghost in the news.

In my case, I began by looking at what I think it is that appeals so to our typical Red Stater and how the GOP feeds that condition. What I found clearly demonstrated to me that, while the GOP may not actively promote the condition, they are certainly willing to take advantage of it - and are losing in the process; only their clientele is too busy being afraid to notice.

What is this 'ghost in the news' that I'm looking at? It ain't Casper! Casper would be welcome, because Casper is white. If Casper was any other color, ...

The 'ghost in the news' is the role White Flight played into the rise to dominance of the Republican Party.

Allow me to state clearly: the GOP didn't cause this connection, but it IS clear that they are more than willing to take advantage of it. In fact, they are even willing to take advantage of the naivite of those against whom they have focused their efforts toward dominance by aiming the attentions of this second group against yet a third.

The sad part is that this has proven so easy.

White Flight is "a colloquial term for the demographic trend of upper and middle class White people moving away from (predominantly non-white) inner cities, finding new homes in nearby suburbs or even moving to new locales entirely, e.g. from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt."

The reason so often given for this is that "many whites left core cities because they believed that suburban communities, with their new housing stock, roads and schools, were more desirable places to live than the inner cities" - which quickly translates into "whites with the means to leave did so ... to escape the increasing crime and racial tension in inner cities."

Many whites once lived in urban neighborhoods in Los Angeles before departing the city in large numbers after the 1965 Watts Riots (a trend that actually began before the riots but accelerated after them). The major 12th Street Riot in Detroit in 1967 and during the following year, after the assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., contributed to white flight in that city. Now, the city of Detroit is over 80% black whereas a majority of its neighboring suburbs, such as Livonia, Dearborn, and Warren, are overwhelmingly white. Similarly, after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, large numbers of white Californians left Southern California or left the state entirely.

The phenomenon has affected not only the central city basin, but also the suburban regions of the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California, where many working-class Hispanics and lower to upper middle class Asian Americans have moved during much of the 1980s and 1990s. Some of the people leaving Los Angeles have moved to other states. Many of these ex-Californians ended up settling in the Rocky Mountain States of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho and Nevada.

I can personally attest to this. In the neighborhood where I reside, large numbers of my white neighbors moved away to places like Nebraska and these other states just cited within a few years of the LA riots, leaving in their wake a neighborhood filled with Hispanics, by 1995. Today, the vast majority of my neighbors, 70% of my town's population, are Hispanic.

But the next sentence really resonated with me:

As these people have tended to be politically conservative, their departure from the state has helped to transform California into a stronghold of the Democratic Party, while making their new home states even more favorable to the Republicans.

And here was the ghost, exposing itself for me to see. Here was the key to the reason Red Staters are so willfully blind to the crimes of Bu$hCo - they are being protected from having to interact with that racial 'Other'. They can flee any contact with that 'Other', and the authorities will - under the guise of 'law and order' - see to it that undesirables are 'kept in their place'. In an article that covers a very similar situation in Israel, I found this telling tidbit:

Prejudice is based upon fear, and an "us" versus "them" mentality. We have experience with such laws in the United States, during the Jim Crow era and when segregation was the law of the land. Race mixing { miscegnation it was called here } was frowned upon. And in fact, many states had laws banning marriages between blacks and whites.

'Us' v. 'Them' - and 'us' is so afraid of 'them' that 'us' will run away any time 'them' gets too close - even to the ends of the Earth. What is left behind is a forest of enpty shells:


Shrinking Detroit has 12,000 abandoned homes

There are more than 12,000 abandoned homes in the Detroit area, a byproduct of decades of layoffs at the city's auto plants and white flight to the suburbs. And despite scores of attempts by government and civic leaders to set the city straight, the automobile capitol of the world seems trapped in a vicious cycle of urban decay.

Detroit has lost more than half its population since its heyday in the 1950's.The people who remain are mostly black -- 83 percent -- and mostly working class, with 30 percent of the population living below the poverty line according to the US Census Bureau. "Detroit has become an icon of what's considered urban decline," said June Thomas, a professor of urban and regional planning at Michigan State University.

Even the dead get no rest when the non-whites 'infest':

Perhaps the biggest challenge to luring the middle class from the area's swank suburbs is overcoming racial tensions, said Stephen Vogel, dean of the school of architecture at University of Detroit Mercy. "Suburbanites are taking the bodies of their relatives out of cemeteries because they're afraid to come to the city," Vogel said. "There are about 400 to 500 hundred (being moved) a year which shows you the depth of racism and fear."

Detroit is still losing about 10,000 people every year.


Harry Shiovitz visits his old house at 1956 Elmhurst. He moved his family out in the 1950s as the street’s racial makeup changed.
David Coates / The Detroit News

One poster at a Dallas website had this to say about his hometown, and in the process, pointed to a long series of articles about Detroit's experiences with White Flight:


Oak Cliff - White Flight

I grew up in New Jersey, and there are quite a few cities up there that where affected by white flight, especially Newark, and East Orange, where I used to live. The phenomenon started during the fifties, and continued on, especially after the Newark riots, which drove many more whites out of Newark, and eventually East Orange.

East Orange used to be a nice city and it had a sizable white population. But during the 50-70's is when things began to change, and East Orange is for all intents and purposes a slum, with many abandoned/burned out apartments and houses to choose from.

For anyone interested in the white flight phenomenon, check out this article on Detroit, probably the best example of urban decay around.
Good article, pretty long and depressing though, so keep the Zoloft with easy reach.

I looked at this link, and the poster isn't kidding about good, long - and depressing.

There are other examples of neighborhoods declining because the whites got afraid and ran away - and one offers insight to the situation that the GOP takes advantage of - and why they can:


White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism

During the civil rights era, Atlanta thought of itself as "The City Too Busy to Hate," a rare place in the South where the races lived and thrived together. Over the course of the 1960s and 1970s, however, so many whites fled the city for the suburbs that Atlanta earned a new nickname: "The City Too Busy Moving to Hate."
Segregationist resistance, which failed to stop the civil rights movement, nevertheless managed to preserve the world of segregation and even perfect it in subtler and stronger forms.
The conventional wisdom [is] that white flight meant nothing more than a literal movement of whites to the suburbs, ... that it represented a more important transformation in the political ideology of those involved. ... Traditional elements of modern conservatism, such as hostility to the federal government and faith in free enterprise, underwent important transformations during the postwar struggle over segregation. Likewise, white resistance gave birth to several new conservative causes, like the tax revolt, tuition vouchers, and privatization of public services.

These issues represent the tangible means by which whites can separate themselves from the non-white 'Other'. Taxes are seen as the means by which these non-white groups maintain their grip in our society, a grip which is seen as very undesirable. When I still lived in Chicago, large numbers of city jobs went to non-whites after the death of Richard J. Daley - and their version of White Flight began.

But the biggest single motivator of White Flight wasn't welfare or geovernment jobs going to non-whites. It was fear that one's daughter would meet one in school:

Starting in the 1950s, many people living in New Orleans began moving to the suburbs – mostly white people. Research suggests that the reasons for this are many, and unfortunately, they are mostly based in racism. Many whites moved after desegregation to ensure that their children would not have to go to school with African Americans.

Chicago, like New Orleans, has this fear:


‘White Flight’ Taking Off

Trends identified by the Reporter, based on data collected by the national marketing company Claritas Inc., offer a glimpse of what the Chicago area may look like when the next census is released.
They also reflect what Chicago’s neighborhoods experienced long ago: When blacks move in, whites move out.
"People don’t like blacks — plain and simple," said Paul Kleppner, director of Northern Illinois University’s Office for Social Policy Research. "People talk about declining property values, and I don’t doubt some are honestly concerned. But overall, that’s a smoke screen."

"Folks move out here to get away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago and the northwest suburbs," said Robert M. Martens, village president of Spring Grove in McHenry County. The village’s own 1996 census showed its population nearly tripled since 1990, but the town remains more than 90 percent white. "I think people come looking for an opportunity to know their neighbors and be involved in the schools and church," he said.

Here is another clue to the proposition. It raises the question 'Is it possible to know your neighbors, and to be involved with your church and your schools, even if your neighbors aren't white?'

One does have to wonder if, for most whites, that answer isn't 'NO!' - especially when 'they' become the political majority, as is becoming the case in Cincinnati:


White flight tipping balance
Blacks now account for 43% of city

Cincinnati's population is tipping; with 45,000 fewer whites living in the city, African-Americans and other nonwhites are close to becoming the majority populace, Census statistics show. The latest figures show that 142,176 African-Americans — or 43 percent of the city's residents — now call Cincinnati home, compared with 175,492 whites ( or 52 percent of the population). “When we talked about our impact in politics in Cincinnati, we used 40 percent,” said Norma Holt Davis, president of the Cincinnati branch of the NAACP. “This means we, as a group, can use our willpower.”

And that idea scares the bejebus out of the typical White Flighter!

Ms. Davis said the numbers mean blacks will be able to create voting blocs that will have a greater effect on elections. “It matters in the mayor's race, it matters in council races, it matters in city issues,” Ms. Davis said.

Mayor Charlie Luken agreed, saying the population shift has made race a more important factor in city elections. “It is clear that the success that African-Americans have had in getting elected to council in the 1990s is much better.” he said.

Oh, Jeez! Edit'! Pack the bags, theah! We're MOVIN'!

The article presents a clear example of the white reaction to the impending loss of political dominance:

In 1999, the black vote wasn't enough to defeat changes to Cincinnati's political structure. Black wards opposed nearly 2-to-1 the independent election of a strong mayor. The charter change passed handily with strongest support from the city's mostly white, Republican wards.

When one is faced with losing power through the traditional democratic means, one turns to the autocratic instead.

This is the basic mechanism that the GOP is exploiting - we are afraid, and we will turn over more power to you so that you will protect 'us' from 'them' - and there are those who are ready to profit from this fear:


The history of Indianapolis: The Great White Flight of 1967

This guy I ran into told an interesting story. Some relatives of his became wealthy by investing in real estate on the Northside of Indianapolis during the 1960s, '70s and '80s, by being one of very few people savvy enough to anticipate that white people would keep fleeing to northern Marion County.

His relatives weren't racists per se, this guy said, but they definitely understood the bigger picture of what was going on.

"I get it," I said. "They liked to keep up with the racist news. They knew about the trends in the racist community. Kept up with it, like the stock market or a sport."

"Yep," he said.

I grew up around some of those kinds of people in Indianapolis, too. They weren't outwardly racist -- or didn't think they were, at least, and it's not for me to judge. However, these people could tell you who was winning the ongoing cold war of the races at any given time.

Now, it's the southern townships of Marion County, where I grew up, that have a population of 90 percent white or more to this day. The neighborhood they live in was all apple orchards and farmland until developers came in, divided up the land and began building nice homes for white people to buy.

We are afraid of 'them' in our schools, so we will educate our children at home:


‘White Flight’ Declared Illegal in Texas School District

In Texas, it’s illegal for white parents to disregard arbitrary notions of skin color diversity and send their kids to better schools. [subliminal message: Homeschool your kids!]

Apparently the Hearne Independent School District in Texas is predominantly black, and white parents were transferring their kids to the Mumford Independent School District, apparently predominantly white. Few people want to be honest about the reasons behind the skills gap between white and black students and why skin color preferences make the situation worse for blacks in the long run. [subliminal message: Homeschool your kids!]

Start with the predominantly black, heavily-funded government school system in our nation’s capital. [subliminal message: Homeschool your kids!]

The fear this frightful person is expressing is in reaction to this:


'White flight' from Hearne ruled illegal

Hundreds of students who have transferred from Hearne to the Mumford Independent School District will have to go home to reverse an illegal "white flight" trend that has segregated the districts, according to a ruling delivered out of a federal court in Tyler last week.

In the 110-page document, Senior U.S. District Court Judge William Wayne Justice described Mumford as maintaining a "pattern of fraudulent conduct" in past years as it solicited transfers from Hearne, increasing its enrollment of white students over a 10-year period by 3,540 percent.

"Hearne parents started transferring their children in earnest around 1991 or 1992," Justice wrote.

"Even Hearne school board members transferred their children out of [formerly all black] Blackshear [Elementary School].
"As the leaders of Hearne, these members' decisions to transfer their children raised serious questions in the community about their school district and exacerbated the transfer problem for Hearne."

The judgment also states that Mumford has only solicited the highest achieving students, leaving a void in Hearne when it comes to ranking against other districts with test scores. And because activities in small towns often revolve around their schools, the segregation also has added to the overall racial division in Hearne, the judge noted.

As a result, he wrote, Hearne now is perceived as a black school district, creating negative and unsubstantiated stereotypes concerning the safety of students. "All the Hearne educators clearly explained that this makes it harder for Hearne to attract new students because parents hear about Hearne's reputation and are aware of the large numbers of transfers leaving," he said.

Some point to the landmark Brown v. Board of Education as being a cause of this very situation:


Resegregation, reverse discrimination, busing, and white flight: What happened after Brown?

Elizabeth Eckford would seem to be a likely champion of Brown v. Board of Education. Back in 1957, she was one of nine African-American students to enter the previously all-white Central High School in Little Rock, Ark. Yet when asked 40 years later whether she felt good about what she had done, she replied, "Absolutely not."

African-Americans have not been alone in pondering that question. Hispanic political activists and "angry white males," scholars and policy wonks, litigators and sitting judges--Americans of all hues and ideological stripes have weighed in.

But did Brown and subsequent desegregation decisions drive white flight, hasten urban decline, turn working whites against liberalism, and give rise to new forms of school segregation?

Seismic shifts were underway in the 1940s, as blacks came north for factory jobs, and black neighborhoods began to swell and press upon the borders of traditionally white neighborhoods. Losing confidence in the ability of urban - and mainly Democratic - political machines to "protect" them, and already bothered by the presence of blacks in the workplace, whites began their flight to the suburbs. Doing so, they were aided by federal loan programs that, as Thomas Sugrue, a University of Pennsylvania historian, says in The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit, "effectively mandated racial separation by saying mixed neighborhoods were actuarial risks."

This loss of confidence in the Democrats, combined with inate racism spawned in part by economic and social tensions, was - and still is - being exploited by the Republican party, and is the means of their continued political dominance of this nation:

Working-class whites, in cities and elsewhere, were ... thinking that American elites - particularly those in the Democratic Party - had fingered them to bear the brunt of desegregation. Little wonder blue-collar whites grew disillusioned with liberalism, says Kenneth Durr, author of Behind the Backlash: White Working-Class Politics in Baltimore.

As he explains, Brown, civil rights legislation, and Lyndon Johnson's Great Society programs (including affirmative action) convinced many working-class people that the Democratic Party they associated with the New Deal - a broad coalition based largely on shared economic interests - was letting them down. "By deciding to address inequality interest group by interest group, we spawned identity politics," he says. And that, in turn, "led to the fragmentation of American society along identity lines."

Republican strategists and politicians seized the opportunity, proclaiming themselves the new populists and denouncing busing and other forms of liberal social engineering as hurtful to "the working man." In response, "angry white males" began to abandon their old party loyalties and shift toward the GOP.

Let's pause for a moment and look at what has happened since the GOP gained the loyalty of 'the working man' - the best paying manufacturing jobs are going away, with blacks affected disproportionately, especially unionized workers. These job losses affect voting:

No matter the proposal, no matter the party, manufacturing employers and employees in Michigan are waiting to see whether the candidates can really do something to boost the fate of those who make a product for a living.

So far, George Bu$h'$ minimum-wage service job creation record isn't filling the bill to replace that union manufacturing job, but the voter backlash of this isn't being directed where it belongs. It is instead being redirected against those with whom the average white worker should feel a great deal of solidarity - other workers who happen to be non-white. Who is going to care about American jobs being outsourced to foreign lands, something that is actively and openly aided and abetted by the Bu$h (mi$)Admini$tration, if 'Sixpack' Joe Redstater is more focused on 'them damn forrinners what put their kids in our schools'?


White Flight: The Effect of Minority Presence on Post World War II Suburbanization

Following the Brown decision, schoolchildren who once attended classes only with the homogenous population of their urban neighborhood enclaves were suddenly placed in classrooms alongside children from less desirable urban areas. By locating outside the jurisdiction of the central city and its corresponding school district, white families were able to circumvent the Brown decision by placing their children in districts with a majority white population. Using the separate politica l institutions of the newly forming suburban communities, whites were able to escape the rising tide of integration and establish their own schools, libraries, police, and parks.

There is evidence from the real estate industry to substantiate this claim. Anthony Downs, a senior real estate consultant testifying before the Senate Select Committee on Equal Educational Opportunity, argued that "for most middle-class Americans with s chool-age children, choosing a place to live is greatly influenced by the nature of the schools serving the various neighborhoods available to them" and that "middle-class Americans . . . typically judge the quality of any school mainly in the kind of families whose children are predominant in its classrooms." [Downs, Anthony, "Suburban Housing: A Program for Expanded Opportunities", Real Estate Review, Spring 1971, Vol. 1, No. 1, Boston: Warren, Gorham, & Lamont, Inc., p. 4.]

By this reasoning, white families discriminate against nonwhite schools not necessarily out of blatant prejudice against nonwhites, but because they perceive schools enrolling unusually large numbers of nonwhites to be suspect or inferior and wish to place their children in more ethnically homogenous schools which they perceive to be superior.

This phenomenon can be observed in the case of Park Forest, Illinois, which, prior to 1970, was a largely white, middle-class community south of Chicago. When a black housing development was built on a tract of land outside the boundaries of Park Forest and children from the development began attending local schools, white residents began selling their homes, fearing a drop in land values. As land values dropped, more blacks began to occupy the once-white community and a majority-white area was transformed in the span of a few years. [Berry, Brian J. L, Goodwin, Carole A., Lake, Robert W., and Smith, Katherine B., "Attitudes toward Integration: the Role of Status in Community Response to Racial Change", in The Changing Face of the Suburbs, ed. by Schwartz, Barry, Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976, p. 240.]

So what is a concerned Red Stater to do when even the suburbs are changing? One could keep going even farther away:


‘White Flight’ Taking Off

Mimicking the patterns of segregation that shaped Chicago, whites in the inner-ring suburbs with growing African American populations are fleeing these areas for towns and villages beyond Cook County. By 2002, nearly 140,000 whites will have left suburban Cook County since the 1990 census, while more than 131,000 blacks will move in, according to an analysis by The Chicago Reporter. At the same time, the white population in the five collar counties will have grown by 20 percent, or about 375,000 people. The black population, however, will increase by only 50,000.

The Reporter found that 14 suburbs—13 of them in Cook County—will each lose more than 4,000 white residents by 2002, and blacks are the largest minority in half of those towns. By contrast, 25 suburbs are expected to gain at least 5,000 whites by 2002, and African Americans are the largest minority in only one of them.

The widespread beliefs that property values or quality of life will suffer if minorities move into a community are difficult to combat in the 268 separate suburban municipalities around Chicago, each with its own government and housing laws.

Many of these little suburban towns happen to be very Republican.

But I digress.

It isn't just the black community that scares the White Flight:

But while blacks become increasingly isolated in a few suburbs, particularly in southern Cook County, Latino and Asian populations continue to expand throughout the suburbs, the Reporter found. By 2002, Latinos will exceed 5 percent of the population in 122 suburbs, compared to 66 suburbs for blacks. And Asians will make up at least 5 percent of the population in 58 suburbs.

About two-thirds of the metropolitan area’s Asian population will live in the suburbs by 2002. Latinos will outnumber blacks in the suburbs for the first time, growing by 84 percent from 1990. Three west suburban towns will be majority Hispanic: Cicero, Hodgkins and Stone Park.

"Latino diffusion is greater because they face less resistance than blacks," said Pierre deVise, a Roosevelt University professor emeritus and urbanologist. "Older white suburbs that have a hard time getting new white families welcome Hispanic whites."

"People look at Hispanics differently than African Americans—as a source of cheap labor," said Aurie A. Pennick, president of the Leadership Council for Metropolitan Open Communities, a fair housing group.

"Oak Brook needs labor," said Bernard T. Kleina, executive director of the west suburban HOPE Fair Housing Center.

In western Cook and DuPage counties, the HOPE Fair Housing Center received 175 complaints from African Americans and 37 from Latinos between August 1996 and September 1997. Latinos tend to face housing discrimination based on family size, while landlords resist renting to blacks with older children, Kleina said.

But do the local schools need the children of the servants? They don't think so in rural Iowa school districts:


Iowa's Diverse Rural Communities Facing 'White Flight'

The Des Moines Register (7/27/2000) reports that two of the most diverse school systems in Iowa -- West Liberty and Columbus Community School District -- are losing white students as parents pull them out. Both districts have 40% or more minority populations. An open enrollment policy combined with growing populations of non-whites in small agricultural towns is blamed for the shift. Such "white flight" is usually associated with inner cities, not rural areas, potentially a disturbing trend for newly diverse rural communities.

Earlier this year, a similar situation has arisen in neighboring Nebraska:


White flight follows influx of Hispanics into schools

Dick Eisenhauer is tired of watching white families take their children out of the schools in his Nebraska district and enroll them in smaller, outlying ones, where there are virtually no poor or Hispanic students. Like many of Nebraska's school systems, the Lexington district where Mr. Eisenhauer is superintendent has seen an influx of Hispanics, largely because of jobs at the meatpacking plants, and an accompanying exodus of white students to public elementary schools just outside town. And there is nothing Mr. Eisenhauer can do about it. Nebraska law allows students to switch schools without giving a reason. "It bothers you when people come into your town and make comments like 'You've got lots of Mexican kids,'" he said. "I feel distressed if they would opt out for that reason."

Many Hispanics are not aware of what is happening, but if they did "they would be up in arms," said state Sen. Ray Aguilar, the Legislature's only Hispanic.

Beginning in the 1960s, white flight to the suburbs left many big-city school systems across the country predominantly black. But what is happening in Nebraska is a different phenomenon: The white families are staying put, but they are sending their kids to school outside town. This is possible because Nebraska, unlike many other states and communities, does not require students to attend the schools in the district in which they live.

As a result, in Lexington, the in-town schools, with an enrollment of 2,500, have 804 students learning English as a second language, and 1,172 who are getting a free or reduced-price lunch. The six outlying elementary schools have about 130 students — none of them learning English as a second language and none of them living in poverty, according to the state Education Department.

The situation is similar in and around the small town of Schuyler, which also has seen an influx of Hispanics in recent years. Chris Dvorak, a white parent whose two children attend a school outside Schuyler, said she sent her children there to avoid overcrowding in town, not to get away from Hispanics. "I would have done the same thing if they were all white kids," she said.

Riiiiiiiiiiiight. I CERTAINLY believe that! This PROVES it:

There are 250 students there who are learning to speak English. None of them attends the outlying schools. Of 325 students living in poverty, all but 18 go to school in town.

Language seems to be an issue with some Nebraska parents:


Growing pains in racially changing rural, small towns

Cindy Walker didn't like what she saw in the classrooms of her hometown, but her concerns had little to do with teachers or curriculum. What she didn't like were all the brown faces in Lexington Public Schools. She said she felt the teachers would devote too much time to children who spoke mostly Spanish.
"My kids aren't going to be held back because of the Hispanics," she said. "It seems like they work more with the Hispanics, the white kids are just pushed aside."
So the day-care operator and part-time convenience-store clerk removed her children from their hometown schools. Her 17-year-old goes to high school in Overton and her 7-year-old attends a country school, where almost all the faces are white.

If she could afford to move, Walker said, she would leave Lexington altogether. She said she knows plenty of white longtime residents who have done so in the past decade.

The meatpacking-dominated community of 10,011 experienced tremendous growth in its Hispanic population during the 1990s, a fact well documented by the 2000 Census. The city's 5,121 Hispanics represent a staggering 1,457 percent growth rate.

But the once-a-decade count also documented another trend: The white, nonHispanic population declined by nearly 1,600. That's a 26 percent decline. Overall, the city's population changed from 95 percent white in 1990 to 49 percent white in 2000.

But something's going on in Lexington and other rural communities that have experienced similar ethnic shifts. One academic who has devoted much of her career to studying meatpacking towns says local and state leaders need to find out what. "This is a worrisome trend because what we may be creating are enclaves of poverty," said Dr. Lourdes Gouveia, associate professor of sociology and director of Chicano-Latino Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. "The situation definitely deserves study."

Economic uncertainty, and corporate importation of low-wage foreign workers, contributes heavily to attitude which the GOP is successfully exploiting in Red State America:

Any study would need to start with Lexington's history, dominated by a boom-and-bust cycle during the past 25 years. The first boom ignited in the 1970s with the arrival of the Sperry-New Holland combine plant. While considered blue-collar, the jobs required skill and paid solidly middle-class wages. The combine plant closed in 1986, and with no major employer to take its place, Lexington's population dropped to 6,600 residents, of whom about 93 percent were white.

In 1990, despite opposition from many townspeople, IBP opened a cattle slaughtering and packing plant on the site of the former Sperry-New Holland factory. Almost overnight, Lexington boomed again. But this time, things were different.

While the packing plant hired locally, it needed many more workers than Lexington could supply. Word-of-mouth and the company's recruiting efforts in Mexico and other Latin American countries brought in the work force - by the thousands.

And about the same time, whites started to leave, said David Selk, a 46-year-old lifelong Lexington resident who works at a shock absorber manufacturer in a neighboring town. Sitting at the kitchen counter in his parents' Lexington home, Selk shuffled through his IBP file - a disheveled collection of air quality studies, sociological reports, business articles and crime stories from the local newspaper. All evidence, he said, that the company has added to its bottom line at the expense of towns such as Lexington. He singled out two reasons for white flight: the putrid smell from IBP's wastewater lagoons and the growth of the Hispanic population. Selk directed much of his anger at IBP and the city officials who recruited the plant, as did others who share similar views.

These city officials, considering the location of Lexington in rural Nebraska, are most likely Republicans, but they seem to be escaping any significant backlash from the town's residents:

But his resentment also spread to immigrants, who he said have brought a different language, loud music and more crime to what once was a safe, quiet community. "Sometimes I feel like a foreigner in my own town," said Selk, who has lost all three of his campaigns for City Council.

Sitting next to him was Fay Maloley, a 69-year-old farmer who has worked land east of Lexington nearly his entire life. Maloley, who often used a disparaging term for undocumented border-crossers, said fear was a major factor behind the city's Anglo population decline. "Us white people are the minority at this point," Maloley said.

Language presents another source of frustration, said Sharon Caraballo, a retired nurse who now works in a Lexington convenience store. Caraballo professed to harbor no prejudiced attitudes toward Hispanics. After all, she's married to a man of Puerto Rican descent. But many recent arrivals keep to themselves and don't bother to learn American customs, culture or English, she said. "I'm offended by it," she said. "They're in our country, but they don't want to have anything to do with us."

Catch the gaping openings for the GOP to take away more white voters?

'Foreigner in my own town' and 'White people are the minority' and 'They're in our country'?

The Democrats have been attempting in past elections to reach out to diverse ethnic groups without promoting a sense of commonality, or to sucessfully enhance acceptance of diversity as a good thing to promote unity among us as a nation. Admittedly, this is hard to do when so many people feel like they are being replaced by those being presented as equals, and who have to give up something valuable to accommodate them.

But with the abandonment by white workers of the Democratic Party, they have no one else to turn to but the very voting groups that drove the whites to the GOP. Considering that just the other day it was announced that Texas Becomes a Majority-Minority State, and that five other states (Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi, and New York) aren't far behind, with about 40 percent minorities, is it so hard for the Red Staters to see that they have nowhere to run and hide from the growing population of minorities in 'our' country?

Maybe a graphic would help:

As one can see from this graphic, there are only three states with less than 10% non-white residents: Iowa, North Dakota, and West Virginia. This leaves Red Staters with a serious dilemma: how to maintain power in the face of reduced demographic numbers.

It is this dilemma which is driving promotion of the less-than-democratic concentration of power in fewer hands, just like in Cincinnati (cited above), while the Constitutional avenues for redress are being cut off from accessibility by those not in power.

Case in point: Nebraska schools are already operating using a voucher system - something near and dear to conservative hearts. But as this commenter points out, that support could change if Hispanics in Nebraska take advantage of it:


White Flight From Nebraska Schools Caused By Hispanic Immigrants

Nebraska has a grade school system that is, in effect, a public school voucher system. Parents can send their kids to any public school that they can manage to arrange to have their kids transported to daily. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the parents used this ability before the Hispanics showed up.

One reason vouchers are feared by middle and upper class suburbanites is that the suburbanites see vouchers as a mechanism that would take from them the rights to good schools (read: good fellow students) that they purchased when they bought their expensive houses.

If Hispanics rather than whites start using the Nebraska system to send their kids to schools in other districts then expect the white population in Nebraska to quickly shift against the continuance of the current system.

Why hasn't this fact attracted more attention from policy wonks and political commentators?

Maybe it has, and that slanted fellow just hasn't noticed:


White flight follows influx of Hispanics into schools

During the recently completed school year, 86 students opted out of Lexington schools to enroll in neighboring districts. And 58 students from other districts enrolled in Lexington. Michael Shimeall, director of elementary and secondary education at Lexington, said those figures represent about average numbers for the school district. While he could not readily provide an ethnic breakdown, he said most of the students who opted out were white.

One opinion looks at vouchers as the means for whites - in his opinion, liberal whites - to escape the travails of the city:


Reversing White Flight
by Jonathan Rauch

In Washington, D.C., where I live, and in many other urban areas with troubled school systems, here is how it works for people with ambition and mobility: As they begin their careers, they live in the city for fun and convenience and dating. Then they marry and have kids. Then they look at the local public schools. Then they move to the suburbs. "I liked living in the city," my friends say. "But the schools are just so much better out here."

The strongest argument for school vouchers is moral. It is simply wrong for rich, predominantly white liberals to insist that poor, predominantly minority children attend dysfunctional and often dangerous schools that rich, predominantly white liberals would never allow their own children to set so much as one foot in.

It is callous for rich, predominantly white liberals to continue to tell inner-city parents, year after year, "Urban schools must be fixed! Meanwhile, we're outta here. Good luck."

There is a certain attitude that there is still plenty of room to avoid having to live with 'them':


Dutch Emigrate In White Flight Across Borders

Fortunately America is still big enough for "white flight" to occur into rural areas and into the so-called "Red States". However, the areas to flee from are growing in number and size while the areas to flee to correspondingly shrink. Also, the destination areas are not as desirable in many ways (e.g. high plains weather is less desirable than SoCal weather in the view of the vast bulk of the population).

Hmmmmmmm - maybe reality is beginning to sink in that 'them' is really 'us':


Growth of creative hubs redefines 'white flight'

Whites are moving to cities that often are less racially segregated than the ones they are leaving. Generally, the cities losing white population are more racially segregated than the cities of ideas. Milwaukee has the second-most-segregated black and white population in the country, according the State University of New York's Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and Regional Research. The most segregated city, Detroit, lost nearly 74,000 whites. "The nation's fastest-growing metropolitan areas, places such as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Austin and Raleigh-Durham, feature remarkably low and declining segregation levels," says Harvard University's Edward Glaeser.

In addition, there may be other, less socially-acceptible, reasons for this apparent acceptance of ethnic change in the hometown:


Will rising gasoline prices mean the end of white flight?

I shared my exchange with the right-wing tough guy with a small e-mail group, and the following resulted. The final comment is made by a knowledgeable leftist who participates in the group. (He maintains peace with the rest of the group by only discussing facts, not ideology.)

R: Nonetheless, the guy has a grasp of brute political physics that our present regime and most of our intellectual class don't. A man, or a society of men, is either willing and able to defend itself against physical threats to its existence or it ceases to exist. Personally, I think liberalism will either kill the host or be destroyed, and in 100 years will be known only to graduate students in comparative politics.

LA: About ten years ago, the Sunday New York Times had a photo of a young couple living in the woods somewhere in the Northwest, white racialist survivalist types, they looked like barbarians, and I thought, it may come to this, it may be that the white race will only survive in this form.

E: I doubt it. Rather, it will be like today's South Africa: heavily guarded enclaves of whites. But I still have hope that whites will wake up and there will be a white reaction in America.

K: To a mild extent, you already have this. You have the suburbs and edge cities and gated communities. But--tying in another thread here--it's all based on cheap gas.

A few of my guys are starting to think this one through.

We didn't win the race conflict in the 1960s, we avoided it by throwing cheap gas at the problem.

And now, gas isn't so cheap anymore! This is going to cause a myriad of problems:

Anybody who doesn't want to live around non-whites doesn't have to. The trade-off is he'll spend half his life in his car, but he can do it.

What happens when gas gets so expensive a 75 mile daily commute isn't affordable anymore? All these angry white guys are going to move back to the cities, not because they want to but because they have to.

And if there is one thing that Red Staters don't like, it's having to do something they don't want to. This will result in additional frustration, which could lead to inappropriate behaviors, maybe even violence. It wouldn't take much, as this example of life in the Netherlands points out:

From the New York Times, a story about the increased emigration from the Netherlands:

Many Dutch also seem bewildered that their country, run for decades on a cozy, political consensus, now seems so tense and prickly and bent on confrontation.

Sandy Sangen has applied to move to Norway with her husband and two school-age children. They want to buy a farm in what she calls "a safer, more peaceful place."

Ruud Konings, an accountant, has just sold his comfortable home in the small town of Hilvarenbeek. In March, after a year's worth of paperwork, the family will leave for Australia. The couple said the main reason was their fear for the welfare and security of their two teenage children. "When I grew up, this place was spontaneous and free, but my kids cannot safely cycle home at night," said Mr. Konings, 49. "My son just had his fifth bicycle stolen." At school, his children and their friends feel uneasy, he added. "They're afraid of being roughed up by the gangs of foreign kids."

Previously concerned only with Dutch culture, citizens were now compelled to support increased welfare for unemployed and unemployable immigrants, and put up with the associated violence, much to their chagrin. Unable to toss the Muslims out, large numbers of the original population left the country to the Muslims and began new communities whose founding principle was the exclusion of non-Europeans, assimilated or otherwise.

This phenomenon has been seen before in the United States (and elsewhere, but to a lesser extent), but only on a local level. "White flight" gave birth to suburbia, when affluent city dwellers fled the cities to escape the influx of rural poor brought in by government programs of welfare and subsidized housing. The demographics tended to break along racial lines -- white vs black -- so the label "white flight" was coined.

'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' seems to be the motto of this lame observation:

It happens whenever a community or an organization is forced to include "the other". As an unintended consequence, the backlash can do more harm to "the others" than if things had been left as they were.

This statement tends to excuse bigotry, as exemplified by thise 'example' of how things should have 'left as they were':

There was that process in the Anglican Church in which the people were forced to recognize gay couples as blessed by God and to have practicing gays as clergy and bishops. The Church leadership, made up of well-meaning busy-body liberals, started to alter the fabric of the Church.

Previously concerned only with Christian living in line with Scripture, the faithful were now compelled to support lifestyles that would seem to be explicitly condemned by Scripture, both Old and New Testament, much to their chagrin.

Unable to toss the gays out, large numbers of the original Anglican congregation began to leave the Anglican Church and began new Protestant denominations whose founding principle was the exclusion of all homosexuals, whether they agreed to live by Christian principles or not.

There is another seed of understanding the GOP hold over Red State minds - regardless of their other less-savory actions. They will allow the deliberate discriminiation of the 'Other' rather than take the harder road of promoting tolerance. There was Bu$h'$ executive order to allow federally-funded religious charities to discriminate on religious affiliation in hiring. There is also the recent scandal over Christian proslytizing at the US Air Force Academy, which was further scandalized when a cover-up was attempted.

The attitude of 'God said, I believe it, and that settles it!' is one advantage working in the GOP's favor. By nailing themselves to the Christian Cross, they have an unassailable position to manipulate religious beliefs for the benefit of the current power elite. This isn't a new tactic, having been used since the fall of Rome, and the practice hasn't gone unnoticed.

Take this example from Bertrand Russell's Why I Am Not A Christian:


Fear, the Foundation of Religion

Religion is based, I think, primarily and mainly upon fear. It is partly the terror of the unknown and partly, as I have said, the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing -- fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death. Fear is the parent of cruelty, and therefore it is no wonder if cruelty and religion have gone hand in hand. It is because fear is at the basis of those two things.

In this world we can now begin a little to understand things, and a little to master them by help of science, which has forced its way step by step against the Christian religion, against the churches, and against the opposition of all the old precepts. Science can help us to get over this craven fear in which mankind has lived for so many generations. Science can teach us, and I think our own hearts can teach us, no longer to look around for imaginary supports, no longer to invent allies in the sky, but rather to look to our own efforts here below to make this world a better place to live in, instead of the sort of place that the churches in all these centuries have made it.

Does this not help to explain why Bu$hCo is so adamant about opposing stem cell research and other sciences that challenge religious dogma? Not to do so opens the door for public notice of the benefits of such science, and weakens Bu$hCo control over their minds.

In order to maintain political control, it is sometimes necessary to take advantage of an opponent through the exploitation of their prejudices to keep them distracted. Such is the case with the gay marriage issue, which resonated greatly with the black churches in America, once a bastion of liberalism. One black minister takes offense at this practice - and at those who have fallen under its sway:


Religious Bigotry In Blackface

I got an alarming phone call last night. A friend from New England had been gay bashed in church. It wasn't a physical bashing. It was a verbal attack. My friend, a well-respected black professor at an Ivy League college, was attacked at a black church in Brockton, Massachusetts.

The name Mt. Moriah Baptist Church sounds like a pleasant place. Mount Moriah was the biblical place where Abraham took his son Isaac to be sacrificed to God as a burnt offering. Upon seeing Abraham's conviction to kill his own son, God intervened and spared Isaac from death.

It's a good thing Isaac wasn't gay. The good minister at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church in Massachusetts might not be so sympathetic. That's what I heard from my friend this morning as he recounted the story of the minister's attack on homosexuality yesterday. "The only thing missing was the white hood, the rope and the tree," my friend said.

The minister launched into a diatribe about same-sex marriage in Massachusetts, the abomination of homosexuality and how God created Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. Feeling out of place as a black gay man in a black church, my friend explained, "This must be what it felt like to be a Jew in Nazi Germany."

But why should we feel this way in our own churches in our own communities? Part of the problem, I think, is that we accept the abuse without challenging it.

'God said, I believe it, and that settles it!'

How many times have we been in churches where a minister berated us and then we never said a word to confront him? How many times have we given our tithes and offerings to a church where the preacher just finished delivering an anti-gay sermon? How many times have we continued to sing in the choir as the pastor condemned us from the pulpit?

It's time for us to stop that self-loathing behavior and challenge our ministers on their homophobia. With the right-wing eager to exploit perceived black divisions on the issue of homosexuality in this election year, we need to stand up and be heard before it's too late.

Unfortunately, Mt. Moriah is not alone. The Rev. H. Walden Wilson II, pastor of Israel Baptist Church in East Baltimore, told the Baltimore Sun that President Bush could attract votes in his church because of the president's opposition to gay marriage. "There are a lot of black evangelicals who really appreciate ... a president taking a moral stand on that particular issue," Rev. Wilson says.

I've never been to Israel Baptist Church, but I bet at least one of his 1500 members is gay or lesbian.

One of the most vocal anti-gay black ministers has been Talbert W. Swan II, the pastor of Solid Rock Church of God In Christ in Indian Orchard, Massachusetts.

Rev. Swan has said: "The promotion of gay marriage by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's recent decision is a moral travesty that denies morality as a rational basis for legislation. I am one of people Justice Margaret Marshall refers to as a person who has 'deep-seated religious, moral, and ethical convictions that marriage should be limited to the union of one man and one woman, and that homosexual conduct is immoral.'"

Which is more important - racism against blacks and other non-white portions of our society, or murderous hatred of gays? Rather than work positively toward fair treatment of all when it comes to housing and jobs and other economic quantities, these ministers - swayed by the negative message of the Republican Party to hatred - would seek to impose the sort of discrimination they themselves still at times experience?

It boggles the mind that people can't see when they are working against themselves!

Maybe the idea of separating into what will become warring camps is inevitable - especially when those left behind manage to acquire power:


L.A. needs more white flight

In times of crisis -- any kind of crisis -- L.A.'s famous "simmering racial tension" usually boils over, and people start blaming the Other. In the early '90s, that boiling and blaming took the forms of gangsta rap, the 1992 riots, Pete Wilson's anti-immigration campaign ads ("they keep coming"), Proposition 187, and above all, White Flight. The "erosion of the tax base," or the effective replacement of high-end aerospace with low-end immigration, created a vicious cycle that commentators agreed could only end in some kind of irreversible Detroitization of La-La Land. Entire cities, and even divisions of L.A. County, veered toward bankruptcy, and apocalyptic-Christian publishing houses churned out enough fodder to fill an entire Mike Davis book.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to Blade Runner: during the supposedly disastrous demographic revolution, the local economy recovered, and even boomed. Could it possibly be ... White Flight worked!

Consider this amusing story by The Associated Press about how all the western destinations for fleeing Angelenos -- Phoenix, Las Vegas, Seattle, Denver -- are in fact suffering from the same terrible sprawl, pollution, road-rage and crime they thought they left behind. "Cities Seek to Avoid L.A. Pains," the headline ran, but it really should have been "Scared L.A. Whites Import Their Own Problems to Suburban Boom Towns."

Non-Catholic Christian whites from the Valley must have voted something like 90% for Hahn, which helps explain why he stooped so low to portray Villaraigosa as a dangerous crack-smoking Mexican with shady ambitions.

But the best news for opponents of race-baiting politics is that this election may well prove to be whitey's last stand. Though Angeleno memories are wonderfully short, few will soon forget Hahn's crack-pipe commercial. He might not ever regain the trust of L.A.'s 47% Hispanic population (who make up two-thirds of public school enrollment), which will make it doubly hard for him to confront the immigration issue head-on, let alone education. Luckily, with his electoral base lining up to flee Gomorrah, the window for that opportunity will close in four short years.

As it since has with the defeat of Hahn by Villaraigosa earlier this year.

As whites become less the majority and more another minority, there are only two realistic options. One, is to continue down the road toward a Christian Fascist state, one in which King George finally realizes his wet dream of becoming the Dictator of America. As the graphic of minority population above demonstrates, lily-whiteness is becoming rare, and it would take a major bloodbath to restore it.

Ethnic cleansing in America? Sure, if we continue to follow the PNAC/Republican plans for our land!

The other way is to live more in accord with the stated principles of the Founding Fathers as recorded in the idealistic words of the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed ...

Even if they aren't white. Or male. Or Christian. Or heterosexual. None of these limitations are listed in the Preamble to the Constitution, either. I'll present it so our Red Stater friends don't get lost looking for it:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

WE, the People of the United States, all created equal with inalienable rights like Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, are the government. Those who are wannabee dictators would be wise to remember that governing powers derive from our consent - and as recent polls indicate, he's losing that.


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