Segregation Never Ended, it Evolved
The White Establishment and those who propagate it will never admit it, but Dr. King’s dream of equality in America never even got off the launching pad. Segregation and inequality are still very much a part of the American political and social fabric from the national view right down to our personal interactions with one another.
In every city across the country segregation is still a dominant feature, not just in housing, but in education, and the job market as well.
Certainly, there are those that will cry, you lie, sir, you lie, POC’s can drink from any fountain they like, sit anywhere they like, go to any restaurant they like and sit anywhere on the bus they like and they are correct.
People of Color can go to any restaurant they like if they can afford it, and how often do you see white people on the bus, and what does it matter where you can sit or what fountain, you drink from when POC’s are boxed into smaller and smaller sections of our cities, or forced out entirely as neighborhood after neighborhood is redlined?
The point is that these are meaningless, but are in your face expressions of segregation that the white establishment didn’t need to hold on to because the more important aspects could be maintained by discarding the legalities and enforcing socioeconomic and educational limitations through Criminalization, non-formal means or non-racial, racist means.
What is meant by this, is that schools and other services provided for children in Communities of Color, such as after school programs could be defunded, by pushing to have them privatized, and diverting those tax dollars into “law enforcement,” and prisons. So long as poverty related issues and drugs are treated as a criminal matter rather than what they are, economic and mental health issues.
Improving education, funding small businesses in Communities of Color to create more jobs, paying a living wage, and healthcare, food and housing for all policies would have had a profound effect on crime rates, reducing the need for “law enforcement,” and prisons. Instead, leaders cut every service they could and introduced NAFTA, GAT, and now the TPP, expanding free trade and neoliberal colonialism on a vast scale.
With the expansion of free trade, production and many service sector jobs were exported to cheaper labor markets. This drove up poverty rates in the US, primarily among Communities of Color who had already had high unemployment rates, which in turn drove up crime and fueled the drug trade with low-level workers desperate enough to try their hand, in order to feed and provide for their families.
The effects of the drug war on Communities of Color and the colonization of POC’s starting at earlier and earlier ages, stop and frisk and other racially targeted policies have led to increasingly extreme concentrations of poverty primarily in Communities of Color.
The restrictions in mobility, poverty causes; as well as, the advent of the criminal background check, which is used to weed out people convicted of crimes, largely People of Color, serves as the new form of racial discrimination in everything from housing, and education to employment, squeezing People of Color further and further into the margins and into smaller and smaller spaces.
In the face of continued segregation and inequality more than fifty years after the death of Dr. King and the passing of many landmark laws and amendments finally doing away with official racism, or so white America believes, the resistance seen from Communities of Color over the past several years is to be expected and supported.
Until we change the very institutions and cultures from which these thinly disguised, official and unofficial racist policies arise, the dream of Dr. King and the hopes of Black America and all People of Color have for so long held onto will never manifest.
With every tool available, racist policies and practices must be challenged, at every level racism, inequality and privilege must not only be called out but demanded that it be done away with. Every progressive idea from rent caps, housing for all policies, legalization, and decriminalization of drug possession and use, to instituting a minimum income and living wages for all Americans, to ending mass incarceration and free trade must be pushed. The rich must be forced to pay their fair share, corporations must be held accountable for their crimes and their money taken from the political system entirely.
In the end, I fear that not even all of this and all of the other smart, progressive, programs will be enough, we will need to get innovative and even radical if we are to end the reign of racist colonialism at home and abroad.