A while back I disagreed with Tim Wise's assessment that blacks do not want to live in so called "segregated" neighborhoods. Unlike most people I know who know Tim Wise' work, I don't give him a free ride just because he happens to get a lot of things right. The Black Commentator published a piece by Mr. Wise Entitled "Ghetto's Are Not a Game" in which he stated:
While only 10 percent of blacks say they prefer to live in all or nearly-all black neighborhoods, roughly three-fourths of African Americans actually live in such places, not because of choice so much as unequal access to housing markets.
According to several studies, blacks generally prefer well-mixed, integrated neighborhoods. It is whites, who by preferring no more than 10-15 percent people of color in their communities, effectively block such an arrangement from coming about. After all, if “too many” blacks or Latinos move in, whites begin to sell en masse, which means a net outflow of capital and thus falling property values, which results in more low-income persons gaining access to the area, and the eventual “tipping” of the neighborhood from mostly white to mostly of color, and poor. It is, in many ways, an ever-expanding, but nonetheless vicious circle of de facto race and class segregation.
I argued that the statistic regearding only 10% of blacks wishing to live in all black neighborhoods was way off mark. The reason I made this claim was because I know that many blacks lie to pollsters in order to not appear "racist" or to uphold "the dream." In a letter to the editor I pointed out that what most blacks would prefer is a majority black neighborhood with clean, well paved streets, more than decent grocery stores and other such quality of life items. Today I ran across an article in the Christian Science Monitor entitled: "After years in the suburbs, many blacks return to city life", that states that many blacks who live in suburbs are considering moving back into inner cities and largely black neighborhoods.
The trend - confirmed by real-estate agents, architects, community activists, and families clamoring to move in - is also clear in the numbers. Stephen Klineberg, a sociology professor at Rice University who does an annual survey of attitudes in Houston, found that last year 17 percent of African-American suburbanites polled said they were "very interested" in moving back into the city, compared with only 3.7 percent of whites suburbanites...
...But that's where it gets complex, says sociologist Monique Taylor, whose recent book, "Harlem between Heaven and Hell," looks at the trend of middle-class blacks returning to that neighborhood in the 1990s.
She found that longtime residents soon realized yuppies are yuppies, whatever their race. The conflicts grew, she says, as recent arrivals insisted on changes in the way public and communal space was used - angering longtime residents by, among other things, passing laws that prohibit loitering and public urination.
"Those African-Americans, who were coming into Harlem to 'be down' with the community, had to accept the idea that their interests were at odds with how the community worked," she says. "They had to really rethink: 'This is who I am and this is why I'm here.' "
You'll note that this study found 17 percent of suburban "Spot in the Milk" Blacks strongly interested in moving back to black neighborhoods. Almost double the statistic that Tim Wise quoted in his piece. This clearly underscored the correctness of my postion that the statistics concerning the assertion that blacks do not want to be in majority black neighborhoods. Secondly, my position that the issues surrounding black removal from majority black neighborhoods are those of "quality of life" are also addressed by this article.
Again I must say that we must be very carefull about the cart-blanch we give others to make cases for us that we ought to be making for ourselves.