Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Racial segregation in New York City: black neighborhoods and white neighborhoods

Segregation is when people of different types live apart from each other.  Integration is when you have 'diversity' - people of differing types that live among each other.

Many people around the world believe that New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world. Well, yes and no.  There are people from over 200 countries who live in New York City, but people from the same ethnic and racial backgrounds tend to live in the same neighborhoods (areas).

What's the difference between race and ethnicity?  Let's say a woman has Chinese parents. Her race is Asian and her ethnicity is Chinese.

Here are some interesting charts that show how segregated New York City is.  You can see that there are neighborhoods which are mostly either black or white.  In the article, New York City is compared to Chicago in regard to racial segregation.  Basically Chicago has traditionally been considered the most racially segregated city in America - most white people live on the north side while most black people live on the south side.

In the history of the USA there have always been two attitudes toward the racial integration of black and white citizens.  Martin Luther King Jr. believed that people of all colors should live together.

Malcolm X, however, literally believed that white folks were 'evil' and that it would be better for black folks to segregate themselves and live in their own neighborhoods helping themselves. 

Here's an interesting article on how segregated New York City is:


Vocabulary to help you understand the article:

starkly - so clear that it is shocking; so obvious it is shocking

census data - every ten years the US government collects data about people who live in the USA. Everyone is asked to fill out a form and mail it in.

a grad student - he already has his BA and is working toward a higher degree.

a breakdown - analysis, to see how the numbers can be applied to reality or what statistics mean

intrigued - interested and motivated to think more about a subject

exceeded - surpassed; if something exceeds something else, it has more of something than something else

swaths - areas

the median - right in the middle

a patchwork - a pattern showing large areas contrasted with other large areas

apartheid - this was a system in South Africa from 1945 to 1989 in which black people and white people were separated.  

a charter school - this is a type of school in America which receives money from the government but which is privately run.  This is a very controversial system. Some people believe strongly in charter schools while others think they are a terrible idea. Charter schools are free and can take or reject any students they want.  So they often only take 'the best' poor students, leaving the 'worst' poor students in the public school system.  Also, many charter schools are run almost like military schools where the discipline is very strict and harsh.  

the epicenter - right in the middle of something

the breadth - the scope, the extent, the amount of

an unholy alliance - an agreement among politicians based on the wrong attitude or motives

civil rights enforcement - civil rights are the rights that an average citizen is supposed to enjoy; basically this person is saying that segregation is a violation of the civil rights of people - people have the right to live in integrated neighborhoods. To enforce the law means to make sure that people are following the law.

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