Friday, 24 June 2016

Black and White Outcomes

In Louisville USA (birth and burial place of the recently deceased Mohammed Ali), the Eastern and the Western parts of the city are divided by what is locally known as the "Ninth Street Divide," aka occasionally as 'the Berlin Wall'. On either side of this divide there are different races and different life outcomes.

The city as a whole is one of the few in the USA, where the school desegregation policies of the 1960's are still enforced (with a city wide 'schooling zone' which prevents white parents avoiding have black kids being bussed in), but despite this there are stark contrasts in the lives being led in the two sectors.

West and East Louisville

The West part of town is predominantly African-American, while the East side is predominantly White. A person living in Parkland (Mohammed Ali's old neighbourhood on the West part of town), has a life expectancy that is about 10 years shorter than the city's overall, average life expectancy. The average income and education levels are also lower, while rates of heart disease and diabetes are higher in the West side of town.

Homicides spiked in the city at 84 in 2015, but 75% of those occurred on the West side of the town, with two-thirds of the victims being black, in black on black homicides, even though African-Americans make up only 22% of the population.

So the question has to be asked once again, is it nature or nurture.

Why is rubbish piled up in the front yards of many of the houses in the predominantly black area of the town. Why are windows boarded up, even when buildings are occupied? The constant plea that its 'discrimination' or 'poverty' just stops working, as generation succeeds generation. I watch a TV reality show called 'Troubled Teens: Jail Shock' and perhaps not unsurprisingly this features many Black teens. However what is surprising is how many of these teens come from large well appointed houses (although many also live in less affluent properties). The standard of the housing often far exceeds the standards of the neighbourhood .... there just seems to be no sense of civic cleanliness in the streets, that matches up to the internal cleanliness of the teens homes.

Now don't get me wrong, Black neighbourhoods are not exceptional in this regard, especially as you fall down the social ladder, and many UK housing estates can match or exceed, the level of low level vandalism and dumping in these areas.

The difference seems to be that as in Louisville, the ethnic white community seem to be far more readily able to exhibit a collective desire to raise or keep up civic standards .... how else can you explain why in a city where segregation in education is rigorously prevented, and so personal attainment targets are the same for all ethnic groups, the outcomes of lifestyle still differ so greatly?


  1. To answer your question we need more information, for example the average income of all the residents. It could be that despite the strict desegregation policy in schools, black citizens still experience a glass ceiling and the problems flow from there - or any other combination of factors.

    1. Yes, there's no denying that the average income of all the residents of the town counts. But surely some Afro Americans can rise above the glass ceiling ... but when they do, do they move to white areas when they do?


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