Friday, April 13, 2012

Do People Just Want to Live in Segregation? Not in Chicago

Chicago Magazine is talking about Chatham again:
It's not a simple matter of black people being way more egalitarian than white people. Everyone wants to live in a safe environment with good housing stock and good civic resources, which is often not the case in black-majority neighborhoods in Chicago, as Robert Sampson writes in his paper "Social Anatomy of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Violence":

"Racial/ethnic differences in neighborhood characteristics are pronounced. For example, a typical Black in Chicago lives in a neighborhood that is 78% Black, whereas Whites and Mexican Americans live in neighborhoods that are more mixed but that are still predominantly (over 85%) non-Black. Blacks are also more likely than Whites or Mexican Americans to live in neighborhoods characterized by concentrated disadvantage, high legal/ moral cynicism, and low collective efficacy."

Advantage and collective efficacy can stabilize a neighborhood, as it did for Chatham, long an enclave of the black middle-class on the South Side. Sampson, in his recent book Great American City, found that the neighborhood has the second highest collective efficacy among predominantly black neigborhoods (behind Avalon Park, nicknamed Pill Hill for its concentration of medical professionals). But it borders on some of the city's poorest neighborhoods—such as Wentworth Gardens, where the men who killed police officer and Chatham resident Thomas Wortham IV lived. Over the past two decades, Chatham has lost 15 percent of its residents while seeing greater poverty and unemployment, which is one reason Sampson calls it out in his book as an area of concern. If people can, they move to places like Chatham over places like Englewood and West Englewood (which each lost nearly twice as many people in half the time). If places like Chatham become too unsafe and isolated, they move out of the city:

"In addition to migrating down South, black Chicagoans are also heading for the suburbs, including Cook County's Dolton, Ill. Over the last decade, blacks who achieved a certain amount of success before the economic decline began moving to the suburbs from the city in search of safer communities and better housing. They also spread to University Park and Orland Park, both in Will County, with Orland Park straddling Cook County. Will County, with a population of 677,560, saw its overall population increase 34.9 percent, according to the Census Bureau."
So what can we do to keep Chatham and other similar areas a safe area to live?

1 comment:

  1. What can you do?

    Support a Concealed Carry measure in Illinois for Honest Citizens and watch violent crime plummet.


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