Monday, August 3, 2009
Kansas City is segregated. Not completely. There are exceptions. But if you looked at it in general, the white and the black populations live largely parallel existences here. When we moved here I told my wife that there are places in town where when you are driving on major streets, the people around you will be almost all white, or almost all black. One day we were out and I mentioned that comment, and when my wife looked around there was not a white face to be seen. This was a bit of a coincidence, but the truth about it is not so far a field. I was looking into churches in Kansas city and I called the Catholic Dieses in Kansas city to inquire about a church that might be racially mixed and politically mixed. (I am not catholic by the way) The reply I got on the phone was that there were some churches that might be politically mixed, but none that were racially mixed. Further investigation proved this to be not quite true. But it illustrated the overall reality. If you simply look at the different communities there is no parody. There are outliers going both ways, but the overwhelming reality is that the black communities are blight ridden and broken, and the white communities are affluent. When we talk about race in America, we like to look at the exceptions. The outliers that help us feel good about the progress we have made. The Osama’s, Opra, Woods, Powell’s, ect. What we are loath to discuss are the hard facts about race in America. The statistics about education, incarceration, income, opportunity, crime, health, and life span. These numbers are reflective of the realities that you see with your own eyes when you look at our cities. The outliers don’t shift the reality of a circumstance that is entrenched. It’s nice to think we are doing better. And we are, in some ways. Some huge ways. But to ask the question “is race still an issue in 2009?” seems to me to be a little silly. It is.