After the “redlining” and “white flight” of the 50’s (which were underwritten by government subsidies of suburban construction, transportation corridors, industrial hubs and infrastructure) then the marginalization and disaffection was instituted in the urban centers left over from earlier European immigration and migration (bulldozed for big capital projects of ‘urban renewal’ which concretized mismanaged and substandard, mostly segregated, slums); and the terrible conditions in the ‘ghettos’ sparked the riots (poor people’s rebellions) of the 60’s. The results of the Kerner Commission, for instance, were never followed by serious reform. The battleground of public housing projects and of poor and ‘colored’ socio-economic enclaves was waged by state and local police who were free to wreak devastation from the riot-torn 60’s through the law-and-order 70’s and during the drug war of the 80’s. .
Now, uniformed officers of law-enforcement who now patrol the neighborhoods of people of color, with which I am intimately familiar, vociferously purport to “protect and serve the public” (apparently from the dangerously disadvantaged culture that prevails in the black and brown enclaves). Then, encouraged by flawed statistical ‘evidence’ about crime rates (ignoring simple concentrations and causes), those officers employ unjustly discriminatory and unacceptably disrespectful tactics (so called data-driven policing) intended to militate against the ‘problems’ an apparently criminal demography poses and expect the surrender of psycho-social sorts, or of economic facts, to misplaced force. Unfortunately, where the tautology of this kind of reasoning fails logical muster, nevertheless, this convoluted political thesis remains persuasive to some (for other reasons). The reasons proffered for contemporary “stop and frisk” laws have just such logical flaws, and the communities (like in Detroit) “served” are left in unacknowledged distress and decay.
The New Year offers an opportunity to make a new beginning. The dangers of mulish obstruction and wrongheaded policy should be obvious (or will be when another credit limit “debate” wastes our time). New people with reasonable ideas about infrastructure investment/banking and safeguards of rights and privacy should be voted into public office. The fanatic deficit-dread that is still suffered by some “conservatives” is the result of either dishonesty or deceit (if not mere ignorance). This kind of panic results from denial of responsibility, ignores corruption and selfishness, and disclaims deepening cultural alienation and dispossession. It must be admitted that greed, irresponsibility, and wealth disparity are at the core of the problem. There is no longer any question that “supply-side” decadence (excesses/glut), extraction of wealth (banking de-regulation) and managerial negligence (corruption) have dangerously depleted the economic strength of the nation.