Wall Street Journal
Don't forget the shuttles are back for the Q this weekend. It's the not-so-calm before the not-so-storm of the B disappearing from my beloved Q at Parkside in a couple weeks. But at least me blog name will be back to being more accurater.
An odd use of census data showed up in a kinda non-story in the Daily News about how previously all-white neighborhoods like Mill Basin and Bergen Beach have seen dramatic jumps in African and Caribbean Americans. I've taken a peak at the interactive census map myself. If you're a map and statistics geek like me, you can get lost for hours and hours at that site now that the NYC numbers are in. But I gotta say something that's kinda troubling about the way these numbers break down and get counted. (yes, I know I've been down this road before, but it still gets my goat curry)
You got your population, your age, your housing status. But the biggeest emphasis you see in the media and even on the site itself is...drumroll...RACE. And ethnicity. There are so many things that define and describe us, but this seems to be the most significant thing the government wants to know about us. Don't get me wrong, I understand how this info can be useful. But given the huge numbers of people who describe themselves as "other" races or multiple races, I'm left to conclude that we are WAY, WAY, WAY over-obsessed with the issue, the superficial part, the one that is truly skin-deep. Cultural differences are much more significant than race, WITHIN races and between. I'm sure we've all remarked to ourselves from time to time on how much more we have in common with folks of different skin tone, and how utterly confused we are by some of our racial kin. A lot of dem born again tea party Texans seem like aliens to me. Not to knock, but really, sometimes I'm at a loss to connect, man. And I'm a lily-white corn-fed midwesterner.
Take my slice of Brooklyn. Some white friends have joked that I live in an all-black neighborhood. That's absurd. The census confirms that there's at least 20% white and 10 - 15% Asian and Hispanic, plus a bunch of mixed-race folks, living in my census tract. Plus, what do they mean by "black" anyway? With light to dark-hued folks from the South, Chicago, Michigan, Haiti, Trinidad, Guyana, Africa...are these folks really all just "black?" According to the Census, you'd think so. If you live here and pay any attention to your neighbors, you know that THIS - Flatbush, East Flatbush, PLG, Caledonia...is one truly diverse neighborhood. Parts of Queens maybe have more East Asians and Middle Easterners thrown into the mix, but we're holding our own in flags. And these people who call this neighborhood "all-black?" They're coming from some of the whitest places in NYC, nay, the country! Park Slope? Windsor Terrace? Williamsburg? Just check out the map and tell me who's living in the ghetto and who ain't.
Paraphrased from Merriam Webster:
A ghetto is a section of a city occupied by a group who live there especially because of social, economic, or legal pressure. The term ghetto was originally used in Venice to describe the area where Jews were compelled to live. A ghetto is now described as an overcrowded urban area often associated with a specific ethnic or racial population.