There are different groups of people who have suffered inequality in the cities. Some of this inequality may have been the result of racism, others may have been the result of gentrification for a higher profit. While some of it might have been started in the 1900s, it is still impacting the lives of these different groups today. African Americans have been segregated for a very long time. There have been many factors responsible for the formation of highly segregated African American communities.
One of these factors was the Jim Crow Laws that ended in 1965. These laws reinforced segregation between white people and African Americans. The Jim Crow Laws segregated jobs, public services, banned racial intermarriage and had unfair judicial punishments since the justice system was biased and favored the whites. The belief in white supremacy has also been a factor for the segregation of African Americans. White supremacy is the belief that white people are superior to people of color, especially African Americans.
Another factor that is responsible for the segregated communities is the housing access blockage. Many African Americans were steered away from living near white neighborhoods, sending them to live in poorer areas. Most of these neighborhoods are known as ghettos. Since they live in these segregated communities, they get little information about jobs and higher education. Most black men have little education, and the thirty percent that do have a high school diploma have been to jail. In the past, police rarely made rounds in those neighborhoods, but today the police can be heard regularly.
Many black children have their fathers in prison. Black men with a record suffer discrimination while trying to find jobs, housing, and health costs. Men who have not been convicted of felonies are being arrested. They are the group with the highest number of incarcerations.
They are also the group with the highest number of victims of police brutality. Some black people have been killed by the police even though they were not resisting or attacking them. Although there were laws passed that reduced segregation, they are not strongly enforced. Immigrant communities have been around for a while. Some of the immigrants came into the country because there were, and still are, demand for low wage workers. They usually settle where it is the nearest to their home country. For example, Asian immigrants settled near the Pacific Ocean and Mexican immigrants settle in the Southwest and in states along the border. After finding a place to settle, they can then become part of enclaves, and start creating networks. The advantage of immigrant communities is that they can help each other find jobs and obtain information. They also can start to develop political power.
Some immigrant groups have had trouble escaping poverty because of the context of reception, which are the politics and policies of the host country. The context of reception varies by immigrant groups. For example, the context of reception for Cubans was different than that of Central Americans, such as Salvadorans. Cubans had a positive reception, which lead to upward mobility. Most of the Cubans who entered the country were white and wealthy (Lecture 5). They were given asylum automatically and support from the United States. They had the opportunity to find jobs that would allow them to climb economically. Central Americans, on the other hand, had a negative reception. They were not given asylum, even though some were fleeing war in their home country. Without refugee status, many became undocumented people. Central Americans were dark and poor, unlike Cubans. Their jobs were more labor work, such as janitorial, with little chance of being able to climb the economical ladder.
If they were all given the same opportunities, immigrant groups would have a higher chance of escaping poverty. The reason why elected officials in neoliberal cities encourage gentrification is because they earn more money for their city. The policy makers are interested in gentrification because the more money they make, the less amount of people will be demanding services. The elected officials care more about the money they will make than the people living there. ““It appears that the needs of production – in particular the need to earn profit – are a more decisive initiative behind gentrification than consumer preference. This shows that one of the main things city officials care about is making a profit, which is why they encourage gentrification. In addition, gentrification could bring improvements to a poor city, since it is used commonly in “urban areas where prior disinvestment in the urban infrastructure creates opportunities for proﬁtable redevelopment.” Elected officials do not need to kick people out of their homes to make more profit and improve their cities, especially since most of them will not be able to find a new home. Gentrification usually affects low income residents and people of color.
It pressures them because their landlord is likely to kick them out in order to increase their rent by at least $1,000 per month. If the landlord decides to kick the residents out, they are given a short notice and have to find a new place to live in that amount of time. If they cannot find a place to live, they usually stay in their cars or go live with relatives for a while. Although, there are some studies that state otherwise. As cited in “Eviction and the Reproduction of Urban Poverty” by Matthew Desmond, “…gentriﬁcation typically visits only a small number of poor neighborhoods and accounts for a small portion of moves among poor renters.” The residents will make greater efforts to stay in their homes even if it means devoting more of their income to rent. Although these studies exist, there is more evidence that gentrification mainly affects low-income, minority people. Overall, there have been many injustices in the cities against groups who are not white. If they were all given the same opportunities, the cities would all have prosperity.