NAACP Decries “Urban Apartheid”

Thomas MacMillan PhotoBlack New Haveners lag 40 points behind white peers on reading tests, have half the average income of white families, and are concentrated together in struggling neighborhoods. There’s a name for that situation, according to the NAACP: “Urban Apartheid.”

That’s the title of a new report released Thursday by the Greater New Haven branch of the NAACP.

A year in the making, the report details many challenges minorities face in and around New Haven, and lays out some suggested solutions, including calling on the suburbs for help.

“We are almost at the point of having a permanent underclass,” branch President James Rawlings said at a press conference at NAACP headquarters on Whalley Avenue. That underclass is mostly non-white and concentrated in poor urban neighborhoods, he said. For children growing up in such situations, “knowing where they’re born, we know they have no future,” Rawlings said.

He called out a few key statistics from the 25-page “Urban Apartheid” report, which focuses on challenges in education, economic equity, healthy neighborhoods, and civic engagement. Click here to read the full report compiled by the NAACP.

Among the stats he mentioned:

- In New Haven, 66 percent of white students are reading at goal level by third grade, versus 26 percent of black students.

- Ninety-eight percent of families with incomes of over $50,000 have access to the internet, versus 78 percent of families below that income level, in greater New Haven.

- Twelve percent of minorities say they have trouble paying their rent or mortgage, versus just 4 percent of non-minorities in the greater New Haven metropolitan area.

- Median income for black families in New Haven County has dropped $9,000 since 2008, compared to a drop of less than $3,000 for white families, who have an average income that’s nearly twice as high as black families.

- Black people have less access to transportation, and thus have less access to jobs and longer commutes when they do have jobs.

“These are systematic issues we need to deal with,” Rawlings said.

Rawlings was joined at the press conference by noted child psychiatrist Dr. James Comer, who emphasized the importance of equal access to a good education. The mayors of New Haven and Hamden and the head of the United Way all spoke of the importance of regional cooperation to deal with the problems presented in the report.

“We can’t have one town bearing the burden,” Rawlings said. He said the people who “fall out” in the suburbs end up on the New Haven Green.

Among the efforts towards regional cooperation, he said the NAACP will be asking the federal Housing and Urban Development agency (HUD) to locate public housing in “healthy communities” in the suburbs, instead of concentrating them in the city.

Rawlings said the NAACP will be taking the report on a “road show” through 12 nearby towns, and the group will be meeting with the South Central Regional Council of Governments and the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce.

Rawlings said he anticipates facing “a lot of NIMBY [Not In My BackYard] as we go forward.”

But that’s nothing new, he said. “These are the same issues we’ve been going through for the last 200 years.”

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posted by: THREEFIFTHS on March 28, 2013  7:00pm

That’s the title of a new report released Thursday by the Greater New Haven branch of the NAACP.

A year in the making, the report details many challenges minorities face in and around New Haven, and lays out some suggested solutions, including calling on the suburbs for help.

The NAACP should have taken the advice of these brothers.

Black people should not look to whites for charity forever. What we lack is self help and self reliance. We are always wanting somebody to do something for us. As a race we are too envious, malicious and superficial, and because of this we keep ourselves back———MARCUS GARVEY (from his lecture at Collegiate Hall in Kingston Jamaica , given in 1915)

If white people were dependent on others, they would not be as successful as they are today. If Japan were dependent on other countries, she would not be as successful as she is today. As long as the Negro is dependent on other groups, he will remain the lowest down——-MARCUS GARVEY

W.E.B. Du Bois, “The Talented Tenth,” from The Negro Problem: A Series of Articles by Representative Negroes of To-day (New York, 1903).

posted by: Dean Moriarty on March 29, 2013  1:54am

This is just such a skewed report.  I’ve read the entire document and yet I fail to see where these claims are backed up, as they present as rationalist rather than empirical data.  I’m sorry but I’m white (my apologies) and I’ve owned a house in a struggling neighborhood in NH for over 25 years.  Have I had problems with making the mortgage?  Absolutely.  Many tough times.  So please, NAACP, don’t make struggling a race issue.  You discredit yourself and make solving problems all that much more unattainable.

posted by: anonymous on March 29, 2013  10:27am

Dean, if it’s not a “race & place” issue then what is it?  It’s definitely an economic issue, one that if we don’t fix our city can’t compete so well with the rest of the world.

From the report:

“Connecticut Department of Public Health, Vital Statistics web page (2013). In 2010, the infant mortality rate per 1,000 live births in New Haven was 9.5 deaths per 1,000 live births – a rate significantly higher than that of the State of Connecticut as a whole (5.2 deaths per 1,000 live births).

“Out of the 19 infant deaths in New Haven, 12 were African-American and 5 were Hispanic ethnicity. These proportions do not seem to change significantly from year to year.”

posted by: Christopher Schaefer on March 29, 2013  12:33pm

After WWII segregation essentially was subsidized by the Federal Govt. Veterans were given low interest mortgages to purchase housing. However, the mortgages only could be used to purchase a newly built home. Simultaneously the government began the massive interstate highway construction program. Ill-conceived urban renewal programs razed entire neighborhoods.  All of these factors contributed to an explosion of all-white suburban sprawl, sucking the economic life-blood out of cities, exacerbating racial & economic divisions.
However, one could argue that Dr. Comer has reversed the order of cause and effect by stating ”There once was a day when a strong family and home life could be built on a non-college job”. Yet, if the great majority of black & Latino children are growing up in single-parent homes, perhaps Dr. Comer should review statistics showing “There once was a day when a strong family and home life could produce better educational results.” 
Keep in mind that our careerist politicians—the vast majority of whom are white & wealthy—have much to gain by maintaining the status quo, while claiming to be advocates of the poor. They keep the various Assistance programs just enough to get minority voters hooked, so these Politician Advocates will continue to be re-elected, but not enough “assistance” for constituents to free themselves and make significant changes in their lives.  Throw in a hefty dose of govt.-sponsored, laissez faire, situational morality and you have the nefarious scam that Star Parker (of Urban Cure) refers to as Uncle Sam’s Plantation. 
Minority advocates need to stop turning to the govt. for solutions, because real solutions have not been—and never will be—found there. Turn to your own community, your own families, your own religious and fraternal institutions. The govt. you keep turning to has spent over half a century destroying the foundations of minority communities:  the family.

posted by: Brutus2011 on March 29, 2013  12:59pm

Urban apartheid is an apt description.

And yes race,or more specifically skin colour, is an issue in Amerikkka.

Look, I am member of the African American community. The people who raised and loved me are of African American and American Indian descent and they are the finest people I have ever known.

The opportunities for my ancestors were not as plentiful as for those of European American descent. This is a fact and not only that, it is getting worse. I can attest to that from my own experience.

White people get the jobs. I have to be twice as good to even stand a chance. And I am good.
But you know what, it is not what you know, it is who you know. Which brings us to the real issue and I am going to get in trouble over this.

We are a decidedly a people with no unity.We are marginalized by the greater society because of that fact.

Time to stop blaming “whitey” and look in the mirror.

posted by: JimmieG on March 30, 2013  8:11am

Sad to say but this is just another media hype these things have been known for years. It’s really time for the NAACP to stop jumping on or creating issues that are old news which show its diminished relevance and get out into the trenches where the real action is, no more dog and pony shows needed. But thanks for reminding us and let us know what to do next because there is real work to.

posted by: Jones Gore on March 30, 2013  2:07pm

The NAACP ...Should be happy, We integrated with whites and copied their ways. It just doesn’t work for us as a whole.

We have a unique history in this country that hangs over our head that needs to be dealt with. God will never bless us until we return to Islam.