Tree of Eden

Would you live in a black neighborhood? – Topix

Posted in Uncategorized by T.Salami on August 28, 2009

This topic on topix is quite interesting.

“Would you leave in a black neighbourhood?”

Objectively and ideally, the question refers to areas where black people predominantly occupy.

Nothing more, nothing less – no implied, hidden or loaded meanings- it is just an objective description of neighbourhoods largely inhabited by black people.

Yet some responses to this to this forum question show that there is more to that question than its objective connotation. Particularly, the responses reflect a more subjective conception of the question – one which is loaded with implicit meanings that have been socially or/and experientially defined.

“What does a black neighbourhood mean?” – that is the question.

The descriptions by people indicate that black neighbourhoods are not simply neighbourhoods where mostly black people live in but are neighbour hoods more easily contrived as poor, crime and drug ridden neighbourhoods.

Now, it might be true to say that many black neighbourhoods are poor neighbourhoods but to reply to such a question with a conception and perception that targets all black neighbors as poor, crime ridden would be wrong.

Now based on social experiences it is easy to see how the term ‘black neighbourhood’ is easily categorized as poor neighbourhoods yet it seems that for some people it is far more easy to acknowledge this reality than it is to acknowledge another reality which is that many black neighbourhoods are indeed affluent neighbourhoods too.

So the prominent responses react to this question with the far reaching preconception that black neighbourhoods are e.t.c. In essence these preconceptions of black neighbourhoods cast such a wide net that no other type of black neighbourhood exists.

Now, the question itself is loaded with a history so dark that it would turn black on its heels.

Objectively it is hard to consider this question to be veracity simply because the categories ‘black’ and ‘white’ don’t exist in the objective sense rather what exists are shades and not easily definable categories of black or white. If this is the case then it is objectively very hard to ascertain what a black or white neighbourhood is.

But this is not the case. Or at least this is not only the case. Because at a quasi subjective-social level the question is valid especially since such categories do exist at that level. This is further evidenced by the prominent case of Barack Obama who I would argue is a perfect example to indicate the what I mean by objective and subjective social meanings.

Because while objectively speaking, Obama is mixed, he is black socially and subjectively – i.e. subjective to the individual. And it is this latter loaded racialized reality that prevails in America – where race has taken the tone of the tribe in the ‘less developed world’

It is in part this historically loaded racialized American experience that serves to illuminate why and how a half African and half European person is categorized as ‘Black’.

It is this reality that prevails in the question as well. Such that the question in itself becomes a potent reminder of America’s dark history.

Yet a critical approach to the question would illuminate some insights.

For one, those who refer to all black neighbourhoods as e.t.c. might have lived in black neighbourhoods or experienced through some form the harsher realities in those neighbourhoods.

Yet it is not particularly this that I argue against but the tidal and almost innate human ability to easily generalize.

A result of such a mind could produce a question like: what type of black neighbourhood are we speaking of here? the poor ones, the middle class ones, the affluent one?

It is much easier for people to generalize and stereotype all ‘black neighbourhoods’ as e.t.c. But are we to say then that all white neighbourhoods are more well off, with less crime and little drugs?

My argument against those who have generalized preconceptions is to ask that they acknowledge that other realities of ‘black neighbourhoods’ exist – one where black neighbourhoods does not automatically mean less economically well of neighbourhoods.

My other argument is that other reality -economics- is more dominant here than the historically racialized American reality.

Race and economics.

Crucially it is economics that define these ‘black neighbourhoods’ in that they are poor neighbourhoods which then mean more crime.

Had it been the economic reality that prevailed in America, the question might have been: “Would you live in a poor neighbourhood?” and ideally, that would have been a better question

But it is not till America is free from its racial chains and its past that such more objective categories as economics will come to dominate over.

In that event however, racialized America and economized America – with its own set of problems.

Till that time it will continue to be the case that “black neighbourhoods” will be more easily associated with the poor, crime ridden neighbourhood.


4 Responses

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  1. […] Read the original post: Would you live in a black neighborhood? – Topix […]

  2. John said, on March 6, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Hell no, black people hate white people. If they are not killing, robbing , or raping whitey – they are thinking about it.

  3. Mila said, on March 24, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I would not live in black Neighborhood.

  4. romttt said, on April 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    what if all the black people in that neighbor hood were half white??

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