Monday, November 10, 2008

Some Right, Some Wrong

An interesting piece, written by a Brit, claims that Obama's cult of personality is largely similar to the one that surrounded Princess Diana. The point is not without merit, but what really caught my eye was this:
I was in Washington DC the night of the election. America’s beautiful capital has a sad secret. It is perhaps the most racially divided city in the world, with 15th Street – which runs due north from the White House – the unofficial frontier between black and white. But, like so much of America, it also now has a new division, and one which is in many ways much more important. I had attended an election-night party in a smart and liberal white area, but was staying the night less than a mile away on the edge of a suburb where Spanish is spoken as much as English, plus a smattering of tongues from such places as Ethiopia, Somalia and Afghanistan.
I live on 14th Street, which, for those unfamiliar with DC geography, is one block East of 15th Street. It's true, from what I understand, that 15th Street used to be a hard line between black and white, and in some places still acts as such, if only because the projects were built along 14th Street. But by in large, this is a pretty silly image of DC. In the past decade, even the blackest, "segregated" pockets of DC have been touched by pockets of gentrification.

In fact, what's interesting is quite the opposite from the point above. What's amazing in DC is that if you go 2 blocks in some direction from just about any wealthy, white neighborhood, you'll find yourself in a poor, black neighborhood—and vice versa.

And sure, it's a form of segregation that the black residents primarily live in poor neighborhoods while the white residents don't—but that's not the same thing as claiming a line of segregation can be drawn through the middle of the city.

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