Wed, 30 September 2015
The Whites Are Coming! The Whites Are Coming!: Gentrification Surging in U.S. Cities
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford
“Twenty-one of the 50 biggest cities in the country have added significant white populations over the past four years.”
The Washington Post gleefully reported that Detroit – the nation’s Blackest metropolis, at 82 percent African American – has gotten significantly whiter. In an article last week, the Post seemed to welcome the news that 8,000 new white people set up residence in Detroit in the year 2014, increasing the overall white population by 14,000 since 2010.
This surge in white settlement in Detroit, mainly by young professionals taking advantage of the collapse of the city and its housing market, is part of a stunning acceleration in gentrification, nationwide. According to Brookings Institution demographer William Frey, 21 of the 50 biggest cities in the country have added significant white populations over the past four years.
Only five cities have lost white residents since 2010: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Sacramento, Tulsa, and Tucson. In about half of the rest, including Chicago, Houston, Boston, Miami and St. Louis, the white population has remained essentially unchanged. But Austin, Texas, has added 60,000 new white residents in the past four years, after a 20 percent increase in growth during the first decade of the century. During that same period, the Black population of Austin shrank by more than 5 percent. Blacks were pushed out to the suburbs, while whites took their places in the central city.
The surge has brought 38,000 more whites to Los Angeles, Denver and Seattle, 32,000 additional Caucasians to Dallas, 25,000 more Euro-Americans to Washington, DC, and 23,000 more to Portland, Oregon, which has been described as the most gentrifying city in country. Meanwhile, Portland’s Black community is being rapidly dispersed.
“The Black population of Austin shrank by more than 5 percent.”
The white tide is running high in Omaha, New York, Raleigh and Atlanta, each of which added over 20,000 Caucasians since 2010. Charlotte drew in 17,000 white newcomers; San Antonio and San Francisco, 12,000 each; and New Orleans capped off the white recovery from the Black catastrophe of Katrina by absorbing 13,000 new Euro-Americans – while 100,000 Black Katrina refugees have been unable to return.
Oklahoma City, Kansas City, and Columbus, Ohio, each added 10 to 11,000 whites. Oakland, California, which was 47 percent Black in 1980, now stands at just 27 percent African American. The city lost fully one-quarter of its Black population to gentrification between 2000 and 2010. But the whites, they keep on coming, with 9,000 more arriving in the past four years.
Louisville, Kentucky, added 3,000 whites, and 1,000 additional Euro-Americans set up households in Baltimore, which is still 63 percent Black. It’s not yet clear what effect the recent rebellion in Baltimore will have on whites’ willingness to move there.
But of course, even though it looks to some as if white people have organized a nationwide invasion of Black communities, the reality is that Capital – Wall Street – has decided to reclaim the cities, and to create urban environments amenable to affluent white investors and professionals. That means moving the Black folks out – with lots of help from low-life, treasonous Black politicians, without whose assistance the Great Black Urban Displacement could not have occurred.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.