Sure, Asheville is segregated — let the discussions begin

What a week! Jerry Sternberg owns that his is a generation recovering from racism and challenges the business community to be honest about hiring illegal immigrants (another racial minority), and Mountain Xpress has a discussion online regarding whether Asheville is segregated! Juicy!

First, kudos to Jerry for his blunt honesty. Admitting you are in recovery is emotionally and spiritually challenging on the self-image, and it is liberating to choose to change.

Next, Paul van Heden is correct that '"segregation" is a loaded word. Got any more accurate language? I remember when Montford was almost all black. Now it's redeveloped and mostly white. There's more tax base as a result of this yuppification. I used to live on MLK, and now live by South French Broad. Both are overwhelmingly black. South French Broad is getting yuppified a house at a time. Other neighborhoods I've lived in here are totally white. Isn't that the textbook definition of de facto segregation? Look at the population of the housing projects. Which races live there? Does any design feature strike you when looking at most of them, such as many are isolated by being on ridge tops, surrounded by highways, fences or businesses? Wasn't that the classic definition of a ghetto: a walled settlement separated from the surrounding city?

How often do white readers of this paper use the services of black-owned businesses?

Asheville City Schools is no longer under court decree to integrate Randolph or Jones Elementary [schools], because Randolph is no longer an elementary school. ACS still balances school assignments for elementary students to maintain some integration. Asheville High has a 37.1 percent dropout rate with only 40 percent of its entering ninth-grade black males graduating (the stats are online on the ACS web site). People of color are completely over-represented in the dropout rate. … Look at the private schools: They are almost entirely lily white. Look at the colleges: again, blanco!

Regarding future development: With the history of neighborhood shredding that has happened in Asheville, is it any wonder that African-Americans do not trust city planners? (That's right, stand up, Johnnie Grant, and speak the truth!)

Black friends of mine who are visiting or move here ask where the black people are. I've heard white friends who have lived here for years become surprised to learn that more than a few black people even live in Asheville.

Of course, the story is not entirely simple and one-sided. But it sure is easy to portray that perspective….

The questions these facts raise are where I hope this discussion will progress. Does it matter that Asheville is segregated? Are people in Asheville freely choosing segregation? … Is de facto segregation de facto racism? If Asheville wants to do something about it, then do the white people have most of the decision-making power…?

Let's continue this rich discussion.

— Andy Weatherly

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7 thoughts on “Sure, Asheville is segregated — let the discussions begin

  1. travelah

    Are you opposed to allowing people to live where they choose if they ahve the economic means to do so?

  2. dhalgren

    ”The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other. It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich. Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied but written off as trash. The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.”
    – John Berger

  3. JWTJr

    All cities are pretty segregated. Just like most of the world is pretty segregated. The trend is reversing as population pressure increases, but very slowly.

    dh – Tell the poor of the past how good they really had it. I think they might disagree with your man’s quote there.

  4. travelah

    dh, I thnk society needs to take everything you have and give it to another group of people for a change. How about it?

  5. gabriel shaffer

    dh- Poor folks dont have the time or liberty usually to wax philosophical, theyre to busy trying to survive and live whatever kind of life they can muster in the struggle.
    Travelah, youve got an attitude problem and i like that.
    In fact, ive always been of the opinion that natural selection should apply to the human race.
    That my friend would be a truly interesting world.
    Who do you think has a stronger will to survive the poor or the rich?

  6. travelah

    gabriel, I am not a fan of social darwinism. As for my attitude, it’s not a problem at all. If some pseudo-philosopher is going to whine about what somebody else as earned of their own accord and advocate taking it, let them step to the front of the seizure line.

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