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