Racial Inequality on Long Island

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Elaine Gross, president of E.R.A.S.E. Racism, discusses racial inequality on Long Island and 10 years of working to close racial barriers to equal education and housing.


Elaine Gross

Comments [23]

Deborah from Baldwin, NY

I moved to Baldwin almost 2 years ago because the population is solidly middle class, has very good schools, is racially diverse and is not too far from the city. At my kids' elementary school, where all students are "walkers", according to NYS D. of Ed. it's about 38% Black, 38% White, 20% Hispanic and 2% other. A small but committed group of residents are working to make sure that Baldwin maintains this diversity, while improving the schools & community (for ex. there is still an achievement gap in testing and the school staff is not diverse). Come to Baldwin and help us make it an even better place for everyone!!

Jun. 09 2011 01:29 PM
Nancy Gagnier from Maplewood

Racially integrated communities, with integrated neighborhoods, good schools, and good community relations are possible--with the work and commitment of the residents and the town leaders. Through the efforts of the Community Coaltion on Race, the towns of Maplewood and South Orange, NJ have been working on intentional integration for 15 years. While maintaining stable integration is an on-going process, these towns have experienced a level of success in creating an integration culture--one that benefits the entire community in all areas that contribute to quality of life, including schools, housing values, civic life, business, and government. Visit our website to see the kind of work we do; We'd be happy to talk to any community groups and leaders working on integration.

Jun. 09 2011 12:24 PM
perri from NYC

Historian James Loewen discusses Levittown in his book "Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism." A sundown town is "any organized jurisdiction that for decades kept African Americans or other groups from living in it and was thus 'all-white' on purpose." Levittown, on LI was considered a "sundown suburb." The book notes that the Levitt organization "refused to sell to blacks for two decades after [World War II]." In 2000, of the 53,067 residents only 266 were black.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to listening to this segment when the download becomes available.

Jun. 09 2011 12:23 PM
The Truth from Becky

Again, we are to immature to discuss race relations in the country. Someone here said that the "bussed in Blacks" were unable to adapt to a middle class way of life! NEWS FLASH there is a Black Middle Class as well my dear and WE rode in on the train to the "other" neighborhood in the 70s as well...adapting to class was not the problem, but the angry whites and italians were a problem, true enough, never experienced that much racial prejudice before or since the 4 years in Bensonhurst!!

Jun. 09 2011 12:09 PM
Lisa DeLoria Weinblatt from Bayside, NY

I am listening to your show today on racial inequity.
I am a Bayside, Queens, visual artist, painter, whose series SCHOOL LUNCH is created from visiting NYC & Long Island High Schools and Colleges, and drawing students in actual educational settings. My paintings reflect the distribution of ethnicity found at the schools. The SCHOOL LUNCH series, exhibited in over 50 LI & NYC Museums, Public Libraries, and Universities is currently on solo exhibits in Petersburg and Norfolk, VA and a multi-media piece is currently at Boricua College, NYC.
Nabisco Corporation Gallery exhibited the artwork in "Faces of America:Celebrating Diversity & Multi-Culturalism ". Please view my website -
I t may be interesting/nsightful to have a talk show with myself and other artists who explore diversity .

Jun. 09 2011 12:00 PM
adrienne from UWS, NYC

I spent my teen age years in Westwood in suburban Los Angeles in the 1970's. Black kids were bussed in from East LA and it was something of a disaster. The kids couldn't really adapt to a middle class way of life, there were a lot of black kids that liked to bully. I think black kids that wanted to do well had a hard time of it too. It was just a huge culture clash. You can't just dump kids together, its not fair to anyone. I don't believe this is authentic integration.

Jun. 09 2011 11:57 AM
jmurphy from Floral Park, NY

The point missing from this interview is that integrated schools are needed because we are all living in the same geographic area, and our students will eventually be competing for jobs in the same geographic areas.

But if kids are not equally prepared via equal opportunities, they cannot equally compete, thereby perpetuating the low-income cycle by keeping kids from lower income neighborhoods from being able to move into jobs that could elevate their status.

Bottom line is, why should 1 child who lives in an upper class neighborhood get a better education than a child 6 blocks away who lives in a low-income neighborhood (i.e. Garden City and Hempstead)? To me it is shameful that children so close geographically would be treated so different educationally.

Jun. 09 2011 11:50 AM
fu2 from usa

Lehrer, everytime you have a show about "race" you make it seem like a "WTF" factor. "Really?...There is"? The reason LI is the way it is is because they dont want minorities living there. You do the same when a Black kid id murderd by police.."Does this indicate a problem? lets investigate" Why dont you go undercover and talk to those russians and isralies who live there what they think about "intergrating" thier communities. They would feel the same as you would if you woke up and looked out your window and saw 10 moving trucks parked on your block I/F/O your building all of 'em filled with minorities moving in.

Jun. 09 2011 11:46 AM
Heather from Connecticut

We have school districts "by town" in Fairfield County, CT and it is one of the most segregated places I have every lived! How can we prepare our children for a diverse world when everyone in their schools looks just like them?

Jun. 09 2011 11:45 AM
Roland Nicholson from Boston

I went to law school at Hofstra years ago. One day a kindly senior partner, who I didn't know, at a big firm in Suffolk graciously invited me to lunch one day. His advice to me; there were 2 Black lawyers in Suffolk County. So don't even thinkl about living there. Hempstead, Roosevelt, Garden City. Little has changed.

Jun. 09 2011 11:42 AM
lou from east village

I grew up in Baldwin in the 70's and there were only 2 black kids in the high school. My elementary school was about 85% jewish. I hated growing up there, people were so narrow minded. Glad to hear it's more diverse now.

Jun. 09 2011 11:42 AM
tony from bayside

I think rush or hannity is on now...i wouldn't want you to miss it...

Jun. 09 2011 11:41 AM
Dave from Plainview

I went to high school in Northport. While there was never any kind of segregation on the part of school's teachers or administrators, there was a disturbing comfort among the students in separating the African-American and Hispanic students from extracurricular activities and the general community. The part of the school where many of the minority students tended to hang out became known as "Little Harlem," and rumored that many of the students who hung out there were bussed in from nearby Brentwood and Wyandanch.

All of this in a supposedly progressive community, in a school that promoted inclusivity at any chance, it just seemed like the problem came from the old prejudices of parents.

Jun. 09 2011 11:40 AM
J from Manhattan

I moved to Long Island in junior high and found it to be extremely colloquial and difficult for outsiders to integrate into, no matter your race (I'm white). Example: I'm from Pittsburgh. When kids in my class found I was from Pennsylvania and not from Philadelphia, they asked if I was Quaker. Quaker became my (unwanted) nickname for the 2 years I lived there.

Jun. 09 2011 11:38 AM
DarkSymbolist from NYC!

What? There's racial segregation on Long Island? *gasp*
Yeah, I coulda told you that

Jun. 09 2011 11:38 AM
Fuva from Harlemworld

Issue is more complex than as presented here:
On the one hand there's segregation, which hurts all due to lack of cross-cultural/racial exposure.
On the other hand there's the relative poverty/ lack of resources of the black schools. Why is that?
BOTH of these need address.

Jun. 09 2011 11:37 AM
Brenda from Saddle River

oh please. this kind of segment is increasingly tiresome.

Jun. 09 2011 11:37 AM
Telegram Sam from Staten Island

I totally agree with the guest about segregation on Long Island. I grew up in Suffolk and there was one black person in my class (adopted), 3 in my school). Surrounding towns tended to be black OR white, and I didn't know a black person until I moved to NYC. The racism I knew was mostly "soft," though I was young and wasn't exposed to the real dirty stuff like redlining or job discrimination.

Jun. 09 2011 11:36 AM
tony from bayside

Are there any towns that are like maplewood/south orange nj (i.e., park
slope of the suburbs) on long island?

Jun. 09 2011 11:35 AM
Laura Williams from Baldwin NY

I am happy to report that Baldwin LI is the exception to the rule. White, black and brown live in the same neighborhoods, educate their kids in the same schools. People (of all races) are moving here BECAUSE of the diversity. The best of the burbs, with GENUINE diversity. Baldwin's got it going on!

Jun. 09 2011 11:30 AM
Arthur from NY

I read this woman's "opinion" in the paper. This is the equivalent of forced busing and this kind of talk is what is giving "strength" to all those "nuts" on the right and many "liberal" (yes, liberal!) middle clas folk like me. People moved to different areas in long island, to have a better life for their children. I have no problem with people that can afford to move to King Point or sands point, eventhough I could never dream of living there. If they want to spend more of their personnal money on their schools and lawns - it's their right!.
What americans want is a "fair" deal - an opportnunity to improvve their lives, not a mandate from the government that everyone should have the same amount of money!. This woman is a sad case - progressives in this state and country will continue to lose ground in this country when people like her advocate this stuff.
Under her thinkinh, I should be guaranteed that I am allowed to move to Sands point or that Sands point people should, give up their mansions and money and down size to our level. GET REAL!

Jun. 09 2011 11:17 AM
jmurphy from Floral Park, Long Island

There was a recent blurb on AOL about the 10 most segregated places in America, and Nassau/Suffolk was number 10.

I don't know why Long Island is still as segregated as it is today, but as a white born-again Christian democrat (yes, you read that correctly) living in a largely white Republican neighborhood, I can tell you I am very uncomfortable with monotonous, exclusionary homogeny and would welcome the opportunity to be part of a solution.

Thank you for discussing this, Brian.

Jun. 09 2011 10:19 AM
Salih Abdus-Salaam from New York, NY

I use to live in Kings Park on Pulaski Rd. Down the block from where I lived is a Dunkin Donuts shop. Some time ago, under new ownership, they started selling the Newsday paper. In the morning a predominately white clientele would come in order their morning coffee, etc., and by the Newsday paper. One day, the front cover of Newsday was picture a young Afro-American girl. She had won some sort of cooking/baking contest for healthy food. Thus, she won a trip to Washington, D.C. and was to meet the President. Well, the majority of that particular Newsday paper stayed on the rack morning, noon, and night. I told one of the workers that this is some sad commentary. That in the 21st century this particular issue did not garner any significant buys. I knew the that I was living in a cultural wasteland. This thing called "whiteness" is a disease that rapes America of realizing her full potential.

Jun. 09 2011 09:51 AM

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