Streams

The Strange Story of Integration in America

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tanner Colby points out that while racial equality is the law of the land, actual integration is still hard to find, and that in most of the country, black people and white people don’t spend much time together—at work, school, church, or anywhere. Colby set out to discover why, and in Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America he chronicles America’s relationship with race and integration.

Guests:

Tanner Colby

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Comments [12]

SHELLY

FOR JOHN FROM OFFICE. IF YOU NEW ANY BETTER THERE IS A LACK OF PARENTING BECAUSE MANY BLACKS ARE NOT AFFORDED THE OPPORTUNITIES A WHITES AND IN TURN THEY HAVE TO WORK EXTRA HARD AT MINIMUM WAGE JOBS WHICH KEEP MANY MOTHERS AND FATHERS AWAY FROM THEIR CHILDREN FROM LONG PERIODS OF TIME. DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT THESE PARENTS HAVE MONEY FOR NANNIES, OR PLAY DATES, OR THINGS THAT WILL ENHANCE THEIR KIDS LIVES. NO. TRUTH BE TOLD THEY ARE WORKING TO MAINTAIN THE BARE NECESSITIES OF LIFE! SO BEFORE YOU BASH THESE KIDS WHY DON'T YOU EXAMINE THE HISTORY OF BLACKS IN AMERICA! WHITES HAVE BEEN BEATING US OVER THE HEAD FOREVER AND ONLY WITHIN THE LAST 50 YEARS HAVE THE LAWS CHANGED, SO STOP IT. THIS IS WHY I AS AN EDUCATED BLACK PERSON LOOK TO SHUT PEOPLE LIKE YOU DOWN BY BEING THE BEST IN EVERYTHING I DO. I AM A WEST INDIAN AMERICAN AND I ALWAYS MAKE SURE THAT I OUTWEIGH THE COMPETITION WHEN IT COMES TO SCHOOLING AND MAKE SURE THAT I ALWAYS GET THE HIGHEST GRADES BECAUSE AT THE END OF DAY DAY BLACK PEOPLE ARE TALENTED AND BRIGHT PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN TAUGHT TO BE DIVIDED BY WHITES, AND SADLY THAT MENTAL BREAKDOWN HAS FOLLOWED US FROM SLAVERY. THE SLAVE MASTER TOOK THE FATHER FROM THE HOME REGULARLY AND IT STILL CONTINUES TODAY. NO. WE AS BLACKS NEED TO BREAK THAT CYCLE BECAUSE IDIOTS LIKE YOU COME ONLINE TALKING CRAP!

Aug. 09 2012 10:42 PM
Harlan Barnhart from Brooklyn

As a southerner moving to NY 12 years ago I was amazed at the segregation. It seems to me there is more meaningful integration in rural Georgia than in NYC. To my southern eye the primary energy driving Long Island is moving to as "white" a neighborhood as your two incomes will allow.

In rural Georgia school children are bused 30 miles to maintain integration, the equivalent of sending children from East NY to Westchester or from Hewlett Harbor to Hempstead. It's not uncommon to see children waiting for a but at 6:30am. I doubt New Yorkers are that dedicated to integration.

Jul. 11 2012 08:56 PM
Peter Talbot from Harrison, NJ

I grew up in Corona and Bed Stuy. I live in an ivory tower community next to Newark, NJ. I rent part of my property to kids that go to one of the many schools in the area (Rutgers, NJIT, JC College, Essex CC, Seton Hall, Bloomfield, et al). Over the past ten years my tenants have changed from Chinese to Indian to Caribbean black. Few others in my community do as I do, but I'm way too aggressive to be called out publicly on it.

The truth is simple: black folks know that pale folks come in three basic types: know-nothings that waver between unrecognizing fear and prejudicial hatred of the different; wonder-breads that are so captivated by the chance to pretend civility that masks arrogance that they are walking targets for con games; rich folks that shun and run. These three basic types are mirrored in the inner city black community: know-nothings that waver between self-pity and the anger that comes easily from despair at the way things are; tutti-fruiti that pass for black or white depending on the amount of flourescent lighting near the salad bars; rich folks that shun and run.

We are our brothers' keepers. If we did unto others as we would have done unto us, there would be no problem that could not be solved. The first step is humility. We are all prejudiced. Freedom comes first by acting against type and developing a sense of humor about our own failings. There is no need to walk on eggshells here: we is all guilty as charged. Every last one of us.

Jul. 11 2012 01:43 PM

I grew up in a "sundown town."

When my friend's sister was 4, she was taken downtown for Christmas shopping, a big event.

She was in the Dept. store elevator when a black woman came in. This little girl took one look at the woman and burst into tears--she thought she'd had been horribly burned.

Jul. 11 2012 01:11 PM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

In high school in central NJ in the late 70's, there was plenty of hostility on both sides. Plenty of racist whites & plenty of blacks with a chip on their shoulders.

The rest of us just wanted to go to school & be left out of the hostilities.

Jul. 11 2012 01:03 PM

can we talk about reverse racism and how there is a trend with some young black kids in urban environments calling white people names such as "crackas"?

Jul. 11 2012 12:58 PM
sandra from the bronx

I am a Caucasian female who lives in The Bronx and hence I am the minority. Even though most of the people in my neighborhood are mostly Black, I still gravitate towards White people...perhaps it is just a common culture and personality style?

Still, living in this neighborhood has helped me to accept and not fear Black people, as I believe many other people in less integrated areas do!

Jul. 11 2012 12:58 PM
john from office

My elementary school was Integrated in Brooklyn in the 60s, with "kids" from the Lindsay Park Projects. It lead to violence, crime and bullying. Not a positive experience for this listener. There seems to be a lack of self control and parenting.

Jul. 11 2012 12:52 PM

Why is so difficult for most black and white to be really close? Good question. I grew up in the housing projects and have lived in predominantly black neighborhoods for over half my life, but can't say I've ever had a close black friend. Not even much of a distant black friend.

I once lived on a kibbutz in Israel where I tended to the chickens, and notice that the mostly white chickens did not eat at the same feeding bucket with the few black chickens who at alone. Why? Beats me. Many theories may be proposed, but in the end, it is what it is.

Jul. 11 2012 12:50 PM
Lilly from nyc

I spent 10 days in London. One big thing I noticed is that there were groups of friends of all races and religions (including women in hijabs) hanging out together, having fun in parks etc, mostly teenagers and mid-twenties. One thing you notice in NY is that there are homogeneous groups, whites with whites , blacks with blacks etc. You do see a couple of friends of different race, but not big inclusive groups.

Jul. 11 2012 12:49 PM
fuva from harlemworld

It's been 40 years since we started to deal with compounding problems accumulated over 400 years (BEFORE the Declaration of Independence). There's much more work to do that'll take more time.

Jul. 11 2012 12:48 PM
ashish raval from manhattan

in my own experience people left mixed race friendships for ones of their own race right around the time they were settled in their career & getting ready to get married in a positive effort to be a somebody or leader in their community .

Jul. 11 2012 12:48 PM

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