Thursday, June 12, 2008
This is part four of a continuing series, background here. Previous drawings can be found from yesterday's item here. This appears in the classroom and office building stairwell nearest my office, and has been left up for months.
I am not interested, for those who have asked, in having this display taken down. It's not my job to decide what the university wants to present to students, staff and visitors (read: parents and incoming freshmen visiting campus for orientation). I would rather have this material out there for people to see, as it is my opinion that this is what the campus views as part of its function.
The picture is innocuous enough, containing two houses with one neighbor greeting the other, "Hey how's it going?" Kids on the swing. But the caption indicates that the reason they great each other so cheerily is because they are of the same race. Does your neighborhood look like this? Or is this some hazy memory of the past?
UPDATED (1pm): While tossing out papers on my desk -- a neverending task -- I stumbled across this article from the Philadelphia Fed. The data provided says neighborhoods are still relatively segregated, and argues that when given experiments to choose which neighbors someone would like to have, African-Americans preferred a neighborhood where two of five of their neighbors were of their own race, a fraction greater than you would find in the general population. The author believes discrimination does play a role, but not the only role, in the racial composition of neighborhoods.