Monday, March 9, 2009

Geographic connection to social class

I was thinking the other day about geographic location of cities and their connection with crime and demographics. I have noticed that the southern areas of most cities are the most poverty stricken areas. The Northern parts are usually the most affluent areas. If the dichotomy is not as polarized the northern and southern areas still tend to be demographically and economically distinct. Maybe it could be a conspiracy where the government or society subconsciously or consciously pigeonholed everybody from the lower economic strata in one area and it always tend to be in the south. Or maybe it just happened to be that way. But this within itself has some powerful symbolism. South represents down. So it can be either interpreted as society regarding these areas as inferior or the people who draw these district lines and set the geographic boundaries trying to keep the population in these "southern areas down".

Lets take the Bronx for example. The Bronx in general but more specifically the southern part of the Bronx in recent history has been the residential area for the black and Latino underclass. It was jaw dropping when I rode the train one day and had an epiphany. I was downtown around 42nd street and as the train's trajectory progressed uptown towards the Bronx more and more Whites and Asians got off the train ad more Blacks and Latinos boarded the train. I was in the awe at how polarized most neighborhoods and boroughs were. New York's segregation has less to do with race and more with social class. I believe the Bronx is the most concentrated borough in terms of the minority population or people of color if you will. This is also the borough with the lowest social class and is home to many blue collar workers. It has been like this since the 60s when the Bronx was in the worse predicament socioeconomically. Plagued by the crack epidemic, low employment rate, high crime rate, and landlords incinerating buildings to collect insurance, it was a city of chaos and turmoil and it was deemed as one of the worst national urban centers crimewise.

If you go to LA the southern part is also the worst part crimewise and it is what would be defined in slang as "the hood". The southern part contains Watts and Compton which are two districts that have highest crime rates in Los Angeles and possibly in the state of California. they also have the lowest income per household which makes sense, since there is a significant trend between crime ad poverty. These two areas are predominantly black and Latino.

Lets go to "Chi-town" Chicago. This city's southern quadrant also has the highest crime rate in the city of Chicago. This area is predominantly Black and also has a low median household income. Atlanta and Philadelphia's southsides are also the most impoverished areas in their respective cities. This is apparent throughout the Unites States not just New York City or Los Angeles. It is a ubiquitous problem.

The property value in these urban centers are also low which explains the poor surrounding schools and lack of resources. Now my question is: was this geographically constructed on purpose to isolate all the poor people in "the southern areas" to signify oppression and avoid the dissemination of the underclass? Or was it just set up like this subconsciously. I will leave that question for you to answer. Until next time this is ARod signing off!

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