Monday, October 26, 2009

Socio-economic segregation vs Racial segregation

For those that may not know me I am fascinated by race, culture, and social class. That being said this weekend I was in Philadelphia this weekend visiting my little brother and on Saturday morning my mom, sister, brother and I and went to IHOP. While at Ihop I saw some white workers and black workers which were from the surrounding area (inner city Philadelphia). Then I compared their working environment to a typical fast food restaurant in New York City. Throughout the city there is a myriad of mcdonalds, Ihops, and kfcs. The only difference is that in New york City the greater majority of the workers are either Black or Latino with the white workers being close to none.

A new part of my consciousness was awakened when I became cognizant of that fact. In Philadelphia there is more of a class distinction rather than an ethnic or racial distinction in the living and working areas. In Philadelphia there is an amalgamation of the black and white community based on socio-economic backgrounds. The lower middle class and lower class lives in the same areas while the upper class and affluent families live in another area regardless of their race. This is why I call Philadelphia economic segregation.

On the other hand in New York City there is a more apparent ethnic distinction in residential areas with varying social classes. In New York City most Dominicans live in a highly concentrated areas such as Washington Heights and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. Just like the Russians who dominate Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn and Albanians who are a densely populated in Pelham Parkway in the Bronx. Despite the difference in economic standing, rich and poor people live in the same areas jsut as long as they share the same race or ethnicity.

In addition The major difference that is seen between New York City and other metropolitan areas is that New York is a melting pot that doesn't mix. What I mean by that is that there is limited cross-cultural and cross-ethnic interaction. Everybody stays with their "own kind" and refuses to expand their horizons and get out of their comfort zones. While it would be an anomaly to find a white female who works at McDonald's in Manhattan it is highly likely to find a white female who works at McDonald's in Philadelphia. New york is one of the most integrated cities with segregated populations. Think about the irony here.

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