The people of Illinois are beginning to spend to deal with racial division
The writer is an assistant columnist for FT
I live on one side of the railroads in a small town on the outskirts of Chicago, and most of the city’s black residents live on the other side. Census of 8092 in the U.S. Census, mostly African Americans in Evanston, Illinois life expectancy they are 75.5 years old at birth.
8094 in the census tranche, in the white part of this part of the population of 73,000 (16 percent of which are black), life expectancy at birth is 86 years. That’s what today’s America is all about: a land where the color of one’s skin can be the difference between life and death.
Truism came to life last week when it was broadcast live on U.S. television trial in May last year the white police accused him of killing George Floyd, who caused the biggest protests against racism in the U.S., which has been dead for more than 50 years.
But traumatic police body cameras don’t bring this event of life home for those of us who live in cities in central western America. My morning walk crosses a big gap, from the land of 86-year-old life expectancy to the land of 75-year-old life expectancy, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what it is. The houses on one side are bigger, prettier and newer than many on the other.
Evanston is almost not alone in this: according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank black families accounted for 3% of the total U.S. household wealth iIn 2019, even though it accounted for 15% of households, white families accounted for 85% of wealth but two-thirds of households.
So when Evanston decided in 2019 it became the first city $ 10 million in repair funds for the African American population, it is hardly surprising that they have focused on housing.
Last month, Evanstone City Council voted about eight votes to spend the first $ 400,000 on the fund, which is funded by the Illinois Recreational Marijuana Tax Revenue “Housing Restoration Program”. The fund will provide a maximum of $ 25,000 as an advance on a home to renovate homes or ease a mortgage, enough to help only 16 families. Those who choose must live in Evanston between 1919 and 1969 or be a direct descendant of a person affected by discriminatory housing policies. known as “redlining”. Neighborhoods that were seen as worse or “dangerous” were marked in red on real estate maps, and were mostly black or mixed areas.
Daniel Biss, the elected mayor of Evanstone, says the decision to join a housing-oriented program (Cicely Fleming Alderwoman, the only vote against it) was more than the direct money approved, probably due to a letter the city received. repairs.
With a focus on housing, areas where the city may have a clear history of racial discrimination will be more likely to face challenges that are unconstitutional, said Alvin Tillery, director of the Center for Diversity and Democracy Research at Northwestern University. , Also in Evanston.
“Because of the conservative jurisprudence on racial equity in America, governments are really limited in what they can do. Programs need to be ‘tailored’ to meet specific damage and in this case that damage is diminishing,” he told the Financial Times in an interview.
City Historians Report It tells the story of Evanston housing discrimination: In 1940 most of the city’s black population was confined to the current 8092 census area, a place where life still lasts ten years less.
Tina Paden, 50, lives in a house built by her African-American ancestors in Evanston in the late 1880s. He told the FT that cash payments should go to seniors who were in the minimum life during the reduction period. Most of them will not be classified according to the plan, he is Paden’s agent, as the old black Evanstonians who are now renting will not buy the house so late, and those who have houses cannot do it any favors.
Biss says, “If it works, in terms of moderately reducing the difference, that will be the most compelling argument of all.” Perhaps the story of the two parts will be told differently the next time the 2030 census is done. But if you’re a history guide, that may be too much of a hope.