By Sean C. Bowers
“Change your thinking, walk together, keep on walking,” pours from the stereo repeatedly, like sweet honey from a rock into the incense-filled room. My soul aches as I piece together America’s highly compartmentalized racism each week in the New Journal and Guide.
A recent PBS television documentary showed exactly where discriminatory housing red-lining started in 1910. A childhood friend of mine validated the documentary when he showed me his grandfather’s 1960’s property title in a King’s Grant, Virginia Beach neighborhood. Sure enough, it contained the nationally pervasive restrictive non-white boiler plate language.
The deed confirmed for this reader, the fifty years of White America’s hate-based red-lining, main-lining, pipe-lining all minorities into (our local) American urban (Soweto-like) ghettoes of Virginia Beach’s Seatack and Atlantis section-8 projects.
In 1910, Minnesota’s red-lining concept was created by local real estate tycoons to save Whites from having Black neighbors. Five thousand Whites showed up in their new Black neighbor’s yard and protested for over two months. In the 1950-60’s, those same red-lined minority communities were confiscated under the city’s eminent domain seizures to build the downtown Minneapolis interstate freeways and bypasses.
Minorities were first forced to live in neighborhoods where they could not accrue value (family wealth) as fast, (if at all) as the higher valued White (non red-lined) neighborhoods which prospered, accruing actual wealth from their property investments. Then, for the triple dip, the land was de-valued and claimed for pennies on the dollar, making it impossible for those minority owners to ever move ahead into a more financially stable position. They were left tail feathers, out, scattered to the wind. The fourth dip came when they then tried to go find a new home in more expensive neighborhoods and were steered by unscrupulous realtors to loans at higher interest rates, dip five. This pattern was reflected in Compton, California and communities all across America.
George Floyd was just a visitor who recently moved to Minneapolis. As a native Texan, he was exposed to those same nationally implemented red-lining bank monopolistic real estate property clauses used on his older Lone-Star-State relatives. In fact, any and all Black men just like George Floyd, in all fifty states, would have the same slippery-rock-up-river-cliff, frozen-waterfalls climb. It’s just a different steep death-defying ascent to making fair housing equality available in every market. The auction block has been begrudgingly retired and replaced by the self-styled executioners occupying street re-enforcement brigades.
America compounded the disastrous red-lining program by over-policing and de-funding after-school programs in the red-lined (crabs in a pot) teeming ghetto. Kids with nowhere to go and nothing to do are regularly targeted, stopped, harassed, profiled, frisked, and in some cases, beaten, arrested, shot and killed. It has been suggested that this was done because police forces adopted the Barbados Slave Treatment Statute into all of White America’s police departments nationwide (G)lock, (Negro)stock and (Gun)barrel. The Barbados Statute (again from the 1800’s-when slavery was legal, and Blacks were not seen as people) was recently detailed by W. Kamau Bell’s, United Shades of America program on CNN.
Bigger guns, larger police budgets have only had one deliberate outcome: a bigger pile of dead minorities. Ask the Native Americans who unsuspectingly accepted small-pox riddled-blankets from the United States Army in the 1800’s. It’s always been about control, isolating minorities and White-sanctioned policies to keep them “in their place.”
Blanketing White America in a cocooned cushy violence-free dream world is only accomplished (in their minds and policies) by taking the White’s World War mentality to neighborhoods of color, so they won’t threaten the White safe fantasy world of milk and mayonnaise.
Red-lining is the shameful Housing Tip-of-the-White-Spear-Machine-gun used to oppress all of non-White America.
Shift Change: New cops, old mentality equals the same increasing numbers of dead minorities an intended result. As the numbers go up and the body-piercing weapons of WAR are used to inflict and enforce their brand of (in)justice, still left unchecked is Police White herd immunity. Under the protective guise of unionized troops in our Black and Brown neighborhoods, they are coming after my grandchildren.
Biko, Biko, Biko, incensed. (Stephen Biko lived 1946-1977. He is famous for his activism against apartheid in South Africa during the 1960s and 1970s. He created the Black Consciousness Movement.)
Sean C. Bowers has written the last twenty-three years, as a White Quaker Southern man, for the nations’ third oldest Black Newspaper, the New Journal and Guide, of Norfolk, VA, about overcoming racism, sexism, classism, and religious persecution. Over fifty of his latest NJ&G articles (2008-2021) detailing the issues can found by searching “Sean C. Bowers” on the NJ&G website. Contact him directly by e-mail V1ZUAL1ZE@aol.com NNPA 2019 Publisher of the Year, Brenda H. Andrews (NJ&G 34 years) has always been his publisher.