My economist father once described the difference between the Soviet Union (the bear) and the US (the eagle) in the Cold War days, as this: the former locks its dissenters in and the latter locks them out. I thought of this as I read Gene Balk's excellent piece on the sad state of black homeownership in Seattle.
In the bad old days of redlining, Seattle locked blacks in; today, it is locking them out. What connects the two is the absence of black freedom. You are forced into one or the other. And separates the two is, when locked in, blacks were financially better off than when locked out.
You will not believe this, but in the 1950s, when Boeing was running things around here, the "median income for black households in Seattle was just 1 percent lower than the U.S. median for whites." Today, only 2 percent of tech jobs are held by blacks. In 1970, 50 percent "of King County households headed by a black person owned their home." Today, it is 28 percent. What's even more telling is in Fort Bend, Texas—a county in a red state, and which counts Houston as its biggest city—the black-homeownership rate is 71 percent. This makes nonsense of the progressive/conservative divide in politics for many working-class blacks, and may explain why many don't bother voting. It literally makes no difference. So, yes, for many blacks, the situation in our progressive "post-racial" city is only getting worse.