The White Construction of Black American Ghettos
It can’t be overstated that the ghettos are the creation of rich whites. It was an active, not a passive creation. It is also little misunderstood that black Americans did not end up in the “inner city” that became the “ghetto” because they wanted to, but because they were forced to by a combination of white violence and white political zoning of many cities when they are created for growth starting at the end of the 19th century.
It took decades of conditioning and violence to force the freed black Americans into those areas or black zones before redlines were drawn around them. Many, like that in St. Louis, were zoned deliberately next to industrial areas so blacks Americans could walk to the factories and sweep them or do other menial labor. Tenant housing was built by whites who took the rent out and did not re-invest it, letting the buildings degrade over the decades and decades. The lack of mortgages denied to black Americans prevented ownership, so black Americans owning and reinvesting in those apartments was not possible.
Essentially, this mortgage denial and rent remittance amounted to a system very much like the sharecropping farming system, and in truth not much different than slavery before the Civil War. The system was rent was extracted from necessary low wage labor, the only kind often available by factory owners of other unskilled positions in the growing cities. The white owners extracted wages often at higher rates because there was no choice where to live. The buildings and land were paid off by the black American laborers.
In comparison, sharecroppers earned from turning over their cotton crop to the landowners at a lower rate than market value, who used the profit from wage repression who used the extracted money from repressed wage to pay off the land on their plantation, accelerating their ownership and raising the amount of debt they could borrow for expansion. The white planter owned the homes (or shacks) on the land where the black tenet farmers lived, and also did not reinvest anything into them, and not modernizing them with running water, outhouses, electricity when it came. That amounted to further extraction of wealth and denial of wealth building. The…