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Monday, December 26, 2005

Bus riding on December 26, part 2.

"It's so much vacant land and vacant houses on the North Side. If those motherfuckers built houses on the vacant land, it'd be just like the South Side. But they don't want to see that many black motherfuckers here, in one place. It's so much vacant land and vacant houses on the North Side."

--Overheard on the #30 Soulard bus today. One teenager talking to his friends as we drove through the Near North Side, the most demolition-ravaged part immediately north of Downtown.

Just incase you think that the average kid living in a planner- and 'dozer-ruined neighborhood doesn't understand why his neighborhood looks the way that it does.


Anonymous said...

Who are "they" and how come "they" are so powerful enough as to single-handedly stop development on the northside?

Anonymous said...

"They" aren't stopping development on the northside, as your previous posts on Paul McKee's landgrab show. "They" use the timing of development to ensure that segregation can be enforced through prices, not overt policy. The oft-cited Dick(head) Gephardt-sponsored Team Four plan for the northside is still in effect, and the time is drawing near when the big builders will come out to play.

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

The kid was chatting with his friends, not writing a newspaper article. Whether or not he knows who "they" are, he's smart enough to understand how spatial racism works, and that the people who tore down his neighborhood in the first place were probably not a group of low-income blacks, like himself. If you look around an area and see both that it's physically very depressed and dilapidated, and that everyone there has the same skin color as you (but people with a different skin color generally live in neighborhoods that look to be in better shape), it's not unreasonable to assume that those two things have something to do with each other.

Anonymous said...

I guess those behind Bosley Estates, Homer G. Philips, Enright School, MLK Plaza, or many other northside developments are part of the problem?

Where there's money to be made, the color is always green. So, I wouldn't blame "them" for much of northside's condition.

Anonymous said...

Bosely Estates is a problem! Bad design, poor site planning, cheap materials and the most bullshit name I've ever heard.

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

I don't think he was complaining about the people who are actually developing the North Side--his comment was just the opposite.

I saw where the kid got off the bus and where he walked home. Across the street from his house was an entire block with no buildings on it, and no planned development for it. Across the street were more vacant lots and vacant buildings. Just because parts of the North Side are being developed doesn't mean the entire area is in some beautiful restoration and construction boom at once. The kid was responding to what he sees every day, and I think that's valid. You try living in such a decimated landscape that you didn't bulldoze, and see how long it us before you start using the word "them."