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Tags: New York Times | Mara Gay | Suburbs | Racism

Is Suburbia Inherently Racist?

Is Suburbia Inherently Racist?

George J. Marlin By Friday, 16 July 2021 11:27 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

Mara Gay, a member of The New York Times editorial board, revealed on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show that while spending Memorial Day Weekend on suburban Long Island, she was disturbed to see loads of American flags on display.

“I was on Long Island this weekend and visiting a really dear friend, and I was really disturbed,” she said.

“I saw, you know, dozens and dozens of pick-up trucks with expletives against Joe Biden on the backs of them, Trump flags, and in some cases dozens of American flags, which, you know, is also just disturbing because essentially the message was clear. It was: This is my country; this is not your country. I own this.”

So, proudly flying the Stars and Stripes on one’s car or on one’s suburban front lawn is racist, according to Mara Gay.

However, one should not be surprised by her reaction.

Leftists have hated New York suburbs since the 1960s. Progressive social scientists, then and now, have attributed the massive exit to Nassau and Suffolk counties of inner-city white ethnics to racism because the city’s African-American and Hispanic populations were growing at a brisk pace.

As a result, Progressives oppose suburban single-family housing zoning laws because they believe those laws were designed to promote race and class discrimination.

Hence, they support regulations proposed by the Biden Administration to empower the federal government to override local single-family zoning laws that set minimum lot size, and to force municipal governments, by threatening to withhold federal dollars, to approve the construction of more high-rise apartment complexes.

In other words, the leftists will not rest until they cripple local government and restructure the suburbs to mirror the urban areas their ideological formulas have destroyed.

Sadly, what delusional Progressives have failed to grasp is that their premise that suburbs were built on racism is fallacious.

The movement to the suburbs began long before the racial strife of the 1960s.

“During the 1940s,” labor historian Joshua Freeman has written, “nearly half a million New Yorkers left the city; during the 1950s, 1.2 million; and during the 1960s, another half million.”

In 1940, Nassau County’s population was 406,000 and by 1960 it stood at 1,300,000—an astonishing increase of 320%. Similarly, Suffolk’s 1940 population of 197,000 grew 338% to 666,000.

The move to the suburbs of people and jobs can be attributed to the G.I. Bill, signed into law by Franklin Roosevelt in June, 1944, that contained FHA/VA home loans with no down payments.

When drafting the new loan program, New Deal social engineers made sure their fingerprints were all over the final documents. In the name of “regional planning,” the Federal Housing Administration encouraged banks to lend on suburban homes instead of older city properties.

To ensure there were few exceptions in this anti-urban neighborhood lending program, FHA designed requirements on lot size, house width, and distance from adjacent homes that effectively eliminated categories of inner-city dwellings such as the sixteen-foot row house.

Historian Kenneth T. Jackson, in his award-winning work, Crabgrass Frontier: The Suburbanization of the United States, concluded that “Unfortunately … [these] programs hastened the decay of inner-city neighborhoods by stripping them of much of their middle-class constituency.”

And to further ensure policy compliance, federal tax-code changes gave developers incentives to build new structures in suburbia instead of improving old ones in city neighborhoods.

Between 1946 and 1969, 65% of all FHA/VA home loans in N.Y.C.’s metropolitan area went to finance suburban homes. Nassau County received 162,669 home loans; Suffolk County, 76,543 loans; and 29,660 went to Westchester.

During the same period, New York City, which never developed a program to combat the exodus of working-class citizens to suburbia, received only 146,691 FHA/VA loans.

As for the people who left the city, urbanologist Edward C. Banfield observed, “Allowing for exceptions, however, the ‘flight’ of the middle class to the suburbs was not properly speaking a flight at all.

Most of those who left did so neither from fear of violence or of blight, but simply because they wanted and could afford newer and more spacious houses and neighborhoods.”

Sociologist Herbert J. Gans, author of Levittown agrees.

In his study he found “that only 9% of those interviewed volunteered the inadequacy of their old neighborhood or community as their important reason for leaving it. The desire to own a spacious, free-standing house was the most frequent and important motivation.”

And the desire to own homes with a backyard for the kids, has not changed. During the COVID pandemic, people of all races and creeds have fled New York City apartments in droves and have purchased single-family homes on Long Island.

Progressives hate suburbia because home ownership permits people to enjoy life and liberty and to resist the “claws” of the government leviathan.

In the name of social justice, leftists will not be content until suburbia reflects the conditions of the cities they have governed for nearly a century: decaying neighborhoods, rampant crime, filthy streets, and skyrocketing taxes and spending.

George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact," and "Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy." Read George J. Marlin's Reports — More Here.

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In the name of social justice, leftists will not be content until suburbia reflects the conditions of the cities they have governed for nearly a century.
New York Times, Mara Gay, Suburbs, Racism
Friday, 16 July 2021 11:27 AM
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