Charles Jaco

Caucasian St. Louisans are to white flight as Kenyan runners are to the Boston Marathon. Volumes have been written about the ability of white St. Louisans to empty out a region, or as a former colleague from Fox 2 once said, “Yeah, a black family moved in seven blocks away and my parents ended up in Ellisville.”

An entire library wing could be devoted to white flight in the Gateway City. From James Neal Primm’s 1998 Lion of the Valley to Colin Gordon’s 2009 Mapping Decline to 20 years of the Where We Stand reports from the East-West Gateway Council of Governments, entire shelves have been devoted to the mpbp (miles per Black person) fuel efficiency of area whites. But, with typical Midwestern modesty, St. Louis’s white people refuse to take any credit for the highest rate of building and neighborhood abandonment over a 30-year period in North American history, and instead defer all the praise to the area’s Black folks, who they say are really the ones responsible.

Flash back to 1996, when, still a St. Louis newbie with barely a year here under my belt, I interviewed Tom Brown, the mayor of St. Peters, on my KMOX talk show and brought up white flight and the suspicion that his town’s growth might have been fueled by white people who wanted to put as much distance between themselves and the melanin-rich as possible. The mayor bristled at the suggestion and said his growing constituency was made up largely of victims.

“A huge number of people who moved to our city,” he said flatly, “were literally driven from their homes. They fled looking for a better life.”

What at first seemed like a description of the Serb army clearing out part of Bosnia was, in reality, one of my first encounters with the white rhetoric of grievance and victimhood in greater St. Louis, a rhetoric that is all about race but hardly ever explicitly mentions race. As Kevin Kruse noted in his 2005 book White Flight: Atlanta and the Making of Modern Conservatism, the use of implicit euphemisms when talking about race is common among white flight suburban conservatives, which leads to the kind of coded racial language the late GOP strategist Lee Atwater, famously outlined in a 1981 interview with a professor from Case Western Reserve University.

“You start out in 1954 saying n----r, n----r, n----r,” said Atwater. “By 1968, you can’t say ‘n----r’ anymore…so you say things like ‘forced busing’ and ‘state’s rights’…now you’re talking about totally economic things…saying ‘let’s cut this’ is more abstract than busing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than ‘n----r’.”

St. Louis whites often specialize in that sort of abstraction. Whether it’s St. Charles County voters 1996 refusal to approve Metrolink expansion, or south St. Louis County residents upset over construction of low-income housing for the elderly in 2012, obviously racial issues in the region (Metrolink=mass transit=Black people; low-income housing= Black people) are discussed without mentioning race at all.

This wordplay moves otherwise racist sentiments into mainstream discourse, but it also serves as a surrogate for sentiments of white rage and grievance, so that angry sentiments of white victimhood can be expressed without referring to race explicitly. But plain English translations reveal the truth: many middle and working-class white St. Louisans feel they were driven from their homes by a tsunami of lawless, violent black people moving into their neighborhoods, depressing property values and destroying public institutions like schools and parks.

The refugee syndrome that Mayor Brown spoke about has become tribal lore among many working class and middle class whites, stories about how they, or pops, or grandpa had to flee Walnut Park or Hyde Park or Pine Lawn and sell at a big loss when the black thugs moved in. They’re the same kinds of stories used to justify apartheid in David Harrison’s 1981 book, The White Tribe of Africa, a study of the power of white Afrikaners in South Africa.

Given that, conversations with the white community in St. Louis about race and racism will only go so far. To them, the problem is not a racist system. The problem is the degeneracy of black people.

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(22) comments

reginald

http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/murder-count-climbs-past-in-st-louis-after-violent-weekend/article_df546314-c165-51bb-91bd-e6b3603a12b6.html

Maybe this will shed some light on things for you. Nobody, black or white, wants to live in a high crime area. In St. Louis, that means black neighborhoods. Simply a fact.

RevBacon

It occurs to me that this guy probably doesn't live in a "diverse" neighborhood either. If he did, he'd understand the desire to get out. I left the ghetto as soon as I could afford it.

RevBacon

If race doesn't affect property values, why would anyone care that whites would flee? In fact, any non-rational sale of a house (or anything, for that matter) would be a sub-optimal economic decision, and thus would put money in the pocket of the buyer. If that buyer is white, then there's no net "white flight." If that buyer is black, then hey, it's free money to the black buyer, and the expense of the white seller.

I think the author knows that race affects property values, and that all of the areas once predominantly white were once booming, and if they're not currently predominantly white, they're currently in decline. That's a very broad statement, which would be quite powerful if it's true. And it would only require one counter-example to dis-prove it. So is it correct? And if so, does the author already know this?

Citizen H

Jocko is appealing to your base prejudice. He wants to get paid for an article so he caters to the notion that all whites flee when blacks move in. Sixty years ago Florissant was being built-- one subdivision after another. In Ferguson there was a huge wooded area to the east of Elizabeth Avenue. The City Fathers approved a subdivision of very small shingle sided homes. First generation home owners from the City of St. Louis and elsewhere moved in and had at least five kids a couple. When the kids got out of high school and went to college or got into the Electricians Union they wanted a new house for their family in a new subdivision. My generation moved to California or places around the globe and the ones who stayed in the Saint Louis region moved to the City of St. Louis or west to a new subdivision in a new house in St. Charles. The next generation in St. Charles moved to a new subdivision to a new house in Warrenton. The next generation homes did not have shingle siding. My parents moved from Elizabeth Avenue in an old home back to the City of St. Louis in an old home in an integrated neighborhood in 1973. That was about the time this Jocko guy on TV moved here to tell us everything. One of the downfall factors in Ferguson was when the City allowed zoning for those small shingle sided houses on Teston and Millman and points east of Elizabeth Avenue. My dad predicted that no one would want those houses when they wore down in 20 years. He was right. By the way, where was Jocko living when he moved to the St. Louis area?

REALIST

I hear what you are saying also. My bottom line is that these new gererations of children need to be shown a better path. I think this is more of an internal struggle that is being masked with hatred and resentment towards others.

You have successful children. I applaud you because you choose to show them the right way and hopefully they will do the same for their children. Your grandkids will have an even better life as an adult than you. That is what this country is about. One can still be poor and teach and guide children to prosper. Until parents do their part I feel that Blacks will always have their intenal struggles and feeling dampered.


HOME, FAMILY, EDUCATION, MORAL VALUES and AMBITION

ogel

Realist,

You ask , "what say you meaning me?"

I would like to spray paint you Black and have you come back to me in a year so that we could this conversation again. All that you say is good and to some extent true. However, you do not realize that many obstacles that exist in the lives of others are nonexistent in yours. So, it is quite easy for you to win the 100 yard relay every single time you run it, if you have the luxury of always being on the inside lane, and your opponents are always having to run at the very beginning in the farthest.

REALIST

Ogel,

And know I am teaching my children how to live and survive in this country of ours. When we watch the news and hear about the crime and watched all the Ferguson news coverage and they asked questions. I say that behavior is not good for society, it creates bigger problems. I teach them the good and bad of money. I drive them around and show them what lazy people are and what hard working people are. I attend parent teacher meeting and try to be involved with my childrens activities. And yes I take my kids to the shooting range once a month.

What say you?

REALIST

Ogel,

No, at age 18 I was defending this country from possible foreign enemies. But ended up defending the Saudis and Kuwatis. My parents taught me to respect the police, the law, other humans, society and this great country we live in. With the values my parents taught me I dont need to live with them. I am successful without having to rely on anyone but myself. I did the hard work and effort growing up a poor white child tired of wearing the same clothes every day. You know the rest.

ogel

Realist,

Are you still living at home with your parents or grandparents?

REALIST

Im not discrediting what he said. Im just adding to it. However it is not simply White flight. Black flight is just a guilty if not even more so. Take a poll of how many blacks that have become monetarily succussful and have stayed in their former neighborhoods. Isnt that ironic???????

ogel

Realist,

I don't care how many statistics you pull out of our hat, they take absolutely nothing away from what I said about Mr. Jaco. It is just as true. I will repost it again for those of you who would like to read it without reading all of these meaningless numbers:


It has been said, "you can please some of the people some of the time," but you can never please all of the people all of the time. If you do, something is wrong."
Mr. Jaco speaks the truth and is known for his straight forward reporting. He is highly regarded and remains on the radio as well as TV.

Where he lives does nothing to diminish the truth in what he reports, but he can never be expected to spew criticism while using an anonymous name to "hide" behind the "send" button on a computer. He is a man of integrity."

REALIST

Stats don't lie

Here are the 15 most dangerous cities (with populations over 100,000):

Rank City, . . . . . . . .Percentage Black
313 Dayton, OH . . . . . .43.9%
314 Richmond, VA . . . . .58.0%
315 Kansas City, MO . .. 32.0%
316 Washington, DC . . . .61.5%
317 New Orleans, LA . . . 68.1%
318 Memphis, TN . . . . . 62.1%
319 Compton, CA . . . . . 41.8%
320 West Palm Beach, FL .33.3%
321 Tampa, FL . . . . . . 26.9%
322 Camden, NJ . . . . . .55.5%
323 Gary, IN .. . . . . . 85.5%
324 Baltimore, MD . . . . 65.3%
325 St. Louis, MO . . . . 52.2%
326 Atlanta, GA . . . . . 62.2%
327 Detroit, MI . . . . . 83.5%

Here are the 15 safest cities in the US (with a population over 100,000):

Rank City, . . . . . . . Percentage Black
1 Amherst, NY . . . . . . 3.9
2 Newton, MA . . . . . . .2.0%
3 Mission Viejo, CA . . . 1.2%
4 Cary, NC . .. . . . . .6.3%
5 Brick Twnshp, NJ . . . .1.0%
6 Simi Valley, CA . . . . 1.3%
7 Sunnyvale, CA . . . . . 2.3%
8 Colonie, NY . . . . . . 4.0%
9 Sterling Heights, MI . .1.3%
10 Clarkstown, NY . . . .8.0%
11 Orem, UT . . . . . . . 0.3%
12 Greece, NY . . . . . . 2.9%
13 Thousand Oaks, CA .. .1.1%
14 Canton Twnshp, MI . ..4.6%
15 Livermore, CA .. . . .1.6

ogel

It has been said, "you can please some of the people some of the time," but you can never please all of the people all of the time. If you do, something is wrong."
Mr. Jaco speaks the truth and is known for his straight forward reporting. He is highly regarded and remains on the radio as well as TV.

Where he lives does nothing to diminish the truth in what he reports, but he can never be expected to spew criticism while using an anonymous name to "hide" behind the "send" button on a computer. He is a man of integrity.
.

JB

Yeah Jaco guess crime isn't only in Black neighborhoods Why I just read where two Colored boys (People of Color??) attacked a poor lady in Fenton. Wonder where you live?

atty1chgo

Their choice. Freedom of association, freedom of travel, freedom to live wherever you want to if you can afford it. It's an economic and cultural gap. Just as you have the culture that you prefer to co-exist with for the most part, they have the culture that they prefer to co-exist with.

The article states:

"But plain English translations reveal the truth: many middle and working-class white St. Louisans feel they were driven from their homes by a tsunami of lawless, violent black people moving into their neighborhoods, depressing property values and destroying public institutions like schools and parks."

The truth is that many times on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder, upward mobility unavoidably brings with it whatever the socio-economic benefits, as well as ills, that were in the neighborhood that the people moving in left their former neighborhood with. Stability means economic stability AND cultural stability, and when white people flee a neighborhood, they take their money with them AS WELL as their culture. The people who take their place are trying to find a better place to live. But the stark reality is that if crime increases in a neighborhood due to white flight, to blame the white people for causing it is insanely stupid. Rather than point the finger at those committing the crimes, we blame the racist system. Rather than decry the value system that perhaps is less desirable, we blame the other person's attitudes toward us. It's blame, blame, blame with little responsibility taken.

Bottom line is this: In order for people to live in the same neighborhood, they have to have a modicum of civility and respect. If due to racial opinions, economics, cultural differences (music, art, language, morals, religion, values, food..you name it), people CANNOT live together peaceably, they they should not.

So let's say the whites move out because of their own reasons (which you may not agree with, but that they have the absolute right to hold). If the neighborhood that they LEAVE from, AND TAKE their negative attitudes away from, DECLINES, how on Earth is it logical to say that those who remained are worse off because the people that hated them and didn't care for them LEFT from within their midst? That makes no sense to me.

REALIST

This is America baby. If people choose to move because they value the assets then so beit. I choose to live where I live because I dont have crime ridden streets. Racism is all the Black segregational groups, associations and organizations that are out there. If there was a Ms. White American pageant that is considered racist. Look at all the Black only organizations that are out there. Blacks demand desgregation but there are constantly more and more Black only organizations.

Mr. Jaco did hit a small portion correct. But truely open that up and dig deeper. The road is paved and wide open for all. Some races even have so much more free govenrment support generated over the past 40 years that their playing field makes it unfair for all others. But they still cant figure things out.

The problem lies with the loss of responsible adults after the passing of Dr. King. Now we have two generations running the streets that are a burdon on scociety and teaching the next generation the same. I applaud all the hard working parents out there that are making the tough hard and proper decisions for your family. God bless you all.

HOME, FAMILY, EDUCATION, MORAL VALUES and AMBITION

reginald

Charles, is this why you live in a posh neighborhood in a large house? Give me a break. This is garbage and just feeds hostilities. There is a real and actual reason people don't choose to live in certain neighborhoods that have nothing to do with race. People who don't have to also don't live in parts of Jefferson County for the same reason. Crime is real. Shootings and crime in north county are substantially higher than 20 years ago which is why people are leaving. The fact that you live in lovely, peaceful and extremely white Oakland makes this pure comedy gold (blame blockshopper.com for outing you).

AmericanDude

Gotta wonder which neighborhood Mr. Jaco lives in. Wildwood, perhaps?

ogel

A man of integrity who is highly regarded for his objective reporting. We need more like Mr. Jaco.

Victim of Racism

"To them, the problem is not a racist system. The problem is the degeneracy of black people."

That "racist system" is the system of racism WHITE supremacy.

SUNOFGOD

That is a great prologue, I am looking forward to the rest of the story[wink]

a white woman

I wish that didn't sound so accurate, Mr. Jaco, but I'm afraid you nailed it.

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