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Black middle class v. white middle class & the recession

May 16, 2009

‘Dalton Conley, author of Elsewhere, U.S.A. and a sociologist at NYU, sometimes likes to compare New York to the United Arab Emirates. Wealthy people on a tiny island serviced by poor immigrants from neighboring countries—that’s what it is, essentially; it’s just that the island here is Manhattan, and the neighboring countries are … Queens. No one in their right mind would say that this recession will suddenly erase New York’s economic disparities. But one of its silver linings is that it might provide a brief window for people like Ande and Isaac to gain a toehold in this city. The middle class, long vanishing from New York but once its spine, has a chance to reclaim its place.’

This NY Mag piece leaves out the collateral damage in the recession’s ‘silver lining’: minority homeowners:

‘The storm has fallen with a special ferocity on black and Latino homeowners, the analysis shows. Defaults occur three times as often in mostly minority census tracts as in mostly white ones. Eighty-five percent of the worst-hit neighborhoods — where the default rate is at least double the regional average — have a majority of black and Latino homeowners. […] “My district feels like ground zero,” said City Councilman James Sanders Jr., an African-American who represents hundreds of blocks in Queens like this one. “In military terms, we are being pillaged.”’

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