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Response Paper On Black Corona

1582 words - 7 pages

Corona, once “a farming and light manufacturing village,” is now a predominantly African American neighborhood located on the northern shore of Queens, Long Island. While Corona used to be a rural town, an influx of European and Caribbean immigrants as well as people traveling from the southern United States caused the industrial economy of Manhattan to expand into its outskirts, consequently causing the population of Corona to grow exponentially. By the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, North Corona was a predominantly African American neighborhood that eventually grew and spread down through South Corona. The town struggled with increasing problems of neighborhood deterioration, ...view middle of the document...

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William Julius Wilson was one of the first researchers to develop the idea of “spatial mismatch”. Wilson believed that the problem of black poverty was influenced by the changing structure of the United States economy. By placing the blame on societal structures, Wilson was able to identify the intersection of two primary social forces as the root of “concentration and isolation of the poor.” The first social force was “economic restructuring.” Economic restructuring only intensified labor market discrimination and black poverty. In a way, it acted as a medicine that merely covered up the symptoms of the disease [racial inequality and poverty], instead of attacking the disease itself. This shifted the public’s attention, and therefore the political motivation, toward action and away from the underlying issues. While economic restructuring plays an important role in the origin of “black ghetto” poverty, Wilson believed that it was not solely capable of creating “the concentration of urban poverty.” However, he did believe that “the concentration of urban poverty” was created when economic restructuring was combined with the more controversial social force of “social-structural dislocation.” Social-structural dislocation caused suburbanization, where non-poor African Americans out-migrated from the “ghetto communities.”
Essentially this intersection not only further reproduced the cycle of poverty so commonly witnessed in African Americans, but also divided members of the same race economically, geographically and politically. This caused the “black ghetto” to become increasingly poor, and in consequence, less influential in the realm of politics due to the loss of this “social buffer.” Furthermore, these effects strengthened the validity of negative stereotypes the public associated with the “black ghetto.” Ultimately, the political actions pertaining to racial inequality only benefited the elite non-poor African Americans at the expense of the general populace [poor African Americans], which in turn incited a “racial civil war.”
Critiques of Wilson’s arguments believed he over-exaggerated the benefits of recent political action upon non-poor African Americans, specifically in terms of their ability to unite away from the “black ghetto” in matters of politics, social class, the economy, and residence among others. This subsequently belittled non-poor African Americans and took away from their achievements that made them social phenomena. Critiques also argued that Wilson discredited the abilities and resourcefulness of African Americans and ignorantly judged the impoverished in comparison to the middle-class, thus paralleling middle-class and normal.
Because Wilson’s arguments were considered too narrow, critiques generated a broader range of research and studies about urban African Americans; specifically the “process of black class formation and the social complexity of...

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