Wednesday, 27 August 2014

How White Flight Occurs

The news media throws around various terms and just figures that most folks understand what they mean.  When they do give a basic's so marginal in terms of description, that I think most folks are still puzzled.  So I'll throw up the term....."white flight".

These are the basic steps that create white flight.

You start with one key event.  It might be a assault....or some vicious robbery gone-wrong....that triggers a town of twenty-thousand people to start to evaluate their safety.  It might have nothing to do with blacks, whites, Latinos, or any minority. It might involve the big-name school principal firing a favored teacher or football coach.  It might involve a massive change in the city council where you find that your council member openly stole thousands each year and gave contracts to his brother-in-law.

So instead of a ratio of five-people-moving-out and six-people-moving-in as the standard for your quietly find over a two or four year period that it's now ten-people-moving-out and seven-people-moving-in.  Some houses are now sold at a discount price....say $15k less than the average, just for the owners to vacate and leave.

Then you start to notice at Sunday your peers discuss they are looking at properties in a development sixteen miles away and might be leaving this church.  You ask for reasons and you end up wasting an entire hour listening to one guy dump on the local politics, the local cops, the local crime, and the local economy.  He might have excessive reasons, and acting on impulse, but his facts are what is reported in the local paper.

You start to notice that your local grocery has a few new people on the staff....because the old crew have moved onto a new operation just outside of town, near the new development.

The school has some troubles with discipline.....fights and drugs start to get mentioned more often now.

So ten years into this episode....the town is now assessed at 18,500....having lost 1,500 residents over a decade.  The mayor wants infrastructure programs....which means more taxes and more fine generation (by your friendly cops).  The mayor thinks if they can just fix up this park....widen this road....or renew this part of town.....things will change.

The increased taxation simply irks the remaining residents of town.  A new police chief arrives because the old guy wasn't given a pay-raise like he expected and he found a better job elsewhere.  The fire chief does the same deal.

Robbery occurs more often and neighborhood watch groups are now becoming the norm.

The city council flips over one year with almost all new players....talking of "change".  They can't define the change but they will bring it to the city.  Naturally, this all revolves around more taxes, more expenditures, and more programs funded by the city, the county, the state, or the federal government.

A decade later, the city is now 14,500....having lost 5,500 over a twenty-year period.  Several neighborhoods are now crime-infested and heavily connected to drugs.  The cops come out to the school once a month to arrest one or two students for selling weed.

By this point, you kinda add up the statistical average for whites and "others".....finding that sixty-percent of the white population from twenty years ago have left.  Your Latino population has now taken over eight-percent of the city population and figures heavily into any city election.  Minority political figures into every election now.

Big-name business operations that used to bring in substantial city tax revenue?  Gone.  You depend on gas stations, drug stores, and your local Wal-Mart.

The development urban area that attracted a number of the white population over the past two decades?  It's got it's own Wal-Mart, and it's own gas stations.  The new urban development now has people with decent jobs....who buy items involving taxation, and generate funding for the new urban area to grow and put in new parks and infrastructure.  They hire better qualified cops and routinely prosecute anyone of a serious violation.  They keep their new urban area under constant review....making the folks who moved there happier than the folks who remained in the old town.

Stagnation settles into the old town.  They can't attract better business operations or better pay.  At this point, white flight has reached an epic proportion.  You can't reverse this trend.  You can't solve this trend.  Staying in the white flight town?  That ought to be your least of choices.  You ought to actually think of packing up and moving your family away....maybe to a whole new state....and just start fresh.  But you won't do that....because you are anchored to a dream of living in the place where you grew up.  Those who move on....survive.  Those who stay....accept stagnation as the norm.

That's white flight, and it's going on daily in America.