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TheGerbil

"Two Pittsburghs" -- What do you think?

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http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07201/803126-53.stm

This article describes the poverty and violence many black communities in the city struggle with. This has been a big issue lately. But one thing that has been on my mind, and which no article I've seen seems to touch on, is how this compares to other cities. I've seen the numbers saying that, on average, blacks here are worse off than whites. But I haven't seen any numbers saying how that compares to other cities. I'm quite curious, because some people seem to be acting like it's a unique problem and I bet it's not. This isn't to say we shouldn't try to fix it, but I just wonder what the situation is elsewhere.

The other thing on my mind is what to do about it. Who's responsibility is it, and what can be done? It seems like a very big problem, and I don't think there is a simple solution any more than there is a simple cause. And I don't think it's fair to say "There are two Pittsburghs, One for the wealthy whites and one for the poor, disenfranchised black people" - which is a quote from the article I linked. That's a big generalization and it's not fair to either group mentioned. Firstly, it's too much of a generalization. Not all blacks are poor and not all whites are wealthy. Second, it seems to indirectly blame the "wealthy whites" for the problem, which I don't think it accurate. It may be that the city has ignored certain neighborhoods a little too much, but I don't know exactly what the government could do. Bringing in new development, such as in East Liberty, isn't welcomed by everyone in the neighborhood.

I'm kind of rambing here, so I'll stop now. I hope I don't sound insensitive or anything, I'm just not sure what the answer is, or even what exactly the question is. What do you all think about this? What do you think can be done about this problem?

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I think the article does overgeneralize, but I tend to agree with the fact that Pittsburgh isn't America's Most Liveable City for many of the black people who live in poor neighborhoods like Homewood and the Hill.

I love Pittsburgh as much as anybody, but my one complaint is that it is a pretty racist, segregated city. It bothers me that "dividing lines" exist, such as Penn Avenue between Friendship and Garfield, and that two of our high schools (Westinghouse and Peabody) are almost entirely African-American schools, in spite of the fact that Peabody serves many neighborhoods that are either very white or fairly diverse (Shadyside, Friendship, Highland Park, Morningside, Stanton Heights, Lawrenceville,.....).

I'm not sure what the answer to this problem is, but I don't think that this problem is unique to Pittsburgh. I've lived in two other urban areas, and I can't say that race relations were much better in these places. It is unfortunate to me that the line between races in Pittsburgh is often so clearly drawn along neighborhood lines, though.

Urban development that lacks consideration of its residents, such as the urban renewal throughout the Hill District in the 60's could be a cause, but only one of very many. In light of that, I actually think most of the development in East Liberty has been done with sensitivity to its residents. Much of the new housing is nice, affordable to moderate-income housing. Many are apartments, but there is also a good push throughout East Liberty and Garfield to get first-time low income families to purchase houses in the neighborhood. I think this is key to stabilizing the neighborhood and encouraging diversity. New high-end glass lofts are being built on Penn. This might not sit well with me, except for the fact that there is quite a bit of moderate income housing construction in the same area, and a low-income senior housing development is next door. To me, this doesn't give the impression that the current residents aren't invited to join in the revitalization.

Race is a tough issue, and I think deep-seated problems exist everywhere. I hope blame isn't cast upon the city or any one particular person or institution. I'm glad it's being brought up in conversation, though, because I think that's the first step toward any solution.

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This isn't Pittsburgh, this is America in 99% of cities.

Cities that are sited as great cities for blacks are segregated Come to Atlanta and see.

It's the same most everywhere.

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