×

Cal Thomas is wrong

Cal Thomas, in his recent editorial, “Smelling Rats in Baltimore,” thinks the word racist is overused, just a knee-jerk, default position by Democrats to distract from real problems, (as if racism is not a problem in the U.S. in 2019).

He said elected officials, especially Democrats, ought to be talking to those who “are trapped in these squalid areas.” He blames Democrats, who he says have been running most of our big cities for decades.

Whenever I hear a discussion about our cities, I think of my grandparents, who lived in Boston’s old West End neighborhood, which was deemed a slum and replaced with Charles River Park, an upscale high-rent district.

My grandfather was a commercial fisherman and my grandmother a homemaker. They had seven children and 21 grandchildren, and made the transition to a two-family house in Boston’s inner suburb of Somerville.

The redevelopment of the West End prompted Herbert Gans to chronicle the lives of West Enders in his book, “The Urban Villagers.” Reading this book about the uprooted lives of West Enders inspired me to study city planning.

Italian-Americans, like my grandparents, who lived in the inner cities lived in “urban villages.” A village is a place that signifies home, where villagers are free to come and go based on desire, need and growth in personal wealth.

On the other hand, people who live in ghettos are trapped. People are put in ghettos deliberately to segregate them from the rest of society.

If Cal Thomas is wondering why America’s ghettos exist, it’s because all Americans, Democrats, Republicans, independents and everyone else in-between, created these places through institutionalized racism in our public and private institutions.

Richard Rothstein, in his book, “The Color of Law,” chronicles the discriminatory, “de juris,” practices of all levels of government, local, state and federal, as well as the discriminatory practices in the private sector in the banking, real estate and housing industry in the U.S. before and after World War II, which created these ghetto conditions in our big cities like Baltimore. Ironically, President Donald Trump chides U.S. Rep. (Elijah) Cummings for such conditions in his home district, when for decades, Trump’s discriminatory business practices prevented African-Americans from renting better housing in better neighborhoods, and contributed to creating segregation in our big cities.

So, the important question is, besides blaming Democrats and denying the existence of deep-seated public and private sector institutionalized racism in 2019 America, what exactly, specifically, is the Republican Party doing to solve this problem?

Thus far, over the past 100 years, Republicans have done nothing and continue to offer nothing toward eliminating discrimination and injustice and making things right for our fellow citizens in our big cities.