Donald Trump won the presidency in no small part through his persistent demagoguery about urban violence, which he appears to believe is the result of our first black president refusing to enact “law and order” policies on communities of color. As with most things Trump believes, this is largely nonsense — overall trends show a precipitous drop in crime over the past two decades or more — but of course violent crime in cities hasn’t been eradicated completely. That has allowed Trump to use the specter of violence to push for an expansion of already draconian and sometimes overtly racist criminal justice policies.
But a paper published in the May edition of the journal Social Science & Medicine, titled “The enduring impact of historical and structural racism on urban violence in Philadelphia,” adds an intriguing piece of evidence to a growing body of research that links the history of racial discrimination in cities to current problems with gun violence. This research suggests that fighting systematic racism is a better solution to urban crime than the heavy-handed policing tactics prescribed by Trump and his supporters.
The researchers, who all work with the Penn Injury Science Center at the University of Pennsylvania, took a look at modern maps of gun-violence hotspots in Philadelphia and compared them to an infamous redlining map of the city produced in 1937 by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation. What they found was that areas of Philadelphia deemed “red zones” 80 years ago strongly correlate to areas that now have a high concentration of gun violence.
Redlining was the denial of certain services etc to certain districts based upon ethnic composition. The effect was to make sure that the ethnic compositions stayed put where they were. If you can’t get a mortgage, build a bit of equity, then move on up out then you can’t move on up and out.
Now Amanduh is celebrating the finding that historically and predominantly black districts have higher gun violence than non-historically and predominantly black population districts.
You know, if I did that I’m sure I would be called a racist.