if you see something, say something

I’ve told everyone I know in Minneapolis (and many beyond) that – the South included – the Twin Cities are, by far, the most segregated metropolis I’ve experienced. And, in the Twin Cities, my art is my milieu, so…

From The Artist Loft: Affordable Housing (for White People) by Alana Semuels1 for The Atlantic:

This type of majority-white subsidized housing is not unique. According to the report from the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity at the University of Minnesota, about 6 percent of housing built using low-income tax credits in Minneapolis and St. Paul is built for artists. And those buildings don’t look at all like traditional affordable units. The artist housing is 82.4 percent white, and the average income of tenants is $29,890. Only about 3.3 percent of tenants receive rental assistance. All other housing built with low-income-housing tax credits in those two cities, by contrast, is 19.8 percent white, with an average income of $17,140, and 67 percent of tenants receive rental assistance.

(I despise ‘if you see something, say something™‘ messages; they pathologize all public behavior, but never the institutions or systems that create pathologically harmful social stratifications. In my disgust, I’ve dreamed of having a place to report irksome state-sponsored segregation like TSA Pre✓® lines or these artist and teacher ‘projects’2 Perhaps I’ll create a bureau…)

  1. After Ta-Nehisi, my favorite writers at The Atlantic are Ed Yong, Vann R. Newkirk II, Krishnadev Calamur, Bourree Lam, Kaveh Waddell, and, most of all, Alana Semuels who, as in the excerpt above, is on that race-and-economic-opportunity beat. ↩︎
  2. It’s funny: Most teachers wouldn’t dare live only with other teachers – too much like living in the ‘real’ projects. And yet, artists love to hole up with one another. Self-image is a strange thing, eh? ↩︎