I continue to read, reflect, and shine a spotlight on the essays in the New York Times Magazine’s 1619 Project.
Princeton University professor Kevin Kruse, who I know as That-History-Guy-on-Twitter, wrote an essay titled: “What does a traffic jam in Atlanta have to do with segregation? Quite a lot”
A quote that resonated for me comes from the closing:
In the end, Atlanta’s traffic is at a standstill because its attitude about transit is at a standstill, too. Fifty years after its Interstates were set down with an eye to segregation and its rapid-transit system was stunted by white flight, the city is still stalled in the past. (Kruse)
I appreciate how these articles delineate examples of systematic discrimination. The earliest versions of most of our governmental assistance programs, as Kruse and other writers point out, were deliberately designed to exclude people of color.
This article reminded me of the three months I lived in Atlanta not long after I graduated from college. I remember hearing back then how Gwinnett County had voted against expanding the transit service for racist reasons, and I have had a grudge against that county ever since. It sounds as if little has changed. Apparently, preserving systems of discrimination against the poor and people of color is more important than saving the damn planet, which raises the question, as it always does: How foolish are these people?
The answer then and now: Very.