Custom «Not in My Neighborhood» Sample Essay

Custom «Not in My Neighborhood» Sample Essay

There has been a lot of change in the United States in regards to the rift that existed between the whites and the blacks. In his book Not in My Neighborhood, Antero Pietila describes the interaction between the blacks and the whites that was triggered by the need for suburbanization. Moreover, both of them would not occupy the same place, and they felt comfortable away from each other. This paper will focus on the seminar that I took part in with this famous writer.

Antero Pietila discussed his interest in various matters that sparked during his visit to New York in 1964. The writer was from Finland where there were no black people and only a few Jews. He says that the polyglot metropolis in New York stunned him. Nonetheless, he describes the racism that existed in Baltimore, a city in the United States which according to Pietila is not mentioned under the American history but plays an important role. In early history, Baltimore had a mixed system where both black and white people would engage in the same activities without much racial fuss.


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The author talks about Baltimore enacting a law in 1910 where the blacks were prohibited from relocating to white residential areas, and the opposite is true. During this period, there was neighborhood succession between the Jews and non-Jews. Pietila describes a situation where the latter would relocate to a different region if the Jews moved into those areas. Moreover, he states that the cause of this turmoil in Baltimore relates to suburbanization, which had gathered momentum in America due to the transportation provided by horse-drawn trolleys and after 1890, by electric streetcars. Every individual felt the need to live in a safe and comfortable neighborhood, irrespective of skin color. Apart from that, Pietila talks about the real estate discrimination between the representatives of both nations where the whites formed the McCulloh Street – Madison Avenue Protective Association. While the whites lived in the Main Street, the Blacks lived behind them in alley dwellings. The author also explains on the Great Fire that created a revolution of the happenings in Baltimore. A burning cigar ignited the Great Fire in the downtown that razzed 140 acres of downtown and destroyed 1526 buildings. This resulted in individuals fearing to occupy the Downtown thus leading to the wealthy families moving to suburban areas.

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There was a change in all this by the 1886 United States Civil Right Acts which stated that the blacks should enjoy the same property rights as the white Americans. This was then weakened by the Supreme Court giving a ruling on the law of segregation. The latter resulted in the existence of segregated housing strategies in many cities in the North such as Boston and New York. The author describes a situation in which the blacks were expelled from their residential areas sometimes at gunpoint. Those that resisted eviction were beaten or pistol-whipped, and their properties were ransacked and burnt. This fact demonstrated the brutality that the blacks faced. In 1917, the Supreme Court made a decision that nullified the law of segregation and allowed an individual to practice owner’s right to sell real estate to whomever he or she wishes.

According to Pietila, the government consisted wholly of the whites who also composed and enforced the laws of the land. Those persons were the sole rulers of the land and made laws that favored them over all the other groups of people of color. Pietila expresses the government’s disinterest in the health care of the blacks during disease outbreaks. Conversely, he describes a further rift in the housing systems during the ruling of Franklin Roosevelt, where cities were mapped to prevent the federal government and financial institutions from risky loans. However, this information was not made known to the general public.

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In conclusion, the author discussed a period of discrimination practices as a result of all Americans in Baltimore that ranged from racial residential places. The blacks were prohibited from accessing some residential areas leading to further rift between the whites and the blacks. According to the Pietila, the whites were the main rulers. Therefore, they set laws that only favored them.

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