The Other Kind of Racism in Buffalo

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Last weekend, an eighteen-year-old white man killed ten people and injured three in a Tops grocery store located in Buffalo’s majority-Black East End. It was a deliberately planned attack, motivated by white-supremacist ideology; the gunman searched by Zip Code to find the highest concentration of Black people in his area, and then he drove two hundred miles to reach them. This segregation of Black people in an underserved neighborhood, in the third-poorest city in the nation, is reflective of a more commonplace and more pervasive form of American racism. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor is a contributing writer at The New Yorker and a professor of African American Studies at Princeton. She joins the guest host Evan Osnos to discuss the politics of housing, policing, and education in Buffalo, and how these structural forces relate to the rise of violent right-wing extremism. “We are so enamored with the idea of racism as explicit, as you most certainly know it when you see it,” Taylor says. “But these other manifestations—that mean that forty per cent of Black children in Buffalo live under the poverty line, that thirty-eight per cent of Black adults live under the poverty line, that the quality of housing on the East Side of Buffalo is wood-based and deteriorating compared to the brick houses of the West Side of the city—these kinds of insidious forms of racism are allowed to continue unaddressed for decades.”

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