Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Low Down on Sundown Towns

You've heard of "sundown towns" I'm sure.

Those places where, if you're black, Latino, gay, Asian Pacific, etc..., you better not set foot in after sundown... if at all. Or if you're there, you'd better get out.

Kinda like how the Katrina survivors were treated by neighboring towns after the hurricane a year ago. Or when you're driving back to college and know not to stop in "that town" for gas or food.

Yeah, those places.

This morning, I heard the most fascinating interview with Dr. James Loewen, author of a new book called Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of American Racism.

The interview was on my morning fave, Front Page with Dominique DiPrima.

James Loewen talked about the spoken and unspoken practices towns used to keep people considered "different" out, but he also put several current areas in the United States on check for continuing the practice of restricting its real estate and living quarters to white only, explored the idea of white people leaving white suburbs for even whiter rural 'burbs, and what language codes are hidden in real estate listings and town papers.

Very fascinating interview. And of course, most of us know the places in our areas where we shouldn't be after dark because the residents don't want us there. If you don't know what areas have historically been "sundown towns" check out the interactive map. You probably have one near you.

And if you're not familiar with Dr. Loewen's work, your mind might be refreshed with this book title: Lies My Teacher Told Me. He wrote that book too, to correct the misinformation in a majority of our high school history textbooks.

1 comment:

The Captain said...

Very informative!