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Letter To The Editor: Redlining In Mount Vernon by Helena Edwards

My hometown Mount Vernon, New York made national news headlines recently for the infamous two mayors saga, but what lies hidden underneath this mayoral fight for power is a racist cancer that has been destroying America. This racist cancer is responsible for the so-called wealth gap between Blacks and Whites in America. We know it as REDLINING, but most people would tell you that Redlining is no longer happening. They would tell you that it is a part of America’s racist past, and we should simply move on.

You may dress up a wolf in sheep clothing, and some may call that wolf a sheep based solely on looks. However, those who look a little deeper wouldn’t become distracted by the “sheep’s clothing.” They would study the pattern of behavior by the animal and know that it is a wolf dressed up as a sheep. When we hear the term Redlining, we automatically think about the 1950s, when Black Veterans who served their country honorably like any White Veteran were left out of America’s GI Bill benefits for housing loan guarantees and education because, they lived in the wrong neighborhoods.

However, they were prevented from moving into the “right” neighborhoods because the White People who lived in the Levittowns didn’t want Blacks to move into their neighborhood. So, even though these Black Veterans were entitled to have the VA guarantee their loans to purchase homes, they couldn’t get the loans, because of certain technicalities.

The biggest technicality in this covert racist scheme was that government policies designated certain areas as worthless zones and banks collaborating with these government policy makers refused to loan money for purchase of properties within these zones. But, here is the kicker – every single one of these worthless zones was a zone where America’s “inferior” people – Black People resided.

So, while White Americans were able to obtain loans, and don’t forget grab a tuition free education, Black Americans were left behind to remain poor and ignorant. Well, you say that is in the past, so we should just move on. However, recent reports highlight a massive income gap between Blacks and Whites in America. Some people blame Obama. They say that Black net worth was greatly reduced during the Obama Administration. It is always simple to pinpoint one devil and blame him for all of the ills. In that way, the rest of us pretend to be good – godlike and our consciences go guilt-free. But, I am not about to let us off so easy. I am about to show you the nastiness about America’s current racist policies that continue to keep Blacks poor and ignorant while White America continues to prosper.

Say hello to Mount Vernon, New York where the majority of the people in political offices are Black, but economically Mount Vernon is a disaster area. Mount Vernon is supporting evidence for racists who would look on the surface and think, “the City is a dump because Black leadership (Black People in general) are inferior to whites.” John Wayne was recently being castigated as a racist because he warned against putting Black People in power. He felt that Black People were irresponsible and immature and as such, they wouldn’t make great leaders. When you look at Mount Vernon, you might want to believe that John Wayne was right. However, that’s what appears to be on the surface. Underneath, there is something much more wicked – we call it racism – that is going on.

Just like in the 1950s, when government policy makers designated Black neighborhoods as worthless zones, and as a result Black areas were being racially discriminated against via Redlining, Mount Vernon today is experiencing the same exact thing. Today, Mount Vernon is on the list of places designated to relocate all of the poor people, criminals, and undesirables from areas that are now being reclaimed by whites. As whites relocate into Harlem, Bedstuy and other predominantly former Black ghettos, the poor Blacks are displaced and the homeless population is increased.

The issue of housing for these “undesirables” become a problem for the government. So, policy makers and crooked politicians collude to move these “undesirables” into Mount Vernon. Mount Vernon is 4 square miles and we have a current population about 70,000 people. We don’t have much land mass remaining to build on. However, developers who are over saturating Mount Vernon with People are building huge concrete skyscrapers that block out the sun to literally house people on top of each other. Black People are being deprived of “The Green Deal.” We are being kept in dark literally and figuratively.

This over saturation of people with problems – yes, these are people with an overwhelming amount of social ills – rapists, other sex offenders, felons, drug addicts and mental patients – is creating a colossal public health and safety crisis in Mount Vernon. Just about a month ago, a man high on some type of substance came onto my property as a crazed animal. This man caused my family great emotional trauma. He refused to leave my property – asserting that he is the owner. The police had to be called to take him away. I was told by the police that Mount Vernon has an epidemic of mental health cases, but this goes unreported.

Along with these dangers, a more chronic element of the racist policies that label Mount Vernon the latrine is the fact that the property values of predominantly Black homeowners are being strategically lowered. Therefore, we are continuously losing wealth while the wealth of our white counterparts in other areas is continuously increased. This is racist stratification 101 and no amount of dressing this wolf in sheep’s clothing is going to make it a sheep.

The Black leaders in Mount Vernon are no different from the Africans who sold their people into slavery. As long as they can get “a few dollars more,” they have no qualms about selling out the future of our descendants. This scenario is being played out in every Black City in America and it is the main reason why Blacks keep experiencing poverty while the rest of America is experiencing prosperity. The two mayors saga is equivalent to two Africa chiefs fighting over control of the sale of Black Africans as slaves to the White Slave trader. So, this might be 2019 – 400 years since the first Slaves landed in Virginia, but for Black People in Mount Vernon slavery isn’t over.


About Black Westchester (955 Articles)
Black Westchester - News With The Black Point Of View is an online news magazine for people of color for Westchester and the Tri- State area of New York at every economic level. Our mission is to promote the concept of “community” through media.
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