Connecticut's racist NIMBYs have used zoning laws and dirty tricks to make it one of the most unequal, racially segregated states in the union

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Yeah, but you see, the SOUTH is the real problem! Why don’t we just give those hick neo-confederates what they want and all will be perfect in Amurica! /s


Though the white, wealthy towns won’t let poor people live there, they rely on them to do low-waged work; the long commutes and poor services endured by these workers means that there’s enormous pent-up demand for low-cost housing within these exclusive communities.

And of course, when the working poor (and increasingly any workers making under $80k) try to find workarounds so they’re not spending 4 hours a day commuting…


Also, Joe Lieberman and Chris Dodd…the “Democratic” here definitely calls for scare quotes.


Connecticut is a soulless, boring, wasteland. Every other state in New England has some kind of charm. Connecticut feels like nothing more than a NYC suburb, and seems to have more in common with New Jersey than Massachusetts.


The good thing about keeping people of color poor is that you can use poverty as a stand-in or dog whistle for your racism and not sound racist. Win-win!


One of my favorite novelists, Alice Mattison, writes about this divide in Connecticut, especially in her latest book, Conscience. She is that rare entity, a novelist of ideas.


The armpit of America

Connecticut absolutely has a racial divide – and there’s some seriously lousy parts of that state – but most racially segregated? I’ve lived in Kentucky and Ohio and spent plenty of time in the Deep South, and there’s just no comparison.


In the first episode of the television show In the Heat of the Night, Howard Rollins gave the best-ever explanation of the difference between southern racism and northern racism: “In the south, whites don’t care how close the black man gets as long as he doesn’t get too big. In the north, they don’t care how big the black man gets as long as he doesn’t get too close.”


Obviously racism plays a huge part in this, but also, local governments and schools are funded by property taxes, the people who’s jobs are on the line are at direct risk of having less money, having to cut staff, etc. if the local property taxes go down. This is a clear perverse incentive. I think the answer needs to include changing the incentives for local governments, I would argue that if each state earmarked a wedge of the pie of the overall state budget to fund local city/county level government, and then allocated it by population numbers, those incentives would be reversed. Suddenly some affordable high density housing get’s more bodies in your town, and brings funding with them. At the very minimum this should be done with education funding, but here in Minnesota, where we did that, we than promptly started to massively underfund education, and the burbs all passed referenda, and now it’s as unequal as it ever was.


I grew up in Connecticut, and I mostly agree with the first part of your statement-- CT is pretty boring and soulless, although there are occasional bright spots (Real Art Ways in Hartford, for example.)

But there are two or three Connecticuts. This article is mostly dealing with the wealthy southwestern part of the state, which has this vibe of rich NYers who have “made it” and buy mansions in places like Greenwich, Westport, Darien, etc. It’s very different than Hartford or Waterbury or Norwich. And then there are the rural northern corners of the state that do in fact have a lot more in common with Massachusetts or upstate NY.


I grew up in Maine and have lived in a few places in the south, and my conclusion is that we’ve got racist assholes everywhere, and they’re ALL real problems. The racist assholes in Maine just managed to get by relatively undetected for a long time because everybody was white. (They sure came out of the woodwork when a moderately sized group of Somali refugees settled in central Maine, though.)


The issue of who gets to move into my neighborhood is vexing. On the one hand, when white kids move into Boyle Heights and drive up rents and open fancy coffee places and galleries, we have gentrification. The residents of BH make a good argument for keeping certain “whites love 'em” businesses out and for not selling houses to white gentrifiers. Disturbingly, the arguments for keeping poor people (of whatever hue, though mostly brown) out of white neighborhoods rhyme with the anti-gentrification arguments.
The difference of course is the power/wealth gradient. Those at the top want to stop people from climbing up. Those at the bottom want to avoid disruption too, but have a harder time of it.
There’s an interesting article in the LA Times about Howlin’ Ray’s (Louisiana style) Hot Chicken in Chinatown. The author is a little bit too much about how “nobody’s happy with how this turns out,” when actually the real estate interests are hugely delighted.


I rather liked living there. Although when you google my home town, this pops up, which I suppose is thematically consistent with the article. Ewww.

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I grew up in Maine too, and was going to have a similar comment, with the exception that Maine does give you a control group to view what rich people do to de-zone poor people when there isn’t a race factor. The answer seems to be, “much the same, but missing an added layer of cruelty and indifference” I’m thinking of downtown Brunswick, and how successive “anti-loitering” laws pushed the fishermen/townies out of sight as the downtown gentrified.

Man, you’re right though, when the somali refugees showed up (intentionally, because Miane shared their pace of life and small town values, I might add!) the state truly went batshit.


[quote=“nungesser, post:9, topic:144971”]
I’ve lived in Kentucky and Ohio and spent plenty of time in the Deep South, and there’s just no comparison.
[/quote]The Deep South has miles of rural areas where poor whites and poor blacks have to attend public schools together because neither can afford the segregation academies. There was forced busing in the south in the 1980s. All these places are racist, especially Louisiana, but the north is better at enforcement.

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Another factor is that from ~1950-1990 the poor whites in the rust belt became significantly less poor than their Dixie counterparts thanks to unionization, which enabled white flight in response to desegregation/busing.

Of course, many of those formerly poor whites are poor again, and having completely turned their backs on the mechanism which allowed them to take leave of the city, now find themselves trapped in crumbling suburbs.

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Grew up in CT. Moved out in 2012. Most of my family have now left as well. You couldn’t pay me to move back. It’s like the least interesting parts of all the states that surround it. It could be absorbed into those states and everyone in CT would be like, “meh,” because that’s what they are. Meh embodied. It’s taken years for me to grow past my inherent meh-ness. And yeah, the racism is crazy. My dad, the only one left in CT, is a really nice guy, and would never be anything but cool to the black or brown people he meets. But when he’s in a safe space with a bunch of fellow old white dudes? Woof.