Ta-Nehisi says the truth about White Flight in Detroit is "both more elegant and more monstrous" than the image of "scared and bigoted whites fleeing the encroaching onyx horde":
[Thomas Sugrue, author of The Origins Of The Urban Crisis,] shows that "White Flight" began long before blacks began moving in significant numbers into white neighborhoods.
It's been some time, but I want to say the outmigration, in Detroit, began as early as the 1940s--a period that most people conveniently consider a golden age. Moreover, Origins (along with Kenneth Jackson's stellar Crabgrass Frontier) shows that the outmigration didn't simply result from rank and individual color prejudice, but from something more systemic--racist federal, state and local public policy. The FHA, conspiring to devalue property as soon as one black family moved in, block busting realtors, and urban renewal advocates effectively colluded to create white flight.
My point here is that "White Flight" wasn't a product of pure capitalism, market forces and culture. It was the result of social engineering. The terms "White Flight" evinces an ignorance of the policies which shaped the future of Detroit and cities around the country.
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