I often contemplate leaving my position as one of the world’s foremost wypipologists and pursuing a career in the lucrative field of studying shit black people already know.
If I did switch careers and study No-Shit-Sherlockology, I think I’d excel at wasting time and money researching obvious subjects, like the CNN poll that found that 53 percent of people are pessimistic about Donald Trump’s presidency. I’m pretty sure I could’ve saved Pew Research at least $7 when it printed up survey forms asking people if Trump had made race relations worse.
And did we really need scientists to tell us that mixing marijuana and cocaine is a bad idea? Was someone planning to smoke a crack blunt until they reviewed the data? Who does this research? And why haven’t I been invited to the after-parties?
For instance, a recent study by Indiana University sociologist Samuel H. Kye titled, “The Persistence of White Flight in Middle-Class Suburbia,” proved that white people don’t like living around minorities. I was just about to check Indiana University’s graduate-level courses in obvious studies when I decided to read further.
It turns out that sociologists studying white flight—the tendency of white people to abandon neighborhoods once minorities move in—have always held that the phenomenon of white flight wasn’t just about whites wanting to live in neighborhoods where people buy sweaters for their dogs and put their children on leashes. Previous research concluded that white flight was the result of three factors:
- People of color were poorer: For much of American history, a growth in minority population signaled a decline in a neighborhood’s socioeconomic status. Therefore, previous studies hypothesized that white people weren’t necessarily fleeing people of color, they were simply moving to better, middle-class neighborhoods.
- White people didn’t like cities: The white population in urban areas has been declining for years. Most forays into this subject reasoned that white flight was the result of the white urban exodus into suburbia and the preference of blacks and Hispanics to live in cities.
- White people weren’t racist, they were just practical: They weren’t running from minorities, they just liked neighborhoods with good schools and low crime. Oftentimes, minorities reverse-gentrify neighborhoods because whites move to the suburbs to get away from urban thugs and schools with no golf team.
So Kye decided to take a novel approach. Instead of looking at small sample sizes in urban areas, he only examined data from 27,891 suburban middle-class neighborhoods using census data from 1990, 2000 and 2010. Kye figured that would eliminate a neighborhood’s socioeconomic status from the equation. After all, if whites were found to have left middle-class suburban neighborhoods when minorities moved in, it would have to be because of race, right?
Turns out, it was about race all along.
In the 2,352 neighborhoods that showed instances of white flight (when 100 white people or 25 percent of the white people packed up their Subarus and left), Kye found some astounding results. (And by “astounding” I mean, if Captain Obvious pointed this out, he would be demoted to sergeant, maybe even private.)
Kye found that middle-class whites were more likely than whites in poor neighborhoods to leave a neighborhood once minorities moved in. And despite what many believe, their fear of being infected with melanin wasn’t limited to that of blacks. Kye found that Hispanics and Asians moving into mostly white suburbs produced white flight at similar levels to that resulting from black people moving into the Caucasian hoods.
Surprisingly, the places with the most white flight were scattered across the country. After Kye subtracted the data for metropolitan neighborhoods, he found that the 20 counties with the highest levels of middle-class white flight were:
- Los Angeles County
- Prince George’s County, Md.
- Gwinnett County, Ga.
- Middlesex County, N.J.
- Montgomery County, Md.
- Fairfax County, Va.
- Broward County, Fla.
- Miami-Dade County, Fla.
- Dallas County
- Harris County, Texas
- Nassau County, N.Y.
- Bergen County, N.J.
- Riverside County, Calif.
- Cook County, Ill.
- Prince William County, Va.
- Alameda County, Calif.
- Contra Costa County, Calif.
- Orange County, Calif.
- San Diego County
- Loudoun County, Va.
Even though gentrification is one of the favorite sports of white America, Kye’s research shows that, for some reason, colonizers don’t like their neighborhoods being colonized.
And it has nothing to do with crime, poverty, schools or socioeconomics. They just don’t like living around people of color. The data shows it.
While this information reveals the racial divide in America, it may soon be overshadowed by my groundbreaking study showing that eating a Krispy Kreme doughnut while drinking whiskey and smoking a joint rolled in bacon as you dance in your underwear to Prince’s “Kiss” can help fight depression.
I’m doing the research now.