Thomas Sowell
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Separate residential patterns that are visible to the naked eye, when the people are black and white, are also pervasive among people who physically all look alike. Charles Murray's eye-opening new book, "Coming Apart," shows in detail how different segments of the white American population not only live separately from each other but have very different ways of life -- and are growing increasingly remote from one another in beliefs and behavior.

None of this matters to politicians and ideologues who are hell-bent to mix and match people according to their own preconceptions. Moreover, like many things that the government does, it does residential integration more crudely than when people sort themselves out.

Back in the days when E. Franklin Frazier was doing his scholarly studies of the composition and expansion of black ghettoes, he found the most educated and cultured elements of the black communities living on the periphery of these communities.

It was these kinds of people who typically led the expansion of the black community into the surrounding white communities. By contrast, government programs often take dysfunctional families from high crime ghetto neighborhoods and put them down in the midst of middle-class neighborhoods by subsidizing their housing.

Whether these middle-class neighborhoods are already either predominantly black or predominantly white, the residents are often outraged at the increased crime and other behavior problems inflicted on them by politicians and bureaucrats.

But their complaints usually fall on deaf ears. People convinced of their own superior wisdom and virtue have no time to spare for what other people want, whether in housing or health care or a whole range of other things.

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Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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