"The United States is built on one central moral ideal or paradigm - that many different racial groups can and should live in harmony in a single country.
"The time has come for us to ask whether this central ideal of American political life describes reality. Does it work? Should it be abandoned?"
For purposes of this lesson, we will call this moral ideal or paradigm "integrationism".
To be valid, a secular ideal or theory must have predictive value. In other words, the theory must accurately predict the future consequence of an action such as, in our case, gathering several races within a single country.
Even if a theory lacks predictive value it will be believed (for a time) if it has descriptive value - if the theory or generalization at least describes the current trend.
Does the integrationist moral paradigm accurately describe what is happening now, if temporarily?
This lesson reprints excerpts from four articles from the pages of the Wall Street Journal. The first excerpt is about the demographics of white flight from high immigration states, and the consequent trend toward regional segregation and balkanization. The second is an excerpt about the emerging importance of "global tribes" based on ethnicity. The third is a survey on the job hunting practices and results for "minorities" in the class of '94, and the final excerpt documents the migration of the black middle class to a few cities.
Upon reviewing those articles, one may wish to consider the following questions:
1. Does the integrationist moral paradigm describe reality in multi-racial countries or empires around the world?
2. If the paradigm fails everywhere else in the world, (see Yggdrasil's Lesson #2) isn't its failure probable here in the U.S as well?
3. Is the integrationist paradigm really moral?
4. How does one determine the morality of this paradigm? Does integrationism reduce conflict? Does it reduce human suffering? Does it increase human happiness?
5. Is it possible that the integrationist paradigm is a product of self interest, motivated by reducing labor costs, expanding markets, and dividing populations so as to facilitate political control, and has nothing to do with minimizing human misery?
The integrationist paradigm did not exist until the industrial revolution. It seems that the paradigm is not believed anywhere in the world but in Western Europe, the U.S., Canada and Australia. The rest of the world is bristling with self-determination, secession, and ethnic cleansing.
6. Is it possible that the integrationist paradigm is a "host specific" ideology applied only to middle class Europeans capable of generating an economic surplus (much like the lamprey eel attaches to a bass)?
7. Have you joined a "global tribe" yet?
Yggdrasil recommends that you read the following:
MIGRATION patterns grow ever more complex-and potentially troublesome.
University of Michigan demographer William H. Frey analyzed 1990 census data to see how immigration and migration flows within the U.S. affected states and regions between 1985 and 1990.
Dr. Frey found that Hispanic, Asian and black immigrants from abroad predictably clustered in the half-dozen easily accessible states with large minority populations: California, New York, Texas, New Jersey, Illinois and Massachusetts. At the same time, however, residents of these states were leaving in droves. And all but California lost substantially more people to other states than they gained from them. Even California, long a mecca for residents from other states, had an unusually small increase of population gain from internal migration.
Those leaving the six states included strikingly large numbers of less-skilled, lower-income whites. Some had lost their jobs, often to immigrants, but Dr. Frey believes many were seeking to distance themselves from the newcomers, often moving only to neighboring states.
At the other end of the scale were states, largely in the Southeast and the West, where people coming in from other states far outnumbered those leaving. Biggest gainers were Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Washington and Arizona. Strong economies and/or good climate were the main attractions. Except for Florida, most had comparatively low immigration from abroad- even in Florida, the net gain from internal migration was almost three times that from abroad.
And the economically depressed states in the upper Midwest and oil patch saw minimal immigration from abroad and other states but had large outflows of residents. Michigan, Ohio, Iowa, Oklahoma and Louisiana were among these states. The exodus included substantial numbers of better-educated men and women heading for greener pastures in the Southeast and Pacific coast.
Dr. Frey worries about a "Balkanizing" pattern emerging from these trends. He warns that "the continuation of these processes - a minority-dominated immigration coupled with an internal migration 'white flight' - could lead to sharply divergent race and sociodemographic structures across broad regions and states."
* * *
BY DENNIS FARNEY
Staff Reporter of The Wall Street Journal
* * *
Those divisions are deepened by what the political process has become. Ideally a force for community, national politics now is a force of fragmentation. Washington is gridlocked. What is less evident, however, is the potential of the global economy to intensify the forces of national fragmentation.
The reason, argues Harvard's Mr. Reich in an interview, is that the global economy disproportionately benefits a minority of American workers - about one in five, he thinks - while the remaining 80% benefit only modestly or even fall behind. American cities, he says, are starting to divide between "the people in glass towers"-and everybody else.
The glass-tower people are highly skilled knowledge workers in sleek office buildings. They are worldly in the literal sense of the word, part of a global communications web. Cosmopolitan, they may have more in common with their counterparts in Germany and Japan than with their fellow Americans who work the assembly line across town. The glass-tower people are upward bound; the people outside may not be.
Everywhere the global market is undermining the nation-state as a socially integrating force, argues author Joel Kotkin, a senior fellow for Denver's Center for the New West. In America, Mr. Kotkin continues, "the global economy is dragging different parts of the country in different directions. Los Angeles has stronger ties to Taipei than to Kansas City. The Puget Sound region, with its ties to Asia, doesn't relate to Japan-bashing in the District of Columbia."
The future Mr. Kotkin foresees in a forthcoming book, "Tribes," is one of "cosmopolitan global tribes" - sophisticated global subcultures based on ethnic identity--jetting and faxing and doing business across ever-less-important national borders. Inside America, he says, the loose 18th century Articles of Confederation may eventually become a more appropriate organizing principle than the Constitution that replaced them. And the Democratic and Republican parties? They may go the way of the guaranteed annual raise.
"Ethnicity and regional ties are a lot more important than political parties," he says. "Parties are anachronisms. Anachronisms disappear."
Politicians, suggests GOP consultant Todd Domke, are becoming "custodial" figures, rather like museum guards, and less and less a part of creating anything. "Voters see creation in the private sector and their private lives." he says. "In politics, to paraphrase Camus, they hear the same words telling them the same lies."
* * *
THE TOP NEW hires of color began their career searches before their successful white classmates and conducted their searches by different rules, according to a study of the class of '94.
Nearly 25% of the minority hires began looking into potential employers before their junior year of college, compared with 6% of whites, according to the study by Hanigan Consulting Group, New York. Three of four non-white graduates participated in corporate internship or co-op programs, compared with two of three whites. All the minority hires said they were planning to go to graduate school, compared with 82% of whites.
"The minority students who make it are determined not to lose the credential game," says Maury Hanigan, president. In focus groups, black, Hispanic and Asian students said their estimation of a firm's racial environment far outweighed its name or industry position. To gather and share information about potential employers, they develop extensive grapevines among their ethnic group with internship or employment experiences.
"All companies make claims of having diversity as a priority, and the students know it's not equally true in all places," Ms. Hanigan says, "so they discount what the companies say and turn to each other for credible information." Thus, one bad minority internship experience can damage a firm's reputation among many desirable nonwhite candidates, she notes.
These strategies may be paying off, the study suggests. Nonwhite hires received an average three job offers, compared with two for whites, and reported slightly higher average starting salaries.
BY JAMES S. HIRSCH and SUZANNE ALEXANDER
Staff Reporters of The Wall Street Journal
PITTSBURGH--Justin L. Johnson had the name, the credentials and the talent to write his own ticket in Pittsburgh. The problem was that his hometown never felt like home.
He attended an elite local prep school and the University of Chicago. After he graduated from Harvard Law School, he returned to Pittsburgh, where both his father and uncle are judges. The mayor appointed him to the civil service commission. A local newspaper named him "one of 20 people to watch" in 1988.
But Mr. Johnson wasn't happy here. As a successful young black with a privileged background, he saw himself caught between two worlds: a white corporate establishment and a struggling black working class. He felt isolated as the only black lawyer at his firm. He felt guilty and frustrated when he drove through poor black neighborhoods, and he believed that residents there resented his champagne-colored Nissan Maxima, his Brooks Brothers suits and silk ties. He had few peers.
So the 27-year-old Mr. Johnson moved to Atlanta, a city with a thriving, self-assured black professional class. "I had every advantage in Pittsburgh but I really feel much more comfortable here," he says over a steak dinner at a downtown club, above the cooing of a jazz singer on stage. "In Pittsburgh I was always in a white environment, and I had the feeling of isolation. Down here, you see successful blacks, and you feel a sense of well- being and pride."
Mr. Johnson's move is part of a historical reversal: Northern blacks are continuing to return to the South that their parents or grandparents had fled in an exodus from oppression and economic hardship.
Since 1970, Atlanta, with its strong black political leadership and high-profile black colleges, has become a magnet for professional blacks in the North. Other Southern cities, among them Birmingham Ala., Little Rock, Ark., and Raleigh, N.C. and even parts of the rural South, are also attracting Northern blacks. For the first time in more than a century, according to the Census Bureau, the proportion of black Americans living in the South has risen; 56% of them lived in the region in 1988, up from 52% in 1980.
Northern cities with large populations of middle-class black people, such as New York and Chicago, have experienced no huge exodus. But census figures tell a different story in other cities-Milwaukee, Detroit, St. Louis, Buffalo, Pittsburgh and San Francisco. The data show that more black residents moved away than moved in during the 1980s, says James Johnson, a geography professor at the University of California at Los Angeles.
For years, black residents of Northern cities have been moving to the suburbs for better housing and to escape inner-city crime and deprivation. Others have joined the white migration to the Sun Belt for largely economic reasons. But among black professionals already established in their careers-lawyers, executives, accountants, bankers and others-moving South seems often motivated by a desire to become part of a larger community of successful black residents with a richer cultural and social life than they had experienced in the North.
* * *
Edward Barnette, also from the Boston area, is in the process of transferring to Atlanta for the sake of his daughter. While in the Boston area, Mr. Barnette lived in a spacious house on a six- acre lot in suburban Boston, earned a six-figure salary for a large corporation, employed a nanny for his three-year-old daughter, Camille. She has attended a private suburban preschool, where she has been one of only a handful of black children.
'I'm Not Smart' When Mr. Barnette recently complimented Camille for an accomplishment, she replied, "I'm not smart, Daddy. Don't say I am." Mr. Barnette was stunned. He believes she had picked up signals that She wasn't as intelligent as her white class mates. "If all the people she comes in contact with are white, she won't have an appreciation for her own people," he says. "Camille is somewhat standoffish when she's around black people. It absolutely crushes me."
Eric Thompson quit his job last year at a Mellon Bank office in Pittsburgh, where he says, he was the only black in a 60-employee division, and he took a job in Atlanta. The 29-year-old accountant previously had worked at Price Waterhouse in Pittsburgh, where he was the only black among 300 employees, he says. (Price Waterhouse says there were actually five blacks among 275 employees when Mr. Thompson left in 1986.) Mr. Thompson says he visited many companies in the area when he worked for Price Waterhouse, "and I never saw any blacks. I saw one in Dayton, Ohio, and she was a secretary."
At Mellon, Mr. Thompson rarely joined his colleagues for happy hours. For one thing, he doesn't drink. But he also felt awkward as the only black customer in bars that played country and Western or rock music. He prefers jazz.
His evenings and weekends weren't much better. There isn't much nightlife that appeals to black professionals in Pittsburgh. One of the few nightclubs catering to them is 15 miles outside the city. Singles often have a hard time finding one another. The soft-spoken Mr. Thompson would roam shopping malls by himself to kill time. Or he would go to movies. "That was prime time on my calendar," he says. Then there was midnight bowling with a friend or two. But since he moved to Atlanta last year, he has been so busy with jazz concerts, church events and other activities that he hasn't been to the lanes.
* * *
Mr. Thompson found a very different South when he walked into the Coca-Cola Co. headquarters last year for a job interview. His first impression: the throng of black professionals in the building. During the interview, he asked what positions high- ranking blacks filled. Back at Mellon, he says, he was dismayed that blacks didn't work in revenue-generating Jobs. While Mellon can't provide numbers, the bank says the notion that no blacks work in revenue-producing jobs is absurd.
In any case, Mr. Thompson says that at Coke "you see blacks in positions where they have an effect on the bottom line." And in Atlanta, there is comfort in numbers. The city's black population has increased by 24%, to 605,000, since 1980.
At Coke, Mr. Thompson is one of six blacks in a 30-member department, which also includes Hispanics and other minorities. The corporate culture gets high marks all around; the cafeteria, Mr. Thompson says, serves Southern food-fried chicken and greens.
Mr. Thompson met his girlfriend in the company's legal department. He lives in a luxury apartment with a swimming pool and tennis courts. Dressed in a dark suit, he sips cranberry juice in Mr. V's, an elegant and very crowded nightclub that attracts mostly black patrons. "I would have had to be a pioneer in Pittsburgh to make a mark," he says above the din of rhythm and blues music. "but in Atlanta, there were some doors that were already wide open."
Says Willie Thornton, an assistant professor at Emory University, who recently moved to Atlanta after receiving a Ph.D in finance at Harvard University: "In Atlanta there is a very visible black middle class. When someone sees you on the street, you could be a city councilman just as easily as a mugger. In Boston, people are less quick to think of you as a professional."
Some see a danger in the migration of black professionals from Northern cities. "My greatest despair is to see those who see racism and flee," says Harry Johnson, manager of corporate communications at Polaroid Corp. in Cambridge, Mass. "If Boston is as impoverished of black professionals as they say, then we need them . . . to bring new ideas, new commitment and passion." Lawyer Justin Johnson's decision to leave Pittsburgh bewildered his father, state Judge Justin M. Johnson, who felt the Johnson name would have opened many doors in Pittsburgh- A lifelong Pittsburgh resident, Mr. Johnson never felt he had to leave the city for a better life, and he doesn't understand his son's captivation with Atlanta's social scene. "I was brought up to understand that the greatest value was in doing hard work and doing a good job, and if you got pleasure, that was incidental," he says from his office, the walls lined with family photos. "I can't imagine moving from one community to the next because there's not a lot of people from a particular group to have quality relaxation time." Nonetheless, he knows that times have changed. He has seen pictures of his son laughing with friends on a boat in a lake. Those experiences are important, he says, "but I never had that."
For his part, the younger Mr. Johnson, who works for Alston & Bird, one of Atlanta's largest law firms, knows he is taking a professional risk. "When I came back to Pittsburgh (from law school), there was all this good will I could draw on," he says, "but the city still couldn't make me happy."
[Each of the above sets of excerpts are from longer articles that may be obtained in full from Dow Jones News Retrieval.]
© 1996-1998 Yggdrasil. All rights reserved. Distribute texts freely.