New York City is the most diverse city in the United States. However, as diverse as we are is how segregated we are socially.
I live in Queens borough of NYC and almost every bus or train will take you to a different town isolated with people of a certain ethnicity and race.
Flushing is one of three Chinese-Satellites, meaning these are business commercial areas populated with mostly Chinese and some other Asian minorities. Corona is primarily Hispanics and Latino's. There you can find Spanish restaurants from Mexican to Colombian to Ecuadorean to Venezuelan. There are bars, bodegas, little mom and pop shops, all sorts of services such as accounting, services for immigration, taxes, taxis, etc. Jamaica is populated with Blacks (or what the US CENSUS describes as black) Mostly, fast foods, pharmacies, independent business owner stores, delis, etc. Jackson Heights is a split between going from Spanish speaking countries and heritage into South Asian and Indian culture. Whitestone is a neighborhood kind of like Long Island. There's mostly houses and then an outlet shopping center close by with everything you could need in one outlet mall. Mostly Whites live in that area (Italian, Polish, Irish, etc)
Now there a few reasons as of to why we are segregated.
The Economy is pretty bad and we all, even the 'middle class' is struggling to make ends meet most days. We have prices for services going up, groceries, RENT...
When it comes to the working class in minorities neighborhoods such as Corona, Flushing, Jamaica, and Jackson Heights, sometimes renting someone's basement or second floor is the only option you have if it's for 500-1000. Which is less than half of what it costs for an apartment today.
Due to the pre-conceiving notions of racism and how much it's implemented in our society systematically, (Institutional Racism: A form of racism expressed through practice, of social and political institutes. Sometimes individuals or informal social groups, governed by behavioral norms that support racist thinking and foment active racism), sometimes someone who can afford an apartment or home in let's say Whitestone...will not be SHOWN or informed of an opening of a home in that area. Instead based on your race or ethnicity you will be informed of homes in the area where you 'fit' racially.
Let's not forget the implicit racism that exists in employers when hiring employees. Just because it says, "your race will not determine the outcome of your application" doesn't mean the subconscious won't kick in when looking at two resumes that are the same but one is Joe Whiteman and the other is Esperanza Martinez.
3. Real estate and Gentrification:
Gentrification is slowly becoming more noticeable with these new expensive companies buying out small shops for cheap in areas like Corona. This raises property value and therefore causes the small business owners to be bought out and leave to a different affordable area that hasn't been gentrified yet. Where they can afford living which lately has been the Bronx (Which part of the Bronx is already looking like mid-town Manhatten). Most of the minorities are being pushed out of these neighborhoods so that the upper middle class to rich persons may move into these areas to live, consume, and build.
Now, being a proud citizen of NYC. Most people in our communities (all communities) are open, accepting, and united. For example, all those protestors that have been coming out to fight for our women's rights, human rights, immigrant rights, black lives matter, refugees and more.
Just this Saturday 1-28-2017, there was a protest at JFK airport in response to the BAN on Muslims. I was actually watching the Facebook BuzzFeed live while writing this article. People were chanting "No hate no fear, Muslims are welcome here", people were expressing their reasons for coming to protest, that we have to fight and stand up for what we believe is right. For us to acknowledge what is immoral and do something about it. They were even singing This Land Is My Land together. It's so soothing, inspirational, powerful, moving and comforting to know that the racists, conservatives, and today's republicans we see on TV and in social media, DO NOT reflect all of the people in the United States.
Which brings me to the topic I've been leading up to. With so much exposure to different nationalities, religions, and the concept of race. Wit the stereotypes given to each of the ethnicities, and especially lately with Trump outright expressing his racism and stereotypes of every race/ethnicity...
Do YOU, yes you, personally feel as if you've ever discriminated someone?
Think about it. Maybe it wasn't in the most obvious form but what if you unconsciously were being racist?
Maybe you were implicitly racist when it came to asking someone for directions on the street? Maybe you asked the white woman about to pass by, rather than the black woman walking by.
If you are a teacher, what if you decided to call on John more often and congratulate him every time he got the right answer? John happens to be white. What if you only ever caught Stephanie doing the wrong thing and scolded and punished her? Stephanie happens to be Hispanic.
What if you're a student trying to socialize at a club, in class, or even at a party? What groups do you usually notice that you want to be a part of or talk to? When you meet someone new do you befriend them immediately or does it so happen the only ones you befriend are those of your similar back round, or the background of the race you favor to be a part of? Who are the people you usually surround yourself with? The elite race? The race similar to yours?
No matter what you are doing, who you are, what profession you're doing, and even if you don't consider yourself a 'racist'. Everyone should try and become more aware of how they interact with others. Not to mention how you make others feel. Be aware of yourself, it will not only improve your social relations but it will help you be a better individual overall for your well being.
If everyone continues to be implicitly biased and racist like this, we will never be integrated socially or intellectually or unite together. I personally make a lot of friends outside my race. I actually don't have many white friends. Mostly Black, African, or Hispanic, some of Asian (everyone within that continent, not just Chinese, Korean, and Japanese) and White.
Now I can befriend someone that is white socially, I can go up to them and have a conversation. However, I do not feel accepted often, nor acknowledged, nor as a friend to them for that matter. I would make contact with them, chat, change numbers. But when it came to social events, it just wasn't a thing. I'll be asked repeatedly for us to hang out when we run into one another but it never happened. Now some can make the argument that 'this sort of thing happens all the time, with anyone despite race." Some may even just say well they're 'fake.'
Well, in my opinion as an adult, when I make plans with someone or we talk about it, we actually communicate and make an equal and consistent effort.
The subliminal messages are there. Who knows what or which messages those are, depends on the person and on that subconscious. Maybe it's lack of interest or maybe they just don't care enough, maybe not 'worthy' enough either.
We are guilty of this, none can say you are not. Even I myself am guilty of this. At some point in your life, this has happened to you or you did this to someone. Not to point fingers or make you feel guilty. Certainly, it's not anyone's fault either.
It's assumed that because someone is different looking, different background, different economic standing, just plain different, that we won't enjoy each other's companionship or gain anything from being this person's friend. Again, none of this is conscious either for everyone.
We grew up with mass media of magazines, TV shows, and everyday interactions of all sorts that have ingrained our minds different concepts and what they mean. For example, when it came to the Hidden Brain study. There was a black child who was playing with a white Barbie and a black Barbie. When asked which one she liked better. She said the white one because it was 'prettier' she said. Already at the age of four, the messages and portrayals of being white have been learned and ingrained in her mind. These concepts, feelings of insecurities and division are taught to us, sold to us essentially if it's an advertisement. It sold us the concept.
I remember when we were younger, there was no such thing as stereotypes, groups of division between races. It was playtime with everyone under the big rainbow blanket playing cat and mouse.
Through my observations, notes, and studying Psychology, the Division is real, it's affecting us all, through our conscious, subconscious, ego, and ID. Through enlightenment of this information, I challenge you all to talk or socialize with someone who is outside of your typical comfort zone. If they don't reciprocate back. At least you know not to take it personally. To keep socializing, learning, and befriending people from all over the world. Don't forget to be mindful, open minded, and warm :)