By Hannah Kim
Throughout history, racism has been a pressing issue that has impacted lives all across the world. The effects of racial segregation such as redlining are prevalent in many Long Island neighborhoods. With large racial divisions between districts, Long Island is ranked tenth in segregation among the fifty metropolitan areas with the highest Black population.
Long Island, suffering from the long-lasting effects of slavery, still has segregation to this day. During the mid-1900s, there was a great migration of Black people from the south to the north in hopes of escaping the Jim Crow Laws. Although they were able to move away from southern oppression, they still had to face unfair housing laws on Long Island.
William J. Levitt, the creator of affordable housing in Levittown, put restrictions on leasing and selling homes to Black people. Levitt explained that due to racial tensions, selling a home to a Black family could lead to a plummet in sales in the neighborhood. Levittown still suffers from selective housing and only one percent of its residents are Black. In certain areas, due to the onslaught of Black people moving in and white people moving out, there has been a major switch in dominant racial groups.
Source by Olivia Wong
Redlining has left lasting impacts on Long Island.
Despite the abolition of outright racist laws, the impacts have resulted in long-lasting racial tensions that continue to plague Long Island. Considered the fourth most segregated county in New York, Nassau County remains divided today. Integration has been unfruitful with half of Long Island's Black population living in only 11 of 291 communities.
“The strong efforts to combat racism within our society aren’t enough, and we need to provide more inclusivity among our community,” said sophomore Brenda Bolouvi.
Hispanic and Asian populations have been increasing in many districts such as New Hyde Park, which is now 46.8% Asian; however, the Black population still remains low and divided compared to most areas.
“Although NHP as a school community has evolved and allowed people from different ethnicities to feel welcome, Long Island as a whole is predominantly racially uniform,” said junior Faiza Ahmed.
“Although New Hyde Park Memorial is diverse, racial problems still exist among its students...”
Long Island communities such as Massapequa, which is over 96% white, struggle with integration and racial diversity. According to sociologist John McKnight, the term "redlining" outlines the discriminatory method of "fencing off areas where banks would avoid investments based on community demographics." Officials would literally draw a red line around the areas they would not offer their services to. For minorities, it resulted in a struggle to obtain mortgages, insurance, and other financial needs, and in turn divided neighborhoods, especially for Black and Latino communities. There is no doubt that the long-lasting effects of redlining and segregation have left Long Island divided to this day.
Racial tensions are still a major problem today within Long Island, and even within our school district. Ignorance is prevalent with the occurrence of insensitive racial comments being made. Although New Hyde Park Memorial is diverse, racial problems still exist among its students. All must be aware of this and should work together to unify the community.