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Friday, April 23, 2021

White Flight, 2021

Grace Bureau, a student at Gustavus Adolphus College, has packed up and will leave Minneapolis for good today. She wrote in The College Fix about her decision. Yes, she is in her 20s and lots of people leave home at that age.

Big deal.

But she is being forced to leave because of riots. That is a huge deal.

Minneapolis has been a hellhole for almost a year now. George Floyd died in police custody after overdosing on fentanyl. A jury convicted the officer who pinned him down of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and manslaughter.

Between his death and the conviction, activists and anarchists tore up the city. They destroyed 1,500 buildings.

Sane people are saying OK, you win -- and are leaving.

Bureau wrote, "I’m too afraid to even walk in my neighborhood by myself.

"The ACE Hardware down the street? The one that I used to bike to in the summer? Robbed twice in the past five days.

"The Walgreens next to my elementary school? Molotov cocktail thrown into it.

"The Lake Harriet Bandshell, where we spent countless Mother’s Days? Homeless encampment popped up next door.

"These are the things you don’t read about in the news."

Her words took me back to the summer of 1966, which began with Sonny Siebert tossing a no-hitter on June 10 against the Washington Senators.

I was 12 going on 13. I had just finished my first year at Alexander Hamilton Junior High, a predominately black middle class school outside my district. My family was poor. They had a major works program for above average students. I made the mistake of getting Straight A's in sixth grade so I could get a pair of tickets to an Indians game courtesy of the Cleveland Press.

A month after that no-hitter came the Hough riots. And 3 months later, we moved across town to all-white Lakewood because the neighborhood I grew up in was gone. Just a year or two earlier, you could walk the streets at night and no one locked the door. That vanished seemingly overnight.

Of course, every liberal now puts the exodus from the cities down as White Flight.

Last fall, William Voegeli wrote in City Journal about White Flight.

He began, "Speaking at an October 2019 Obama Foundation Summit, Michelle Obama reminisced about growing up in South Shore, a Chicago lakefront neighborhood. Some memories were bitter. The former First Lady, born in 1964, lamented living through white flight. As 'upstanding families like ours, who were doing everything we were supposed to do . . . moved in,' she said, 'white folks moved out.'

"In her telling, the whites who abandoned South Shore had motives as obvious as they were ugly, choosing to relocate because 'they were afraid of what our families represented.' They voted with their U-Hauls to reject families like hers because of 'the color of our skin' and 'the texture of our hair,' those 'artificial things that don’t even touch on the values that people bring to life. And so, yeah, I feel a sense of injustice.' "

Of course, there is more to the story than she tells because she has no personal memories of the 1960s. She was 5 when they ended.

I remember them through a slightly older child's eyes. We lived between Little Italy and Little Budapest. Old ladies spoke Hungarian and Italian over the fences.

In the 1950s, there were plenty of kids on the street to play with. By 1966, there were Wilbur Smith, me, and Frankie Blackowski (and his sister and brother). We lived on a hill. Slowly, the black population was expanding quite literally up the hill.

The older kids had gotten jobs, gotten married, and gotten out. They moved to newly built homes in the suburbs leaving behind little cottages with a widow or a retired couple inside. No one wanted to live in the old homes with the postage stamp yards. They wanted clean air (the Cuyahoga River was not the only pollution problem in Cleveland). They wanted good schools. They wanted something new and fresh.

In his piece on white flight, Voegeli hit upon that element. Whites fled the city not because black people were moving in, but because the suburbs offered a better quality of life.

He wrote, "Suburbanization was a phenomenon even in metropolises that saw little demographic change from the Great Migration. Leah Boustan cites Minneapolis–St. Paul, which, after World War II, saw only a small increase in the number of black residents but rapid growth of its suburbs. The 'newly prosperous families,' she writes, were 'seeking larger houses and more open space.' In Lost Cities (1995), Alan Ehrenhalt discusses Elmhurst, a Chicago suburb 16 miles west of the Loop. The newcomers who bought its new ranch houses and split-levels were 'refugees from Chicago apartments,' he writes, 'fleeing all the things suburbanites fled in the 1950s: landlords and cooking smells, neighbors one flight above or uncomfortably close next door, physical surroundings that carried indelible reminders of hard times years ago.' One new resident told the Elmhurst Press, 'It is wonderful to be able to see grass and trees, instead of hallways and speeding automobiles.' "

In the song Somewhere That's Green, the musical Little Shop of Horrors both mocks and pays tribute to suburbanization.

Still, that Seymour's a cutie
Well, if not, he's got inner beauty
And I dream of a place
Where we could be together at last
A matchbox of our own
A fence of real chain link,
A grill out on the patio
Disposal in the sink
A washer and a dryer and an ironing machine
In a tract house that we share
Somewhere that's green.
He rakes and trims the grass
He loves to mow and weed
I cook like Betty Crocker
And I look like Donna Reed
There's plastic on the furniture
To keep it neat and clean
In the Pine-Sol scented air
Somewhere that's green

This desire to leave the city behind and start over again was the chief motivator, not Michelle Obama's family moving in. This was upward mobility. The suburbanization of America began in the Roaring '20s. The Great Depression and World War II delayed the inevitable. But between cheap mortgages and brand-new interstate freeways, people could easily flee the cities, and they did.

The liberal racialization of this begs the question: Why did Michelle Obama's family leave the black neighborhood? What did her father, Fraser Robinson, dislike about black people? The color of their skin? The texture of their hair?

If that sounds ludicrous, it is because it is ludicrous. The motives she places on others are rather self-centered. It could not be that people wanted out of South Shore. No, no, no. It was all about her. The Robinson Family did everything right. They were entitled to white neighbors. How dare white people leave!

And how does this victimization -- this demand that no one leave until Michelle Obama says they can -- square with black people protesting what they call gentrification when white people move back to the city?

Voegeli ended his piece, "In short, the thesis that racism alone caused white flight, disinvestment, and ultimately neighborhood decline is dubious, both empirically and logically. Some whites who fled South Shore and communities like it in the decades after World War II were prejudiced. Others were simply observant—of rising crime, devastating riots, deteriorating public schools, vanishing business opportunities, and plunging property values. Their departure does not amount to a moral transgression. Further, one cannot blame South Shore’s decline on departing whites without also maintaining certain corollaries: that by remaining in large numbers, they would have either prevented the arrival of the element that wrecked the neighborhood or would have had an edifying, pacifying effect on youths otherwise drawn to street or thug culture. It would then follow that the white owners of homes and businesses there had a duty to stay, risking solvency and safety, for the sake of their new black neighbors. To state such propositions is to demonstrate their unreality.

"Goodwill, which manifestly rules out bigotry, is indeed a necessary condition for a heterogeneous America to cohere and flourish. But it is not a sufficient one. Sharing a nation also requires candor and rigor in examining every reason for ethnic tensions. Ascribing the difficulty of integrating residential communities entirely to white racism is not only inaccurate but also harmful, an impediment to interpreting a complex situation intelligently, and then improving it. Morality tales of white villains and black victims may assuage the resentments that Michelle Obama started accumulating 50 years ago. Their only effect today, however, is to render the profound challenge of reconciling liberty, equality, and diversity even harder."


A half-century after Michelle Obama's family moved into South Shore, Chicago, Grace Bureau is leaving Minneapolis for good.

Bureau wrote, "I can’t help but look around and wonder, 'What happened here? Where exactly did it all go wrong?'

"Was it the liberal mob? Identity politics? The cries of 'RACIST!' when someone disagreed with a particular reaction or policy?

"Was it conservative silence as the loudest voices got more and more radical?

"Was it our acceptance that 'we live in a blue area, this is just the way things are?'

"How did it all happen so fast?

"Whatever it was, I’m leaving this dark, surreal, twisted version of Minneapolis on Friday [today]. And I pray to God that I never have to come back."

I wish her luck.

She owes nothing to Minneapolis.

Her body, her choice.

I hope she finds her place, somewhere that's green. 


  1. "They had a major works program for above average students."

    I'm glad you had that opportunity.

    By the time I came through "the system" some years later, all such programs had been eliminated - as being "elitist."

    They later came back. But now they are being eliminated again (e.g., no more advanced high school math classes in Virginia) - this time on the grounds of "equity."

    1. Garbage in, garbage out, I guess!

    2. Problem is that in terms of "garbage," this amounts to throwing away a large number of people and their talents. This at least borders on a crime against humanity...

    3. Very well put together almost a copy of the script for the movie Avalon - however, one piece is missing - recently resentment over the past and the difficulty of low income are being pushed and exploited so that many are in a revenge mood - with resentment and revenge there is no going forward - it is a stuck whirlpool of rage that no amount of money or opportunity can fill and there is no changing the past however, with this current mood there is no changing the future either... now that the economy has been hijacked by the Biden corporation it will only continue if not get worse as the organizations BLM and Antifa know how to exploit pain.

    4. Good point. In many ways, Nietzsche was less a philosopher than a "weather" forecaster - and he correctly saw that the defining characteristic of the coming age was going to be resentment.

      Keep in mind that in the "whirlpool of rage" it is not about bettering oneself - it's all about pulling down anyone else who might achieve.

      The undeserving incompetent "elite" is fine with this - as it eliminates merit-based competition for the positions and lifestyles that they don't deserve.

      When you understand this stuff, you really begin to understand how the Nazis were able to exterminate the Jews and the Soviets were able to exterminate the Kulaks...

    5. My family left southwest Denver when I was 10, to move to an old farmhouse and 40 acres in southwest Missouri, just a mile and a half outside of a small town.

      My brother, sister, and I enjoyed growing up in the country. I really shot ahead in school after we moved. Apparently, having your own clean fluoride- and chlorine-free well water, and fresh air without smog, had a very, very positive effect. In Denver I was an average student at best. Was behind in math, even the lowest group, when we moved to Missouri, but within a few years was making 100%'s and extra credit on all tests in spelling, math, science, and usually social studies.

      It was also probably the better nutrition from eating out of our own garden, a 180' long by 40' wide old garden that had sat fallow for several years. We also had old fruit trees, a bee hive, several cows, and chickens. The first year we even had a milk cow for a short time, and it was to me just astounding to find one day that mom was making butter in the kitchen. For much of the summer what was on the table was mostly grown at home.

      The elementary school in Denver was good for K thru 4, but 5th grade was more like a junior high class moving around all day to different classrooms. In recent years looking at that Denver elementary school's website, half the staff appears to be child psychologists and counselors.

      It was a treasure growing up in the country. Our house at that time was only one of six in the square mile. My brother and I hiked a large portion of that on periodic expeditions.

    6. michael oblahma. what a waste of skin. it's always about him. and he wonders why everyone screams racist!!

    7. The AZ voter fraud is coming to light. Trump will be our president and the dems arrested .,.Look at this video ASAP!!!'

  2. Replies
    1. I meant Don's piece. Although, Snowy, a good point too. We need to rejoice in merit! For God's sake.

    2. Keep in mind that "merit" is a big threat to the entrenched elites who know that they aren't competitive - and thus have to rig the system in order to remain "elite."

      It's actually the getting-rid of those programs that is "elitist" - since it prevents the non-elite (by social status) from getting access to programs for the talented... which of course helps to hobble the non-elite-but-talented from getting the skills they can use to move up the ladder... and threaten the aforementioned "elites."

      I've said this before but it's a good place to repeat it - the real conflict now is between "elite" whites (who chose the right parents to be born to - that's their main "qualification") who lack the ability to stave off competition... vs. non-elite whites (aka "the deplorables"), particularly those who might actually be able to rise based on (wait for it) merit! All the "woke" cr*p is for that purpose - and has the additional benefit that they get lots of brownie points (among their own set) as well.

      The entrenched-and-incompetent "elite" hates merit, since merit is a threat to their cushy-and-unearned sinecures...

    3. And rising with merit...well, that's not in the Marxist playbook, of course. Hence, everyone must be poor and thrilled in that "equity". My guess is that Democrat fools simply don't recognize that they are falling for the Marxist simplisms. I just listened to this marvelous Jordan Peterson talk...

    4. Just ask that old question "Cui bono?"

      Merit-based rising is something that the "elite" doesn't want - because they don't want competition for the things they didn't earn and don't deserve... and wouldn't have in an open-and-competitive meritocracy.

      The riff-raff that they incite doesn't care about improving themselves, just tearing down others so that they can't rise.

  3. Oregon is making small cities rezone to accommodate low income people (illegal aliens) to change the demographic s of rural Oregon. Not working. Low income means more poor white single moms.So the duplex and apartment s are not yet flooded here.Also,with legal drugs every druggie is heading here..
    Thanks Kate.

    1. As long as progressives are attracting criminals to their states and cities that's good news for Florida and other red states.

    2. Can your local communities fight this? A village close by here in New York just fought a developer’s plans for a huge building, commercial with “high-end” apartments above. After the plans were defeated someone discovered the projected bait and switch: subsidized apartments, not high end, in a prosperous village. All this is part of UN Agenda 2030, and it can be fought.

  4. Hi Don I drop in to read every once in a while...Euclid HS...class of 70...joined the AF and never went back...Euclid was too close to E Cleveland to survive...

  5. Meanwhile, in the fantasyland occupied by intellectual incorrigibles, Paul Krugman is using Twitter to claim that the idea "that rampaging mobs burned and looted major cities" last year is believed only by "GOP supporters ... somehow without the people actually living in those cities noticing."

    1. Saw that and thought Krug is drowning in hate.

    2. That's Paullie "The Beard" Krugman, as I call him...

    3. I think he suffers from attention deficiency; not getting enough attention.

  6. Replies
    1. Yeah man. Big D’s peaking again. Great stuff.

  7. We just sold our Denver home (where we've lived since 1999) and relocated to the Black Hills in South Dakota. And it has nothing to do with anyone's skin color... we just wanted to get as far away from those insufferable Democrats as we possibly could.

  8. "We’re on pace for over 600 murders—the most ever. An Inquirer story last week laid out some even more disturbing findings. Since Krasner took office, the number of gun crime arrests has nearly tripled, but the conviction rate for gun crimes has plunged from 63 percent in 2017 to 49 percent in 2019. In January, I reported that, under Krasner, homicides have jumped a whopping 58 percent; just 21 percent of shootings since 2015 led to criminal charges, and less than one-tenth of those resulted in convictions.

    “revolving-door” prosecution has wreaked havoc on primarily Black and Brown communities. How in the world is that a progressive outcome?

    ...a couple of months ago: The cold-blooded murder of a young man in Brewerytown who had the audacity to take his dog for a walk; turns out, his alleged murderer should have never been free to kill. Lenient judges, in concert with an acquiescent D.A.’s office, had twice dramatically lowered the defendant’s bail, despite his history of robberies, a carjacking, and assault while in custody.

    Krasner remade the D.A.’s office by hiring a bunch of defense lawyers as prosecutors. Lo and behold, they tend to be not so good at convicting those accused of committing violent crime."

  9. Absolutely outstanding writing and storytelling. Very good, Don. I wish everyone could and would read this.

  10. OK, is Mike O telling us black people need white people because, unless they're all airhead Lefties, white people won't stand for blacks acting like (dare I say?) savages?

    Granted, BLM are hoodla paid for by the DNC and, ultimately, the Forbidden City; the same way Dr Evil paid (actually, he stiffed them) for the "protesters" in Ferguson, but it still begs the question. If you want to read something that will break your heart, try the last of the Army's Green Books (history of WWII), The Employment of Negro Troops, which tells how hard it was to keep black soldiers up to any kind of discipline. When civil rights leaders wanted to put the Army's last all-black division (the other 2 had to be broken up), the 93rd, in the invasion of Japan, George Marshall and everybody on down had to talk them out of it by pointing out the 93rd, which had a good record in mopping up Japanese-held islands, wasn't up to standard and would have been slaughtered in full combat.

    My wife has worked with several black nurses over her career and knew several who couldn't wait to be able to move to a white neighborhood since they didn't want their kids in the "Soul Brother" environment.

    So the question needs be asked, are they really that incapable of self-government and disciplined living? Is the segregationists' old wheeze about a Talented Tenth of all blacks capable of succeeding in society true?

    Or is this an issue of exploitation, not only by the planters of ante-bellum South, but first by the Abolitionists and then by the Left (after all, some whites act like this, too)?

  11. Excellent writing Don and I'm happy that the 'oxygen' at your site has been restored.

    I think of this blog as my go to coffee shop.

    Sam C

  12. Excellent commentary, Don.

  13. Don Surber has retired his body but thank God not his mind and his fingers!

  14. I believe and hope that every police officer will resign from the Minneapolis police department and the Sheriff's office in that County. Furthermore, I hope every business that has been robbed and looted refuses to open back up, and that none replace them. Those people need to enjoy the lawless, and empty remains of the scarred building that exist within their midst. No business or employment income tax income for the local government that allowed these riots, no jobs for the citizens who participated or did nothing otherwise to stop the riots that remain there, and a lasting legacy of repugnant decision making that caused all of this. Of course, if the people who leave go elsewhere and vote in the exact same kind of worthless politicians that allowed these people to burn Minneapolis down then they may as well state right where they are. Minnesota will be better served by that.

    1. My colleagues found out that I lived in Detroit for some time, and after telling them the current condition of that city (which can directly be contributed to the riots in the late 60's), asked me what I think the condition of the cities that have seen the riots will be in the near future.

      -My response?

      "The same as Motor City: it will take DECADES for those cities to recover, if at all."

  15. John Galt is alive and "thriving"!

  16. Big[gest]Money salivating as "white flight" from DemonRAT-controlled blue-belly "schiff-holes" revives up. Ck out Catherine Austin Fits' "Solari Report" for the "skinny". Whole new twist on "gentrification".

  17. Big[gest]Money salivating as "white flight" from DemonRAT-controlled blue-belly "schiff-holes" revives up. Ck out Catherine Austin Fits' "Solari Report" for the "skinny". Whole new twist on "gentrification".

  18. We all have lived in locations where some had properties that were astronomically priced out of our reach. i drive by them many days and somehow do not feel anger toward the folks living there.

  19. My hometown was a mill/mining town with nearly 6000 residents, mostly Slovaks, Poles, Italians, Irish and Blacks. But when the steel making went because the USA government supported Germany and Japan with rebuilding their facotries after WW2, my town began to crumble. I finished HS and College, served 4 years active Navy and them married and moved away. So did my entire HS class and nearly every class behind us. Today there are less than 1500 residents and they mostly live in section 8 housing. The Black ratio is even less now than it was in '65 because they need a place to work to survive the same as the rest of us. Taxes in those Democratic run States, Counties and Cities are the biggest cause of White Flight.

  20. You know, I don't believe in systemic racism in the US. Once upon a time, maybe. But what is undeniable truth is "systemic criminality" in the black population. The data is overwhelming. But that's a "national conversation" no one apparently wants to have. Truth hurts. Truth admints. It admonishes. It destroys false narratives.

  21. michael shows shows she just as self centered as her wife, barry. barry is I, I, I and mike is everything is about her.

  22. Hopefully, if Ms. Bureau was a liberal, she is no more. Maybe she will educate her peers.

  23. Name one town, city or suburb that was improved after it "changed". THAT is why whites leave their homes and move to safer ground.

  24. Michael Obama is just projecting out. She is a life long racist.

  25. Minneapolis should be renamed Mini-Somalia

  26. "Was it conservative silence as the loudest voices got more and more radical?"

    Why,yes, yes it was. The crooks who run Conservatism, Inc./and the Republican party bear major responsibility for the state of the country, but there's been no introspection, no examination of their failures, no constructive self-criticism. They've just been shills for the Chamber of Commerce (which has now abandoned them) for the past fifty years, at least, that's mostly what they've been interested in. They've played a very dirty game where they turned a blind eye to the growing radicalism and white-hating racism of the left because doing so drove white voters into their arms. At the same time they supported open borders that guarantee their demise and a one-party state. But they were scooping it in today, and that's all they cared about.

    Certainly one simple credo they could have adopted that would have short-circuited a lot of the mess of the last 50 years is that access to white people isn't a human right.

  27. Why would anyone want to live in a majority black neighborhood. They are all total sh!tholes.

  28. Why would anyone want to live in a majority black neighborhood. They are all total sh!tholes.

  29. Why would anyone want to live in a majority black neighborhood. They are all total sh!tholes.

  30. I grew up in a "Mill Village"! The houses were built by the Mill Company to provide housing for the workers. The houses were simple four rooms with TWO kitchens and TWO bathrooms on the back porch.
    There were TWO front doors and TWO back doors because the houses were built to house TWO FAMILIES!! Eventually they became single family homes. I was in high school when we finally closed in our SECOND front door!! EVERYONE WAS WHITE!!! And then when the kids grew up they moved to other towns or "out in the country" and built bigger, nicer homes. It wasn't "white flight" but the whites did fly!! We did it because we wanted a bigger and better home. Also, since all the homes at the Village still contained our Parents and Grandparents we HAD to go!!! Also, we didn't have BASEMENTS to maove back into!!

  31. All these big city mayors are nuts in my opinion. I can’t, for the life of me, figure out their motives. I can’t believe that they view rioters as a large or an important constituency. All I can think of is that can’t run afoul of the media. Rush was right when he said the media are the leaders of the Democrats. Their pull must be much greater than I can imagine.

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