Writings and observations

whitopia

A book we’re going to track down and check out: From a black scholar writing about race relations in a different way, “Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America.”

Usually, we’d wait to read it before writing about it here, but this is an unusual case – its existence says something notable. Rich Benjamin, a senior fellow at Demos, a New York think tank, took note that in many metro areas around the country are becoming more racially and ethnically diverse, but that some fast-growers have been moving the other way, from (say) off-white to more white. The statistical cutoff was places more white than the country overall, growing at least 6% since 2000 and the bulk (at least 90%) or newcomers being white. White places, in other words, getting white – or maybe, destination spots for white flight?

The Coeur d’Alene Press has a piece on this because Coeur d’Alene was one of the handful of places around the country Benjamin focused on. (The next nearest was St. George, Utah. Both are excellent choices for what he was working on.)

The Press reports, “Benjamin spent four months in 2007 living in a rented split-level cabin on Hayden Lake. He hosted dinner parties, fished, bowled and played golf. . . . While in North Idaho, he attended his first demolition derby at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds, and at the Bonner County Fair and Rodeo, he ate bratwurst, admired 4-H entries and perused farm equipment. Benjamin had a coffee date with Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem at Java on Sherman, and spent time with a plethora of other influential Panhandle folk, from Alice Rankin, the wife of former Kootenai County Commissioner Ron Rankin, who passed away in 2004, to attorney Norm Gissel. He hung out with a group of retired Los Angeles police officers, and attended a three-day white separatist conference at a church in Sandpoint.”

This is going to be a must-read.

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