A Fable for Our Times

This all begins with a newspaper article.  Lately, the New York Times has been providing an abundance of targets — but sometimes a piece manages to be so asinine that it still manages to stand out.  The exercise in inanity quoted below comes courtesy of Steve Sailer:

‘The Black Lives Next Door

A new generation of activists is trying to figure out where to concentrate its efforts. Residential desegregation is the final frontier.

By Richard Rothstein
Mr. Rothstein is the author of “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America.”Aug. 14, 2020

Last year in San Mateo, Calif.,…

Black Lives Matter protests have laid a foundation for real change. But in their aftermath, activists in San Mateo and similar communities mostly lack a continuing program to tackle the comprehensive racial inequality that allows abusive police practices to flourish. …

San Mateo is a segregated Silicon Valley city. Ms. Heath observes that there are no Black families in her Hillsdale neighborhood. San Mateo’s few remaining African-Americans mostly live in another neighborhood, where they have long been concentrated. One percent of Hillsdale High School students are Black.

Ms. Heath says she would like to live in a more diverse neighborhood. The way to do that, she says, is to insist that the City Council provide more affordable housing — subsidized units for low-income families — in her neighborhood. That would be a step forward, but most African-Americans are not poor; working- and middle-class Black families whose incomes are too high to qualify for existing subsidies were also excluded from neighborhoods like Hillside because of their race.

Effective strategies to redress segregation in all its forms would become clearer if activists in San Mateo and elsewhere did deep research into how their communities’ racial boundaries were established.

In San Mateo, they would learn that builders constructed the residential Hillsdale neighborhood for whites only in the mid-20th century. Public records reveal that the 1941 deed to Sophia Heath’s family home says, “No persons other than members of the Caucasian or White race shall be permitted to occupy any portion of said property, other than as domestics in the employ of the occupants of the premises.”

The racial restriction was signed by officers of the American Trust Company, which financed its construction. David D. Bohannon, a developer who built the largest share of homes in Hillsdale, signed similar deed requirements for racial exclusion. Although the whites-only clauses are no longer enforceable, they remain in the deeds of Hillsdale homeowners.

…The Bohannon company, Fox & Carskadon and the American Trust Company could not have segregated Hillsdale without the support of government agencies. In fact, in some cases, federal agencies required builders like Mr. Bohannon to insert the racial clause in deeds. In our own time, the City of San Mateo continues to perpetuate the segregation of many of its white neighborhoods by prohibiting construction of anything but single-family homes — no townhouses, duplexes or apartments affordable to teachers, firefighters, nurses, hotel and restaurant workers, and others who serve the community but cannot afford to live in it.

The American Trust Company and Wells Fargo merged in 1960. Coldwell Banker acquired Fox & Carskadon in 1995. Perhaps Sophia Heath’s fellow young activists and their adult compatriots might embark on a campaign to persuade the Bohannon company, Coldwell Banker and Wells Fargo to face up to their considerable responsibility for the racial segregation and lack of opportunity for Black families that characterize San Mateo.

A local civil rights movement can insist that these businesses make substantial contributions to a fund that subsidizes African-Americans to purchase Hillsdale homes that would have been affordable when these institutions excluded Black home buyers but no longer are.

Token contributions will do little. The fund will have to be substantial. Fox & Carskadon advertised its Hillside houses for $5,450, about $100,000 in current dollars. But today those homes sell for about $1.5 million, sometimes more. Shouldn’t Bohannon, Coldwell Banker and Wells Fargo find the funds to enable African-Americans who qualify for a mortgage on a $100,000 property to purchase Hillsdale houses worth $1.5 million?’



I’ve helpfully highlighted the minor detail that these restrictive covenants, however awful, are no longer enforceable — and haven’t been for a good fifty years now.  In fact, they were probably stuck in because it seemed like a selling point seventy nine years ago — and have been ignored ever since.  How long has it been since someone was barred from buying a home in the city of San Mateo on account of their race?

Evidently, it’s been quite a while.  There’s another minor detail.

As Sailer points out, the city isn’t segregated at all.  In fact, it’s only 43% white.

To be precise, according to the US Census, it’s 43.1% non-Hispanic white, 24.8% Hispanic, 23% Asian, 6.5% two or more races, 2% Pacific Islander — and 2% black.  I suppose the community is a bit black-deprived, but otherwise, it would seem to be just about as diverse as diverse can get.  There’s even a half percent of American Indians.

But never mind all that.  There are not enough blacks.  And so we’re off to the races.  Oh we must, must do something.  However can we make it possible for more blacks to move to San Mateo, California?

What utter nonsense.

However, this is only the beginning of the tale.  I got interested in who Sophia Heath, our energetic young activist, dedicated to integrating the apparently already nicely-integrated San Mateo, might be.

This would appear to be her.


She’s the blonde.  At any rate, the blonde’s name is Sophia Heath as well, and she’s a teenage community activist in San Mateo too.

And this is what the blonde and her friends been up to:

SAN MATEO, CA — The local chapter of a national youth political activist group has organized a protest of the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd.

Floyd died after a disgraced Minneapolis police officer who has since been fired kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes as three other police officers stood by idly.

Sophia Heath, the president of Coalition Z’s Bay Area chapter, said she expects around 300 to 700 people to attend the protest, which will be held at San Mateo City Hall on Wednesday, June 3, at 5 p.m.

Coalition Z is made up entirely of high school students…



Shades of Greta Thunberg…

My first thought was, ‘would she be doing any of this if she wasn’t bored out her skull after being cooped up for five months on account of the Corona Virus?’  

After all, the Corona Virus is still worshipped quite faithfully in California, and nowhere are its devotees more assiduous in their observations of the tenets of the faith than in the San Francisco Bay Area — which is where San Mateo is.

Quite likely that’s part of it.  But then I had another, even more diabolical thought.  Here are these three girls, all presumably college-bound students from the affluent community of San Mateo, California.  After all, they look it:  we’ve got a white girl, what could be a Jewess, and an Asian.  If I was going to pick pictures of ‘girls hoping to get into a good school,’ I could do a lot worse than these three.  They even look reasonably intelligent.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to assume they all want to get into an elite university:  say, Stanford, just down the road, or one of the Ivy League Schools.  But of late, those are very hard to get into if you’re not one of the favored minorities:  Hispanic, or better still, black.

Grades and test scores won’t cut it any more.  Oh, what to do, what to do?

Community activism!  Who cares if San Mateo is obviously integrated?   Let’s claim it’s not.  After all, there are no blacks.  That there aren’t any didn’t stop us from protesting their oppression.  Now let’s protest their (obviously imaginary) exclusion!

After all, the idea isn’t to address an actual problem — or rather, it is to address an actual problem.  It’s just that the problem isn’t the lack of blacks in San Mateo or even their mistreatment, but rather, ‘what can we put down on our application that will get us admitted to Yale?’

These are perfectly nice girls, I’m sure. After all, they want to succeed.  They should want to succeed.

And what’s wrong with that?  It’s just that they’re trying to succeed by conforming to the expectations of a deranged society.

One comment

  1. ” It’s just that they’re trying to succeed by conforming to the expectations of a deranged society.”

    Love your punchline! We have raised up a generation or two that have not been taught to think critically or independently, but rather are moved by the emotions of social media posts.


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