Institutional Racism Series: How it Affected Where I Live

All things considered, I am tremendously blessed to live where I do. While I have some small complaints, such as occasional noise issues or the yard being too small, I also have great neighbors, a variety of transit options, restaurants I enjoy, and a relatively safe neighborhood. Needless to say, when I talk about how institutional racism has affected where I live, I am discussing this from a position of privilege.

Indeed, institutional racism, which I defined in a previous post as racism that is practiced and sometimes even normalized by social, economic, governmental, and other institutions, helped my family afford to live where we ended up, and also resulted in my family living where we did (instead of somewhere else).

To understand how institutional racism helped my family afford to live in our current house, I should start by going back in time, not to 1999 (the year my family bought our current house), but to prior decades….

Back in the 1970s, my neighborhood was about as white as you can get, and in fact my neighborhood was the epicenter for the Italian mafia. However, people of color started to move into my neighborhood during the 1970s, and that movement accelerated during the 1980s and 1990s. By the time my family was looking for homes in my current neighborhood in 1999, it was a heavily West Indian neighborhood and most whites had fled the neighborhood. This was one example of white flight, or whites fleeing their neighborhoods to escape an influx of people of color moving in.

White flight usually depresses property values in the affected neighborhoods;[1] declining property values as a result of white flight is a form of institutional racism. In fact, white flight depressed property values in my current neighborhood so much that it became an affordable neighborhood for my family! In other words, institutional racism meant that my family could afford to live where we currently live.

However, white flight was not the only thing that had an impact on where my family ended up. Another factor was a facet of institutional racism in real estate—the fact that, at least at the time, realtors tended to mostly show us and other whites houses which were surrounded by white neighbors (which in turn would continue a form of racial segregation). This was the case even though my family made it painfully clear that we loved the West Indian culture in our current neighborhood (a love of culture that goes back to when my dad did graduate school research in Trinidad). As a result we ended up in what was, at the time, one of the small white enclaves of what was otherwise a heavily West Indian neighborhood. My family ended up where we live because of institutional racism.

In the end, though, things worked out for the better, in my family’s case. While my neighborhood is by no means perfect, I love the neighborhood in which I live. Indeed, institutional racism affected where I live, and in my case, it has affected where I live for the better. With housing, I benefited from institutional racism. However, many people are not nearly as fortunate as I have been.

[1] There are a variety of opinions as to what causes this to happen. A Washington Post article from last year cited a report from Brandeis University saying that the issue is white buyers steering away from neighborhoods with any black population, while sociologist David R. Harris (then at the University of Michigan, now president of Union College) says that sometimes race affects property values while at other times it is socioeconomic status that affects the values.

The New Domain Name!

Hi readers!

I just changed my domain name. It is now https://blindinjusticeblog.com/, so the only difference between the old domain name and the new one is that the “WordPress” part is left out. However, if you forget the change in domain name and type in the old domain name, you will be redirected to blindinjusticeblog.com (I tried this on my laptop and my phone). If this doesn’t happen to you, please let me know and I will be more than happy to contact WordPress Support.

Speaking of WordPress, they say that new domains may be unreliable for the first 72 hours. Unfortunately, those first 72 hours include my blog post next Tuesday. I therefore apologize in advance if you experience any growing pains between now and Tuesday evening with the new domain name. But if you experience any problems beyond Tuesday evening, please send me a message on Facebook, on Twitter, or by email so that I can contact WordPress.

In the meantime, enjoy reading my posts without seeing irrelevant ads!

Note: I wrote this blog post within minutes of publishing it, so I apologize in advance for any mistakes.

Blog News: An Upcoming Change in Domain Name!

When I started this blog last spring, I had no idea that it would gain the following and readership it has.

Because I had no idea what the blog would become, I wanted to start small and cheap. I wanted to start with a free WordPress site which allowed me to write and have a site for the blog.

However, as the blog has grown in readership and following, I’ve thought about how I can improve the reading experiences for those who read my posts.

In this area, upgrading to a personal plan, which would result in a change in domain name, is the way to go for this blog.

With a free WordPress blog, I have no power over what ads come up (if any) in my posts, even if I see ads for products I and other readers don’t care about or don’t like. For example, as I’m typing this, I’m looking at a recent blog post of mine which has an ad for the Humane Society at the bottom. Now, I have nothing wrong with the Humane Society, especially since my dad’s parents’ favorite dog they ever had was one they got through the Humane Society, but I’m not here to endorse the Humane Society either.

With an upgrade in plans, I can remove these ads. By removing the ads, it clears clutter from the posts readers read, and in turn improves reading experiences.

Other features of this plan are intriguing to me, such as search engine optimization and more control over blog page design. Something like search engine optimization in particular seems like something that can bring even more readership in, if I use it correctly. But ultimately my biggest motivation is improving the reading experiences of my readers, and I think removing ads through this new plan is an easy way to do that.

So, in the coming days, you will see a new domain name. When I do so, I will make the announcement on my Facebook and Twitter pages, so please look at my posts and tweets for further information.

In the meantime, Happy Reading!

Facebook: Blind Injustice

Twitter: @blindinjustices

Introducing a New Series of Blog Posts!

A few months ago, when my dad was looking over a draft of my post on the racist writings on my family’s car and in my neighborhood, he said something along the lines of, “This post is fine, but one thing you haven’t addressed on your blog is institutional racism.”

He was right. I haven’t addressed that topic yet. It’s also a topic that’s important to address, in large part because institutional racism is often ignored or denied.

But what is institutional racism, and how do I plan to address this topic?

Most definitions, including mine, would describe institutional racism as racism that is practiced and sometimes even normalized by social, economic, governmental, and other institutions. Institutional racism could be subtle or overt, but one reason why I think many people deny the existence of institutional racism is because it is often so subtle.

My blog post series hopes to show that institutional racism exists, and that it exists in so many areas of our daily lives. I hope to do this through a series of four posts over the next few months: one on how it affected where my family lives, one on how it changed where my brother and I went to school, one on how it affected how I was policed (especially compared to most people in the majority-minority neighborhood I’m in), and one on how it affected my college experience.

I believe in making the case for the existence of institutional racism through parts of my own experiences because I believe that my stories, and the larger factors that play into my stories, are a few examples of the institutional racism I frequently hear about.

While institutional racism has affected me, I emphasize that, by-in-large, the institutional racism has been to my advantage as a white person, and to the disadvantage of people who are not white or are not labeled as white.

Some of my readers may already be on board with the idea that institutional racism exists, and some of my readers may even be able to cite personal examples of institutional racism helping or hurting themselves (or people they care about). However, I also hope that people who are skeptical of, or deny, the existence of institutional racism can see through my personal experiences that it does exist in the 21st century, in the United States of America.

Addressing Concerns About #MeToo

I know people who have supported the people who’ve decided to post #MeToo and the people who are #MeToo but are too scared to post it. I’ve known people who’ve used this as an opportunity to reflect on their own actions and see how they may contribute to a culture where so many people are “Me Toos.” And, sadly, I also know many people who can say #MeToo.

However, I’ve also heard lots of other people express various concerns as a result of #MeToo. In this post, I will address the concerns I’ve heard as best as I can. So, here we go…

Does this mean that we can’t hug anymore?
Okay, so I can somewhat relate to this question, because I have friends, both men and women, who love to give a good hug (and a few of you may be reading this post).

But to answer this question, we can hug, as long as the desire to hug is mutual. The key, of course, is that it’s mutual, and if it’s not mutual then you shouldn’t force a hug on someone. So, if you open your arms to invite a hug, but they don’t respond, consider that a “no,” and back off. Consent matters.

What about all the gray areas?
Especially with the Aziz Ansari story, which I wrote on and shared a post on, numerous people (mostly men) brought up “gray areas.”

If you feel that you’re in a gray area, the best thing to do is ask. By asking, you know whether what you’re doing is right or wrong. The worst thing that could happen is not a “no,” but committing an action that goes against the wishes of the person you’re with.

But what if I can’t read someone’s mind?
Some news media, including an article from The New York Times, think that the only crime of people like Aziz Ansari is the inability to read the mind of the person they’re with.

Frankly, there’s no mind reading that needs to be done. As I said in a previous blog post, unless both people say “yes,” the answer is “no.” If you need to read someone’s mind to try figuring out whether someone wants sex, then the answer is still “no” unless you get a clear “yes.”


Hopefully, I’ve addressed the biggest concerns that people have expressed about the #MeToo movement. That being said, I recognize that there are limits to my perspective, and if anyone else has concerns about #MeToo or their own responses to concerns about #MeToo, please reply in the comments section below.