The Strange Story of Integration in America
by Tanner Colby
This is not some serious textbook chronicling the history of racial integration in America. Neither is it a personal memoir about the author’s lack of black friends. It’s kind of a combination of both.
Colby realized that during the 2008 election, people of many races came together to choose our country’s first black president. An when we were done cheering our victory, we went back to our mostly still segregated neighborhoods, school districts, and churches.
Colby uses some of his personal experiences to outline the policies (written & unwritten, legal & illegal) that have worked to keep us apart. I found the chapters about real estate to be especially fascinating. The lengths to which people went to ensure that their neighborhoods stayed “white”, while not surprising, was still a little mind-blowing. On the flip-side you had people who used the “white flight” to the suburbs as a way to take advantage of the black residents who moved in, by raising mortgages and rents and ignoring their other needs.
This book was written with insight and humor (his first two books were biographies of John Belushi and John Candy) making this sensitive topic more accessible and easy to read about.