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In wake of the blatant racism and white supremacy in Charlottesville, the history of our town and its relationship with diversity and segregation cannot be ignored.
Kansas City has a distinct line of segregation that was created during the white flight: Troost Ave.
About 100 years ago when Kansas City was first developing, realtor JC Nichols, most famously known for the development of the Country Club District, put controversial and restrictive covenants in place.
Ultimately, Nichols made it impossible for African American families to move west of Troost Ave, while making it relatively easy for white families to move west. His motto being “Planning for Permanence,” Nichols guaranteed his clients that because of his policies, home values would never deteriorate.
Although this happened 100 years ago, the effects of Nichols and his policies still have a lasting impact on KC. Councilman Erik Mikkelson believes that we need to talk about the lasting racism and segregation in KC, and we stand with him.
“I mention this uncomfortable truth not to impose guilt on anybody in this room, but we have a deep history in this city of racism — express, explicit racism,” Mikkelson said in an interview with Shawnee Mission Post.
The neighborhoods that the children of East live in – Prairie Village, Fairway, Mission Hills and Leawood – have a plethora of stereotypes that are perpetuated by the lack of diversity stemmed from Nichols. Some of these stereotypes were analyzed by former Online Editor-in-Chief Julia Poe in The Harbinger’s “Is East Racist” Special Section.
On Saturday Aug. 12, one person was killed and 19 counter-protesters to the Unite the Right rally were injured in Charlottesville, VA. Unite the Right is a far-right rally consisting of white supremacists, white nationalists, neo-Confederates and neo-Nazis. They were protesting the removal of the Confederate general Robert E. Lee statue in Emancipation Park.
The events in Charlottesville were fueled by racism and superiority. Now is a time to remind ourselves, and everyone around us, of KC’s own background so that we can move forward, together. Because we are so non-diverse, we need to work harder to understand more diverse communities.
We at The Harbinger challenge you to get out of the norm at SMEast. Join Diversity Club, read Tanner Colby’s “Some of My Best Friends Are Black,” join Mr. Mu and Mrs. Feinberg on a field trip to Troost Ave.
We cannot let what happened Charlottesville become the norm.