I've often heard it said that Pittsburgh is a very racist city. I know racism exists here, it seems especially prevalent among people older than 50. But, it's always seemed to me that things are getting better as a younger generation leaves behind some of the sins of our parent's and grandparent's generations. Living in East Liberty, a largely African American neighborhood which is being threated by gentrification, I am more aware of the problems. I'm also, for the first time, in a place where I have African American neighbors, acquaintances and friends.
Unfortunately the rumors are correct. Pittsburgh is not a good place for black people to live. A study came out this past week clearly defining just how hard it is to be black and live in Pittsburgh. I have the full 140 page study thanks to Terry Mann, following are some summeries from an e-mail he sent me.
The Center for Race and Social Policy is releasing its first report on racial demographics in the greater Pittsburgh area today. "Pittsburgh's Racial Demographics: Differences and Disparities" found that while this area continues to be listed as one of America's most livable cities, for thousands of black residents in this area, it is anything but.
The study found that the quality of life of blacks in Pittsburgh is more brutal and disadvantaged than national averages. In Pittsburgh, blacks live largely in segregated communities where they are disadvantaged by poor transportation and waning public safety and where 75 percent of the families are headed by black females, according to the study.
Economically, blacks males are hit hardest in Pittsburgh. They have unemployment rates that are two or three times higher than their white counterparts and when are working, nearly 60 percent are employed in low-paying service or sales positions.
In Pittsburgh, the median black household income was $20,000 -- $10,000 less than the average income for white households. In this city, the report found, blacks are three times more likely to be poor, greatly impacting their diet, health care, decent housing and quality child care.