In the dream, I thought ruefully, "Damn, I wish I'd thought of that."
Then I woke up. And I thought, "Hey! I did think of it!"
...so around everything else that was going on yesterday I wrote 12 pages of it. It works out to about six vignettes averaging 1.5 pages each, which I am doing on purpose because I think I may already know the perfect market for this stuff and that length is perfect for it.
Besides, the story just works as a connected series of vignettes. And the sky's the limit; I can tell stories about these characters until doomsday if I want to. And I can write longer stories if I so desire.
Anyway, this one's not just going to collect dust. Further bulletins as events warrant.
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Why do you suppose that is? "White flight" is seen as white people being racist, and that's all its ever attributed to. But owning a home represents a significant investment for most people.
When I say "a significant investment" I mean in terms of money; but our modern economy works because we've figured out how to value a person's time and compensate him for spending that time on work which does not necessarily directly benefit him.
Example: a farmer can typically feed himself and his family. He can trade produce for meat if he needs to. But how does he get a tractor, or diesel fuel to run it, in a barter economy? Someone has to design the tractor; someone has to smelt the metal to make it; someone else has to shape the metal; and yet another person needs to assemble the metal shapes into a tractor. One man cannot do it all, not when you're talking about building something complex like a tractor from scratch. It's impossible.
Money is time. And a house takes a lot of money to buy; the owner of that house invests a significant percentage of his life--which is all too finite--earning the money to buy that house.
So when you are faced with losing a significant portion of an investment like that, due to factors beyond your control, why are you racist for acting to protect it?
Neighborhoods which contain a large percentage of minorities tend not to be desirable neighborhoods. It's not politically correct to make that observation, yet it is a fact, and the scenario has played out time and time again.
Seeing the property values start to fall, property owners do their best to minimize their losses.
It's an incredible surprise that this comes from Nathaniel Norment Jr, "the chairman of the African American Studies department at Temple University": "'It's something that's created based on white people's fear of being close to black people,' Norment said. 'There's this myth we have that blacks' moving in will change the social environment.'"
It's not a myth. It's fact. When the racial structure of a neighborhood changes, the culture changes, and the social environment follows suit. It begins to follow a negative trajectory, ending with an area with lots of crime and low property values.
Look: the first minorities in a previously all-white neighborhood are there because they want--like anyone else does!--to live in security and comfort. They're middle-class, they obey the law, they don't make trouble and they keep their houses in good order.
The problem comes from what happens next. People don't see the black faces next door and put up a "for sale" sign the next day. Most people do not: the process of selling a house, buying a new one, and moving represents an enormous investment of time and energy--and money--and the vast majority of people are just not that damned racist.
But the law of averages demands that some people will move, for other reasons--transferred, death in the family, what have you--and other minorities will move into the neighborhood because they see that it's already been, for lack of a better term, "colonized".
These people also are there to live in security and comfort. But now the parties start; people tend to group by similarities and the holiday gatherings give them an excuse to socialize. Cookouts, whatever--nothing illegal, nothing wrong, but their cultural differences become obvious. Some of these are at odds with that of the white residents; and rather than make a stink about it some of them just decide they'd like a newer house anyway, or perhaps closer to work, or whatever.
...and that's the tipping point: without anyone actively thinking I'm getting away from those [racial epithet]s suddenly the property values are declining and white people are leaving. As the value of the houses drop, less-wealthy people can afford them; and soon the lower middle class (and even some of the underclass) are moving into the neighborhood. With that, perhaps even some of the original "colonists" move out; the neighborhood is not as nice as it once was and now crime is becoming more prevalent.
Soon "the 'hood" is almost entirely nonwhite and it looks like crap, and the cars in the driveways are hooptys with rent-to-own rims and none of the lawns are mown all that often.
Saying "It's because of racist white people!" totally ignores the complexities of the situation.
By the way, we get this analysis of what's wrong with the local schools from a high schooler:
"The school has this bad reputation, but it's not right," said Lorresiki Collado, a 17-year-old senior whose family is from the Dominican Republic. "We beat the Catholic schools up in the math competition, but some of the students here don't work, so our test scores are low."Your best math students may beat the best the local Catholic high school has to offer; but your worst students also beat the worst the local Catholic high school has to offer. That is to say, your worst students are much worse than the laziest idiots at the Catholic school. Reason?
The idiots at the Catholic school are there because their parents pay tuition out of their own pockets, and the parents won't put up with that. The school also doesn't have to tolerate asinine behavior from those idiots: the school can throw out problem students pretty easily. In general, the kids at the Catholic schools have engaged parents who are encouraging their kids to do well and not make trouble. The ne'er-do-wells at the public school generally do not.
The poor performers at the public school make problems for everyone and drag down the performance of the whole school. The average performance of the Catholic school is much better than the average of the public school for this reason, and test scores be damned.
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"Islam, the verdict." Colonel B. Bunny over at Eternity Road links to an excellent article on another sort of culture war.
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Big Dick sums up the Dallas Tea Party event.
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Mark Steyn: "The 20th-century Bismarckian welfare state has run out of people to stick it to."
As always, a worthy read. This time it's about the inevitable collapse of the welfare state.
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Örmüs hit 28th level last night. Thanks to the timely intervention of a fellow guildie, Örmüs burned through Redridge and Duskwood pretty quickly. Now I've got him running around the Wetlands, and there's where he got 28th. So that's good.
...but I was pretty annoyed, anyway, because one of the quest chains there involves killing a lot of raptors. I don't like dinosaurs; I never thought they were all that interesting even when I was a wee tyke. Even fighting them does not appeal to me. They're just a nuisance.
So, I don't know what to do. Maybe work on that story some more.