South Central, Los Angeles–Those who have been following my platform over the last year is aware of my thoughts and concerns towards the Black homeless population in Los Angeles. The first article that I pitched when moving back to Los Angeles after college, was an article addressing the rise of homeless encampments in South Central.
(For reference, South Central is what media and the city of L.A refers to today as South L.A. Los Angeles City Council voted in 2007 to formally use South L.A instead of South Central. I understand the pros and cons of this decision. Personally, however, I still use South Central as a method of resistance. To completely phase out South Central when South Central conditions still remain in the community, personally seems like erasure and an act of ethnic cleansing).
The bigger issue that rows of people living in broken-down RV’s and blocks of tent encampments represent, is the link between racism and the homeless rate for Black Angelenos.
Instagram has been one of the mediums used to express my frustration over what also essentially boils down to leadership concerns in Los Angeles city politics. In particular, the Black politicians who represent South Central and the Crenshaw District, which are the main places Blacks are concentrated within Los Angeles County.
Black people in Los Angeles are estimated to be only 8 percent of the overall population, yet we represent over 40 percent of the overall homeless rate in L.A.
The New York Times published an article today, which makes it plain and clear: Racism is the root cause aiding in Black homeless rates in Los Angeles.
The problem is that Black people in Los Angeles do not have representatives who are willing to be clear on the issue. For too long Black people continue to be lumped into broad and ambiguous terms such as ‘People of Color.’ With this approach, our issues that are rooted in specific causes, never get dissolved at their core.
The New York Times article provided a comprehensive view on the current state of Black Los Angeles, also touching on the fact that once predominately Black communities in L.A are now predominately Latino.
This is important to note because it means that Black politicians will not push too hard on specific Black issues because they need the Latinx vote to win the race.
It is sad when you trace the history of Black Los Angeles because you can see where racist policies have handicapped a large portion of a community that was once on its way. The discrimination and marginalization of Black Los Angeles, infused with the crack epidemic and 50 years of gang violence was a recipe for complete disaster.
Now at the end of 2019, it seems as though the Black community of Los Angeles as a whole, is struggling to stand on their feet.