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Serial Forced Displacement & Its Impact on the Social Mobility and Mental Health of African Americans

Regardless to what modality that has been used, serial forced displacement is defined as the repetitive, coercive upheaval of groups (Fullilove & Wallace, 2011). When mentioned here, serial forced displacement is specifically focused on Government sanctioned methodologies and tactics that are underwritten by federal, state and local legislation that allows the wealthy to aggressively, and even hostilely encroach upon the rights and property ownership of the impoverished citizens of this country, with the vast majority of these citizens being people of color.

Regardless to what modality that has been used, serial forced displacement is defined as the repetitive, coercive upheaval of groups (Fullilove & Wallace, 2011). When mentioned here, serial forced displacement is specifically focused on Government sanctioned methodologies and tactics that are underwritten by federal, state and local legislation that allows the wealthy to aggressively, and even hostilely encroach upon the rights and property ownership of the impoverished citizens of this country, with the vast majority of these citizens being people of color.

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2015

ong>Serialong> ong>Forcedong> ong>Displacementong>

Rick Wallace, Ph.D.

The Odyssey Project

10/16/2015


ong>Serialong> ong>Forcedong> ong>Displacementong> & ong>Itsong> ong>Impactong> on the Social

Mobility and Mental Health of African Americans

By

Dr. Rick Wallace, Ph.D.

2015 Copy Right © Rick Wallace


ong>Serialong> ong>Forcedong> ong>Displacementong> and the Negative Repercussions

Over the past 20 plus years I have invested a great deal of time an effort into understanding the

plight of African Americans, with the intent on devising a comprehensive strategy that can be

implemented and carried out first, on a national level, and then globally. One of the issues that I

identified early on is the fact that there were some exceptional minds that had invested a great

deal of energy and effort into coming up with solutions to specific issues within the black

collective: however, rarely were these great minds working in unison with one another, which is

actually a reflection of one of many pathologies that negatively impact the black collective.

Once I discovered this dynamic of fragmented strategic data, it became my goal to study and

evaluate the information, assess the existing strategies and to develop a comprehensive program

that takes all of the strategies and presents them in a coherent manner — allowing for easy

cohesive implementation.

As I currently work on The Black Community Empowerment Blueprint 1.0, and other active

projects, I am often compelled to share specific details concerning a certain issue that is of

immense relevance in the attempts of blacks to rise up and become an autonomous nation within

a nation.

Today, I would like to share some of my concerns as they relate to what is known in political

science and social science as serial, forced displacement — an act that has been accomplished

through a number of distinct modalities over the last 100 years.

Regardless to what modality that has been used, serial forced displacement is defined as the

repetitive, coercive upheaval of groups (Fullilove & Wallace, 2011). When mentioned here,

serial forced displacement is specifically focused on Government sanctioned methodologies and

tactics that are underwritten by federal, state and local legislation that allows the wealthy to

aggressively, and even hostilely encroach upon the rights and property ownership of the

impoverished citizens of this country, with the vast majority of these citizens being people of

color.

What I am proposing here, based on a preponderance of the evidence that is currently available,

is that serial forced displacement creates a complex dynamic that produces interpersonal and

structural violence within the social structure of those who are being displaced. The empirical

evidence that is available to support this is statistically significant, meaning that it is so great that

it cannot be considered coincidence. Additionally, serial forced displacement also results in an

inability of the affected group to efficaciously respond or react in a timely manner to either,

threat or opportunity — facilitating a cyclical fragmentation as a result the first two issues.

What must be understood here is the primary motive behind serial forced displacement. While it

might be convenient to postulate that this is solely about the opportunity to profit from the

weaknesses and ignorance of the less fortunate — something that cannot and should not be

dismissed, it is necessary to consider a more nefarious idea — planned shrinkage & benign

neglect as a form of population control. Planned shrinkage is a controversial policy in which the


government looks to shrink and manage the size of large cities based on the premise of a

hypothesis by Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a man who once championed underwriting the black

economy by creating jobs specifically for black men, in lieu of social programs, such as welfare,

food stamps and Medicaid (Wallace, 2011). Moynihan had developed an ideology that suggested

that larger cities were the cause of the development of certain social pathologies, and reducing

the size of cities would reduce the occurrence of these perceived pathologies. Another part of this

process was known as benign neglect, which is when a city services are purposely withdrawn

from certain neighborhoods that are considered to be blighted.

One way that benign neglect was carried out was by using block grants to shift financial

resources from the inner city to the suburbs — subsequently dismantling existing Model Cities

programs, as well as violating the civil rights act and the civil liberties of organizations and

individuals.

When examining the history of serial forced displacement, and its relentless aggression towards

African Americans, displacing and diluting poor African Americans, it becomes apparent that it

is necessary to investigate, in great depth, the manner in which this malevolent practice has

impacted the physical health, mental health and social mobility of African Americans since this

practice started decades ago.

The term serial refers to a series of either policies and/or occurrences, and in this particular

instance, serial forced displacement refers to a series of policies and the perpetuation of a series

of occurrences in which blacks have been displaced through some form of coercion. Some of the

policies that had a direct impact on the displacement of black families in the inner city include

redlining, urban renewal, gentrification, segregation, planned shrinkage, mass criminalization,

deindustrialization (Something that completely decimated the inner city neighborhoods in

Detroit, MI), catastrophic disinvestment and more (Fullilove & Wallace, 2011).

Other processes that have worked against blacks in this strategic move to displace and

disorganize the black populace include the crack epidemic of the 1980s, and the overcriminalization

of behaviors that are considered to be highly appropriated into the black culture.

We have actually seen disaster be used as a method of forced displacement, with the most

prevalent example of this being New Orleans and the government’s handling of the Hurricane

Katrina catastrophe, which displaced hundreds of thousands of blacks. While the city is

rebuilding and its economy has definitely rebounded, blacks were not included in the rebuilding

equation. A city that has always had a dominant African American representation, no longer

does.

While I use Redlining, Urban Renewal and Gentrification synonymously in most of my prose, it

is necessary to illuminate the fact that while these different mechanisms accomplished the same

goal, the instruments that make them possible are distinctly different — representing different

eras. Basically, when one form of forced displacement would be outlawed through constitutional

amendment or statutory evolution, another method would be created to replace it.

Redlining was a mechanism that was instituted by the U.S. government, through the Home

Owners Loan Corporation in 1937. This was an act that was intended to discourage lending in


what was considered risky neighborhoods, resulting in people from certain neighborhoods being

denied financing. These neighborhoods that were classified as risky were those with older

buildings and black residents. To further elucidate the pernicious intent of this particular policy,

the existence of even one black home owner in a particular community would result in the worst

possible rating, which also created a hostile environment in which whites would fight to keep

blacks out of their community.

Urban renewal was another modality through which the government was able so successfully

displace millions of African Americans. This policy was instituted by the federal Housing Act of

1949 — providing for the seizure of property, through the power of eminent domain, in areas

that were deemed blighted. Once the property was seized, it was cleared of all structures and

property and sold at a discounted price.

Gentrification is a subtler form of serial forced displacement in which investors buy up property

in poor inner city neighborhoods for pennies on the dollar, and then they build properties and

businesses that drive up property values — placing poor families in a position in which they can

no longer afford the property taxes on their homes. In many instances, poor black families have

lost homes that they have owned for decades.

Gentrification is the practice of replacing lower income families with more economically affluent

residents, the rapidity and relentlessness of this particular practice have increased exponentially

over the last 15 to 20 years. While the dominant society views gentrification as a normal and

organic occurrence, it is anything but. The more affluent, predominantly white residents that

push out the impoverished, predominantly black residents are not simply acquiring vacant

property, they are forcibly creating those vacancies — revealing this practice for what it is

authentically — hostile and forced displacement.

In addition to the consequence of creating a de facto internal refugee population, serial forced

displacement also creates a number of significant health and behavioral characteristics that are

inextricably connected to this dynamic, including interpersonal and structural violence, substance

abuse, family disintegration, sexually transmitted diseases and more (DeGruy, 2009) (Rothstein,

2014). To help us understand the dynamics and effects of social disintegration Alexander

Leighton created what is known as the stage-state model of social disintegration, which was

designed to effectively articulate what happens to communities that are negatively affected by a

series of policies designed to forcibly displace them (Leighton, 1959).

Leighton presented two distinct polarities that were identified as integration and disintegration,

with integration existing as an internal interconnection that was underwritten by mutual support.

Conversely, disintegration was characterized by an individualistic paradigm that encouraged

individualism and disunity. The stage-state model presented a hypothesis that proposed that

disintegration was the result of a natural progression in which individualism resulted in a series

of negative events that would ultimately lead to the collapse of the community creating changes

in social results.

Beverly Watkins also contributed to the understanding of the nefarious effects of serial forced

displacement in her study of Harlem (Watkins, 2000). The studies by Watson revealed empirical


data that confirmed that individuals that experienced serial forced displacement suffered from

increasing levels of dysfunction after the occurrence of each negative event. The work conducted

by Watson confirmed the predictions of Leightonthere were consistent occurrences of social

organization decline, fragmented families and disease increased. In fact, violence emerged as a

new behavioral language that had been adopted as a form of communication within the context

of social engineering and manipulation. Basically, the forced displacement resulted in increasing

levels of dysfunction and violence.

In a significantly more complex dynamic, it was proven that planned shrinkage policies focused

on withdrawing fire services from the impoverished South Bronx literally exacerbated the AIDS

epidemic, expanding the area of infection from what was initially a small interconnection of

intravenous drug users confined to the South Bronx to a phenomenon of interconnectivity of

social networks that had become fragmented due to the forced displacement that would have

otherwise remained distinct, meaning that forced displacement connected individuals who would

not have otherwise came into contact with one another on a large scale — allowing the disease to

spread beyond its original parameters of confinement (Wallace, 1988).

Additionally, there have been several studies that reveal that the deindustrialization of black

neighborhoods and forced migration has contributed to the obesity epidemic (Wallace &

Wallace, 2010)

Empirical data produced by Barker and colleagues suggest that all of these negative effects will

persist across generations due to epigenetic influences (Barker, Forsein, Utela, Osmond, &

Eriksson, 2001)

What the aforementioned findings and other studies suggest is that the negative effects

associated with forced spatial and economic displacement will continue to be an issue that must

be addressed over the coming decades if the black collective is to prosper despite them. The

challenge is the fact that there is a proclivity to ignore these negative effects, or even to pretend

that these conditions do not exist. Additionally, what must be resisted is the attempt to ameliorate

these conditions though programs that perpetuate further displacement. What has to be

understood is the fact that the poverty that created this vulnerability in the first place is the result

of an imbalance in the power relationships between two specific groups, which is, in essence, the

reverberation of a racist caste system that has remained consistently in place sense these

relationships began between slaves and slave masters more than 400 years ago.

Additional Resource by Dr. Wallace:

The Mis-education of Black Youth in America

African American Inner-City Violence

The Invisible Father: Reversing the Curse of a Fatherless Generation

When Your House is Not a Home


Epigenetics in Psychology: The Intergenerational Transmission of Trauma in African Americans

Molestation, Incest & Rape in African American Families

Racial Trauma & African Americans

African Americans & Depression: Denying the Darkness

The Feminization & Emasculation of the Black Male Image

African American Genocide in America

You can support Dr. Wallace’s work with The Odyssey Project HERE!

Bibliography

Barker, D., Forsein, T., Utela, A., Osmond, C., & Eriksson, J. (2001). Size at Birth and

Resilience to Effects of Poor Living Conditions in Adult Life: Longtudinal Study. New

York: BMJ.

DeGruy, J. (2009). The African American Adolescence Respect Scale: The Measure of Prosocial

Attitude. The University of Portland, 1-3.

Fullilove, M. T., & Wallace, R. (2011). ong>Serialong> ong>Forcedong> ong>Displacementong> in American Cities 19-1916-

2010. Journal of Urban Health: Bulleton of the New York Academy of Medicine, Vol. 88,

No. 3, 381-382.

Leighton, A. H. (1959). My Name is Legion: Foundations for a Theory of Man in Relation to

Culture. New York: Basic Books Inc.

Rothstein, R. (2014). The Making of Ferguson: Public Policy at the Root of ong>Itsong> Troubles. Poncy

Institute.

Wallace, R. (1988). A Synergism of Plagues, Planned Shrinkage, Contagious Housing

Destruction, and Aids in the Bronx. New York: Environ Res.

Wallace, R. (2011). Benign Neglect and Planned Shrinkage. Brookly History.

Wallace, R., & Wallace, D. (2010). Gene Expression and ong>Itsong> Discontents: The Social Production

of Chronic Disease. New York, NY: Springer.

Watkins, B. (2000). Fantasy, Decay, Abandonment, Defeat and Disease: Community

Disintegration in Central Harlem 1960-1990. New York, NY: Columbia University.

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