Untenable: The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America’s Cities
Nashville: Post Hill Press, 2023
Everyone with whom I’d spoke knew exactly why they left. It’s just that no one bothered to ask them. — Jack Cashill
Jack Cashill, who worked for both the Newark, New Jersey and Kansas City, Missouri housing authorities, has written an excellent book about white flight from the great cities of the North from the perspective of the “ethnic” whites: Roman Catholic Italians and the Irish, in particular.
Cashill’s background is mostly Irish with some German, and he grew up in a Roman Catholic neighborhood in Newark. He was working class — his father was a Newark policeman. All the parents in his neighborhood knew each other, and the kids were free to range as they pleased. Cashill grew up watching Leave It to Beaver and felt it was an accurate representation of society at the time. Newark in the 1950s was idyllic. The neighborhood was safe, the economy functioned, and there was a real community.
That civilization has gone with the wind, however — destroyed in the 1960s. Cashill looks at how the neighborhoods of ethic whites in the big cities of the North became crime-ridden ghettos. He examines the various myths surrounding “white flight,” such as the idea — popularly propagated by the sub-Saharan, Michelle Obama – which held that the moment Africans showed up in white neighborhoods, the whites fled due to their innate racism.
Another myth is that real estate agents practiced block busting — playing on alleged white racism by deliberately bring in a family of sub-Saharans to create panic selling among the whites. The agents would then reap the commissions as the white sold their homes and bought new properties in the suburbs. Others are that the interstate highway system was deliberately put in place to segregate sub-Saharans from the rest, and that urban renewal projects were “negro removal” schemes.
Cashill looks at the data and draws on his experience as a white man who was part of “white flight” — and determines that the myths are wrong. First, the arrival of sub-Saharan settler-colonists from the South didn’t initially cause a wave of panic home sales. The whites of Newark, especially ethnic Catholics, were deeply anchored to their parochial schools and local churches, so a few black faces didn’t scare them away. Second, Cashill could not find a single person from any Northern city who claimed to have been involved in block busting. Neither has any sub-Saharan ever come forward and claimed that he worked with a real estate agent as a fake homebuyer.
The interstate highways that bisected neighborhoods and cities were not built with a specific racial intent, either. Rather, their builders only made use of the right of eminent domain to pave over houses, churches, schools, and other buildings based on ease-of-travel. In Newark and Kansas City, those displaced by the coming of the freeways were entirely white. Slum removal as a form of negro removal is also a myth — at least in the 1950s and ‘60s. In the 1950s there was an effort to improve America’s cities, one of the last flickers of the Progressive Era before the darkness of “civil rights” and Negro Worship enveloped America.
In fact, slum clearances in Newark had nothing to do with race. Such programs usually ended up as rackets. Cities would receive money to demolish “slums,” but exactly what constituted a “slum” remained undefined. Any neighborhood could therefore be declared a slum and its residents moved out via the right of eminent domain. In Newark in the 1960s, it was in fact safe and orderly white neighborhoods that were bulldozed to make way for public housing projects. Those in local government and politically-favored contractors became wealthy through this program. It was the sub-Saharans in these projects who eventually destroyed them themselves.
This corruption of progressive ideas shows that any progressive ideology that does not favor a particular people ends up as a swindle. But moving whites into any area leads to positive outcomes. Gay white men turned around many inner-city dumps in the late 1990s, for example.
The most pressing reason for white flight was and is sub-Saharan crime. The turning point came for in 1961. Cashill offers no explanation for it, but that was the year the Kennedy administration took office, and they were politically in debt politically to sub-Saharan activists. A large part of Kennedy’s base likewise supported “civil rights.” This connection to real power emboldened petty sub-Saharan criminals.
Cashill’s first experience with Afro-crime was as a nine-year-old. He was returning from an errand when an 11-year-old sub-Saharan covered his eyes while two others made off with the three dollars he had had in his pocket. Cashill told his parents. Police Detective Cashill then went to the nearest school with his son in tow, and after a hostile discussion with the Principal — a Jewish woman — the thieves were identified, and one confessed on the spot. The children were released into the custody of their parents.
This incident highlights some important truths. The Jewish Principal initially defended the sub-Saharan children despite the fact that she undoubtedly knew from personal experience of their disruptions in class that they were likely guilty. Liberal idealism led to policies that were soft on crime, and helped create the crime wave that started in the 1960s and didn’t end until Bill Clinton’s Crime Bill ended the low-level insurgency. Every white person in Newark had been personally victimized by sub-Saharan crime. It made living in the neighborhoods they had built untenable.
As the sub-Saharan enrollment in the schools increased, the resulting problems became uncontrollable. For a time, the Catholic whites were protected from this menace because their children attended the parochial schools. By contrast, white Protestants and Jews attended the public schools, and they were soon pushed out by the troubles.
Besides crime, the sheer numbers of sub-Saharans who began voting altered the makeup of local politics in these areas. Newark’s politics in the 1950s was ethnic: Power changed between Italians, Jews, and the Irish, with each group reaching out to each other while pretending to be offended by ethnic jokes or those stereotypes that were played up during election season to get out the votes for the various ethnic blocs. Once the sub-Saharan numbers grew too large to oppose, they elected their own into office. African-style corruption and mismanagement followed. Cashill describes that while working as a Newark city employee, he was expected to attend fundraising dinners for the town’s new political leaders — and pay a huge amount for the privilege.
As the 1960s progressed and the disaster of the “civil rights” movement continued to manifest, the very nature of politics in Newark changed. In the 1950s, Newark’s whites were Eisenhower voters. In 1960, they voted for Kennedy because they saw him — however erroneously — as a fellow white who would protect their interests. However, by 1968 Kennedy’s Democratic Party had ceased representing them in any way. The remaining whites in Newark, tough Italians who tried to hold on to their hard-won neighborhoods and churches in Newark, came out to support the pro-Southern segregationist George Wallace.
By the time whites in the North had come around to Wallace’s point of view, however, the situation in Newark and other cities suffering from sub-Saharan settler-colonialism was too far gone. Whites then headed for the new suburbs being built outside the cities, gaining back yards and freestanding houses — but losing their closely-knit communities. The old parish churches had to be rebuilt in the suburbs by the white refugees, or else the whites joined the big box Evangelical churches that came equipped with gyms and entertainment — although they refused to protect their white congregants in any meaningful way.
The towns that sprang up in the in the reclaimed pine barrens of the shore provided hosing for the dispossessed but little in the way of community. Many of these new residents had left behind their churches, their neighborhoods, and their extended families only to find themselves in a world without a heartbeat. Lacking sidewalks, front porches, or even stoops, subdivisions did not easily evolve into neighborhoods. People retreated, and community values withered. (p. 195)
The displacement of whites in the great cities of the North is one of the biggest injustices that “civil rights” America inflicted upon any group. It far surpasses the oppression of white Southerners that was going on at the same time. The latter group didn’t lose their community in the same way. Newark’s shifting politics led to Cashill’s father being demoted, and he took his own life. Those whites who voted for Kennedy were drafted in large numbers to fight the Vietnam War. One of Cashill’s childhood friends, SP4 William Swaykos, was killed in that conflict. Meanwhile, the Africanized cities became economic backwaters. Industry didn’t merely flee the new South-Western Townships, they fled the United States entirely — aided by the same sociopathic whites who had pushed for “civil rights” in the first place.
Untenable is the first mainstream book that articulates what has long been universally known about white flight. The system that brought sub-Saharans into the great cities was economically inefficient and untenable. It destroyed great cultural centers, uprooted neighborhoods, and left America with a vast collection of Zimbabwe-like slums.
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