Racial Discrimination in the Neighborhood
Racial prejudice and discrimination both are very commonplace in the United States today. The documentary covering suburbs around Chicago does an adequate job of illustrating these problems by approaching from a neighbor's point-of-view. Racial discrimination is much more abundant than many Americans may think, and several couples in the documentary attempt to cover their tracks, that their decisions were not based on racial discrimination, but time and time again the true nature of their actions were unmasked.
As black families began to move in to the Chicago suburb of Matteson, white families began moving out at a striking rate. Families justified their moves by explaining that they were avoiding crime, and finding a safe place for their children to grow up. A house in Matteson costs around $200,000, and black families who have moved into these houses are the families of doctors, lawyers, and other professionals. Not the families that one would expect crime and other problems to result from. Still, the predominantly white neighborhood began to shift towards an all-black neighborhood. Although the white families denied it, the racial discrimination was there. The interviews depicted two distinct sides to the argument, the side of those who remain in Matteson, and the side of those who felt compelled to leave. The black families who moved in explained their desire for a safe place to raise their kids, and a nice house to live in, and good schools for their children, a reward for working hard and attaining a worthy job. On the other hand, the white families complained of the same things, but their arguments were ungrounded, they were in a decent neighborhood, they had the good schools, and they lived in the nice houses. The white families were not coming from the inner city neighborhoods where these problems were so large; they had and still did reside in good neighborhoods. The only base the families had was discrimination towards the black families moving in to Matteson. The documentary showed that this was the recurring problem in neighborhoods, and tends to be the problem that causes neighborhoods to deteriorate. The white families failed to realize the consequences of their actions.
On an overall note, the documentary does an excellent job of portraying America's problem with racial discrimination. In Matteson, the only reason the families had for leaving was discrimination against the black families, but the white families failed to admit that. No special promotions or incentives that Matteson puts forth will be able to desegregate the neighborhood, until the white neighbors learn and accept that what they are doing is causing the problems, not the fact that black people are moving into their neighborhood.