US city of Baltimore is center of America’s 'urban apartheid'

2020-10-20 13:02:58
US city of Baltimore is center of America’s 'urban apartheid'

The US city of Baltimore is nearly two-thirds Black and has been ranked as one of country’s most segregated cities, and African American residents say nothing will improve no matter who wins the US presidential election in November.

Baltimore, which is the largest city in the state of Maryland and located about 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Washington, DC, is deeply poor and devastated by decades of neglect.

In stark contrast, affluent neighborhoods that are overwhelmingly white and located just a few miles away consist of pricey condos, new stores and safe streets.

Experts say the poorest African Americans in the city are expected to live about two decades less than people in the wealthiest white districts.

Demon Lane, a Black resident, told AFP his neighborhood will still be blighted by drug dealing, deadly gunfire, rat-infested vacant houses and hopelessness no matter who becomes president.

"It didn't make a difference with the last three presidents. So it ain't going to make a difference with this next one," 27-year-old Lane said from his east Baltimore neighborhood.

Down the road from Lane’s house were several abondened homes and a drug dealing spot he called "crack central." During the warmer months of the year, he estimated he hears gunfire three times a week.

"I have no hope. The only thing I have hope in is my own self -- what I can do for my family", he added.

Baltimore's troubles have been a political tool for President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the city that has been Democrat-led for decades, most recently calling it the "WORST IN NATION."

Frustration at racial inequality boiled over in 2015 following the death in police custody of a 25-year-old Black man, Freddie Gray, and this year's nationwide Black Lives Matter protests found a strong resonance in the city.

Some areas, to the east and west of downtown Baltimore, were over 90 percent Black with median incomes as low as $14,000 per year, according to 2016 city figures.

Some of Baltimore's wealthiest areas, with median incomes as high as $110,000, were over 85 percent white, the same figures said.

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