Uncovering the sneaky tactics of modern-day racism in Atlanta: a shocking revelation you won’t want to miss.
Can you believe that the same blatant racism that deliberately divided Atlanta along racial lines decades ago is still impacting them today, just in more underhanded and unrecognizable ways? Despite Atlanta praising itself as a progressive, diverse city, the harsh reality is that the city’s soul-crushing traffic and constant gridlock, scream how the horrific effects of segregation and discrimination remain utterly embedded in their urban planning decisions. From what I’ve read and interpreted the roads of Atlanta seemed to be absolute parking lots, highways are in a permanent state of gridlock, and the traffic seemed to infinitely worsen with each passing year. And to my belief, this unfortunate situation isn’t just an inconvenience, it’s an inevitable, lasting past of overtly racist policies purposefully inflicted on our city in the past. This was made disgustingly clear to me when reading the article – it revealed how the roads were quite deliberately routed in the 1950s as concrete “racial boundaries” segregating black and white neighborhoods, an abhorrent reality openly declared by the mayor himself at the time. With that being said, while overt racism may seem less brazen today, the overcrowded highways and gridlock we face are oppressive, unshakable reminders that the insidious effects of segregation and discrimination are still venomously present in Atlanta’s urban planning decisions.

Let’s face it, while many Atlantans, and even Americans in general, try to convince themselves that we have moved past the despicable racist attitudes of the past, the reality is that Atlanta’s highways are a clear indication of how forced segregation still divides our cities at their core today. It is important to acknowledge that Atlanta’s highways are not the only ones that have perpetuated injustices in our corrupt system. We must not forget the racist highway construction in cities like Philadelphia, which destroyed predominantly black communities and left them devastated, erasing their histories in the name of “urban renewal.”
As a growing Afro-Latina woman living in a country that does not fully accept me, it is alarming to see how racism is still deeply ingrained in our daily lives and routines. Instead of confronting it, we often try to ignore its existence. This creates fear within me, as I worry that we are not doing enough to address the racism that is still present in our society.

In my opinion, it is time for our urban planners to address the injustices that we face. This includes making changes to our transportation systems. We need to invest in reliable public transit for underserved neighborhoods, rather than rejecting them as was done with MARTA in the past. As stated in the article, “Residents of the nearly all-white Cobb County resoundingly rejected the system in a 1965 vote.” It’s a moral necessity that we do a complete re-envisioning of certain highway routes and prioritize affordable housing near real job centers. My truth is, if we want to create a world with any hope of equality and freedom, we must take courageous steps to reckon with and systematically exorcise the discriminatory roots that created our modern traffic disasters. Every excruciating hour stuck in gridlock represents another slap-in-the-face reminder of the deep, festering injustices we’ve yet to truly overcome as a community.

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Terrel
April 5, 2024 8:33 pm

Laila,
Firstly, your cover image tricked me! I thought it was a real photo! I love how you highlighted that these tactics and strategies are all being done blind to the public. While these tactics are preformed without knowing of the public, you explicitly unpack all of these dirty secrets. Beautifully done.

Keity
April 5, 2024 12:32 am

I love your hook, it captures the attention of the readers well and it was interesting to see. I also liked how you called out Atlanta because they love to talk about how they pass as a divorced city when in reality like you said they are just under a lot of camouflaged urban planning and silent segregation. I agree with what you said in terms of this layout being inconvenient and especially inconvenient to minorities. You had your own twist on this prompt by relating some of these things to your own feelings as an Afro-Latina woman. Also, you made a valid point on Atlanta’s transportation system MARTA, and how they need to be invested in. Overall I think you did a great job summarizing key points of the passage 

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