Growing up in Philadelphia, I’ve witnessed many different changes in the infrastructure and can see how it can tie historically to racial segregation, and mostly especially how it impacts how many citizens live. Similar to Atlanta, Philadelphia has faced redlining, urban renewal, and highway construction that has caused the destruction of many Black communities along with pushing them aside to keep races separated. These Black neighborhoods and communities include homes, businesses, schools, and so much more that just further divide us and contribute to the systematic racism that we see everyday.  In Traffic Jam, there are many points where this topic of urban planning is discussed, including other topics like gentrification, which is the polar opposite of urban renewal. Nonetheless, all of these topics heavily affect Black communities inner city and root back to the historic ways of segregation.

Moving right along, gentrification in Philadelphia is one of the most common things that a lot of Philadelphians witness today. More and more of their neighborhoods experience unsolicited changes, regardless of them being predominantly Black for generations. When it comes to segregation, Philadelphia has a renowned history of the topic. Similar to what Traffic Jam discusses, Philadelphia also has highways and roadways that have interfered with the many Black communities established beforehand, being purposely built over top of them further destroying the neighborhoods. A great example of this is I-95, built straight through neighborhoods where a lot of Black families have lived, and still do. When it comes to the topic of division, these invisible lines continue to separate Black and white even more. This is evident, as Black people are almost always limited from things like real estate, banks, and even home owning due things like redlining, some of these policies are even justified and legal. The article A Traffic Jam makes note of that, stating “Other policies simply targeted black communities for isolation and demolition” (paragraph 4, sentence 4). This continues to prove that the state of government shows little to no regard for Black/African Americans and our well being by silently using tactics like these, showing that racial segregation and systematic racism still exists in all aspects. Yet, it is pushed away and looked down upon in conversation due to the ignorance of many people.

All in all, this piece shows how highways and roads caused the demolition of a lot of poor and predominantly Black neighborhoods, rooting back to the history of racial segregation. So many people in Philadelphia experience economic oppression to such an extent that it is inevitable, unfortunately affecting predominantly Black neighborhoods. This could relate to the article A Traffic Jam in so many ways, emphasizing the theme of segregation and how Black people, especially enslaved people, were pushed away and given much less of an opportunity than their white counterparts. Factors like institutionalized racial bias have made it easier for Black people to be discriminated against, limiting them to so many things. All of this further proves that even if Black people have built their communities from the ground-up, they continue to get pushed out into smaller communities that are oftentimes extremely underdeveloped.

image_printPrint this page.


0 0 votes
Rate This Post
Notify of
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
April 5, 2024 12:44 pm

Cassidy, I liked that you used Marxism as your literary lens and you made a lot of great connections using examples and quotes the essay is well structured with good grammar too.

April 5, 2024 8:57 am

Hi Cassidy! I love that in your analysis, you explained your personal connection to the topic. It furthered your thinking and brought back your point on how often racial discrimination affects communities. On that note, how do you think the economy ties into the destroying of black neighborhoods?

April 5, 2024 5:05 am

I loved that you, Cassidy, brought in your personal experience to basically gentrification. I have heard about where my friends/ family live/ used to live,, like south philly, has pretty coffee shops. which would be more ok if the people who moved in wouldn’t raise the rent for people who have been there for decades. It’s ok for the city to be better but driving people out of their homes is wrong. If you were in a position of power what would you do to help the city but also keep families in their homes?

April 5, 2024 12:13 am

While reading over your opinion piece, I had realized that both you and I used the same literary lense which was interesting to me due to the fact that no one else in my class did. Your essay is beautifully written! I do wonder why you chose Marxism though? Why did that feel like the right lense to use while reading?

April 4, 2024 10:15 pm

The benefit of drawing in the photos and other details is that everything is depicted differently and has a unique appearance. You should view it from a different perspective and consider the opinions of others. Additionally, it doesn’t always imply negativity; it can also imply a lot of positive aspects. 

April 4, 2024 3:52 pm

I like how you started with the connection between Atlanta and Philadelphia and the similarities between the two cities. I never noticed how significant it is that the I-95 goes through a black neighborhood and how that connects to racism in urban planning.

April 3, 2024 3:11 pm

I chose to read your post because the cover of it caught my eye. Your introduction is really compelling and sets the foundation for a strong post. I think that MARTA being designed to operate inner-city routes could also a wonderful example of the systemic Injustice and racism in Atlanta. Your conclusion is convincing.

Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


Email Call or Text 917-612-3006

Missions on Youth Voices
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?

Create Account