Apartheid exists in New Haven, according to James Rawlings, the president of the Greater New Haven branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

At a Monday afternoon talk, Rawlings — who is also a clinical instructor at the Yale School of Public Health — discussed a report by the NAACP Greater New Haven branch entitled “Urban Apartheid” that found that low-income minority residents in the New Haven area still face significant barriers to equal opportunities in all aspects of life, such as education, health, housing, jobs and civil rights. Rawlings called on various members of the community, including students and Yale community members, to take action to change the policies that promote an unequal system.

“For the last 20 years, the gap [between low-income and high-income neighborhoods] has grown in America, in Connecticut and in New haven,” Rawlings said.

Rawlings said a major barrier to employment results from a lack of physical access to transportation. The report showed that African-American workers in New Haven County are six times more likely to rely on public transportation than non-minority workers. Public transportation should be improved to make the commuting time for individuals “30 minutes instead of 90 minutes,” Rawlings said.

In New Haven County in 2010, 36 percent of African-Americans owned homes while as many as 74 percent of Caucasians did, Rawlings said. He said a reform in housing policy is necessary for better integration of low- and high-income neighborhoods. The gap between the health conditions of minority and non-minority residents is also evidence of drastic inequality, Rawlings said. The NAACP’s report found that the current asthma prevalence among black children in Connecticut is 18.9 percent, compared to 9.9 percent among non-Hispanic white children.

Rawlings said the Yale community plays a crucial role in solving these problems, but a major divide still exists between the University and the rest of the community.

“We have never sat down with the president of Yale University — not because we did not want it,” Rawlings said.

He added that his organization hopes to “go every place, any place” to raise awareness about the issues of inequality and to better motivate community involvement.

Audience members interviewed said they thought the talk was meaningful because the issues discussed should be spread to a wider range of people.

Jamil Jivani LAW ’13 said he thought Rawlings’ speech would help facilitate conversation about urban inequality within the Yale community.

“The best part of today’s event was hearing from a mixed group of people — both Yale’s and New Haven’s perspective,” he said.

Ceria Fernandez, a New Haven resident, said she was “excited to find out what I can do about [the problem].”

The NAACP Greater New Haven branch was granted its charter in 1917.

Correction: April 24 

A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Jamil Jivani LAW ’13.

  • lakia

    Want to know WHY these disparities exist? Read THE BELL CURVE. It will explain a lot and also point out, it really isn’t “whitey’s” fault after all.

    • TheCasimirEffect

      Ohhhhhhh, I get it — sure, systemic racial inequality is one of the most pressing problems facing our generation, but I didn’t realize that the easy solution all along was to simply be a racist!

      For Pete’s sake lakia, no decent person has bought into “The Bell Curve”‘s central message since ever. #You’veGot99ProblemsAndTheyAreAllRacism

      • lakia

        Facts are stubborn things. If someone discusses the pro’s of a persons athletic prowess, no problem. But, introduce the idea that an Asian (or any other) brain is more sophisticated…. Then all bets are off. If there can be differences in the physical genetic makeup of a race of people, then why not the intellectual makeup? Which, is of course, what The Bell Curve suggested. It’s not PC, but it is what it is. #nothingtodowithracism

        Environment, socialization, blah blah blah. We have had TV, computers, social programs ad nauseum – there has been almost no progress in inner urban black neighborhoods in 50 years.

      • lakia

        Maybe no decent person brings it up because they are
        A F R A I D, btw.

  • Rob Wilson

    check your premise: here is a study by the new york times 12 years after the Bell Curve was published. But what if the supposed opposition between heredity and environment is altogether misleading? A new generation of studies shows that genes and environment don’t occupy separate spheres — that much of what is labeled “hereditary” becomes meaningful only in the context of experience. “It doesn’t really matter whether the heritability of I.Q. is this particular figure or that one,” says Sir Michael Rutter of the University of London. “Changing the environment can still make an enormous difference.” If heredity defines the limits of intelligence, the research shows, experience largely determines whether those limits will be reached. And if this is so, the prospects for remedying social inequalities may be better than we thought.

    When quantitative geneticists estimate the heritability of I.Q., they are generally relying on studies of twins. Identical twins are in effect clones who share all their genes; fraternal twins are siblings born together — just half of their genes are identical. If heredity explains most of the difference in intelligence, the logic goes, the I.Q. scores of identical twins will be far more similar than the I.Q.’s of fraternal twins. And this is what the research has typically shown. Only when children have spent their earliest years in the most wretched of circumstances, as in the infamous case of the Romanian orphans, treated like animals during the misrule of Nicolae Ceausescu, has it been thought that the environment makes a notable difference. Otherwise, genes rule.