The Harvard philosopher Michael Sandel calls it the “skyboxification of American life”—the way in which the wealthy and not-so-wealthy are living further and further apart. In the past, American neighborhoods were more mixed, housing people of very different backgrounds and incomes. Nowadays, many places are becoming homogenized.
Here is a visualiztion of where I live. The area outlined in orange is my neighborhood. It ranks a 4 compared to a 90 for the areas in green. A Zip’s ranking is a number between 0 and 99 representing the average of its percentile ranks in college education and in income.
How do we promote more diversity over a homogenized life?
The African-American religious folk songs known as spirituals grew out of the slavery experience and the introduction of Christianity into slaves’ lives. Though rooted in African musical tradition, they reflected life in a strange and terribly oppressive new world. Often improvisations upon older hymns, they became entirely new songs — songs like “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” “Joshua Fit De Battle of Jericho” and “Steal Away.” In some ways, spirituals foreshadow the birth of American jazz.
Photo: Chris Ware/Getty Images
Stephen Colbert helps you prepare for Advent with this liturgical dance.