"The Gatekeeper" from the October 27 Reader was quite educational. I thought that steering people away from your neighborhood because they don't suit your needs was wrong. Now I understand that it's OK as long as the people don't complain. "If you had not suggested this, I never would have known that I could live close to my job, or that there were things that existed out there exactly what I was looking for." These people think that the Regional Housing Center is doing them a favor. It keeps current residents' property values where they want them, but that's not why they do it. They want to help. Really. They care. It's Oak Park, remember? The "model for racial diversity." The Regional Housing Center has the perfect place for you. It's just not with them. Nobody is complaining. Yet. How would you like to be the family that pushes beyond the magic 30 percent?
Eventually, some people are going to hear what the Regional Housing Center leaves unsaid, and that is, "We've got enough people here already, my property values will go down if there are more than we currently have, please move somewhere else. I'll even drive you there. Please. We're liberal here, but everyone has limits. Ours is 30 percent. Do you know any white people who are looking?"
There are many ways to accomplish the same task. Some places spray hate messages on garages and throw things through windows. They get some rather poor press. Other areas pile into the Volvo for a ride to Westchester. It's less confrontational than wearing a sheet, and it's easier to look in the rearview mirror without that clumsy hood on. They get cover stories written in the Reader.