Trevor Noah explains the racism embedded in U.S. highways
You don’t have to look far in the U.S. to see the ongoing effects of institutionalised racism.
Specifically, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which saw 41,000 highways being constructed across America and which often disproportionally affect Black communities.
“Highway I-94 could have been anywhere in Minnesota, but it just happened to displace the very few Black people living in Minnesota,” Noah explains.
“And look, don’t get me wrong, these highways had to go somewhere. I’m not saying no highways. But more often than not, that somewhere was right through a Black neighborhood. Because you see, rich white neighborhoods, they didn’t allow this to happen to them. But Brown and Black families didn’t have any political power to stop it. I mean what were they gonna do, take to the streets? It was impossible; they hadn’t been built yet.
“Black people are used to being displaced by gentrification even today, but at least when that happens they get to enjoy Shake Shack for a few months first. These highways on the other hand, they didn’t provide any improvement to the neighborhood; they slashed a hole through it. And whatever was left of that neighborhood withered and died.”