Untenable: The True Story of White Ethnic Flight from America’s Cities


Long accused of racism and “white flight,” the ethnic Americans driven from their homes and neighborhoods—the author included—finally get the chance to tell their side of the story.

“A startlingly honest and poignant look at ‘white flight’ from the white perspective. A necessary and overdue corrective.” —Brent Bozell III, founder and president of the Media Research Center

I asked one lifelong friend, a rare Democrat among the displaced, why he and his widowed mother finally left our block in the early 1970s, twenty years after the first African-American families moved in. He searched a minute for the right set of words, and then simply said, “It became untenable.” When I asked what he meant by “untenable,” he answered, “When your mother gets mugged for the second time, that’s untenable. When your home gets broken into for the second time, that’s untenable.” In researching this project, I found myself repeatedly stunned by the failure of self-described experts on white flight to ask those accused of fleeing why it was they fled. The reason the experts didn’t ask, I discovered, is that they were afraid of what they might learn.