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‘The Corner,’ revisited: Have recent economic gains changed anything in inner city Baltimore?

In this presidential election year, Need to Know will continue to bring you stories on important issues that the candidates may not be talking about.

Unemployment in the inner city is that kind of story: urgent, and overlooked. Years ago, in his book “The Corner,” David Simon profiled an inner city neighborhood in Baltimore in which young African-American men were under-employed or un-employed — and more than a few dealt drugs to get by. David Simon took us to Baltimore’s inner city last September.

Since we were there, the national unemployment rate has declined significantly, and so has Maryland’s jobless rate. What, if anything, has that meant for Baltimore’s inner city? Has anything changed? That’s what we were hoping to find out when we returned to the same neighborhood in Baltimore three weeks ago.

On ‘The Corner’ with David Simon [Oct. 7, 2011]

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.


  • Lee

    The short term solution would be a focused program to put these men to work. The bigger question is how much of our scarce resources should be used to remedy the poor decisions of individuals? I’d be curious to know how many of these men actually completed high school? How many have children? Until individuals and the families, organizations and communities who nurture them grasp the long term implications of short term decisions we are all stuck with these problems.

  • Gustavo Corral

    I think we should do something like what we did for Wall St. 

     1) start the conversation going with the word “crisis” 

     2) show the connection of the inner city to the rest of the economy – let’s rebrand “inner city” – too 1970s; call it “core neighborhoods” 

     3) create a profession ( as economists were to Wall St. ) who view the inner ci- (*cough*, sorry) the core neighborhoods as the epitomy of everything good and natural and holy. 

     4) Come up with an $800B plan; doesn’t have to make perfect sense; like papers in college – that is not the point. The point is that your position be arguable. Sophistry, style is the way of the future. 

     5) Dodge criticism by embracing it. Right or wrong we need to move forward; it had to be done. 

     6) Hold town hall style meetings with taxpayer groups. Answer questions. Care. Cry if you can manage it. But move resolutely in the other direction nevertheless. 

    And 7) (because it sounds like a cooler, holier, luckier number to end on) remember that chaos, inconsistency is the nature of the universe. Don’t listen to that inner voice that is telling you your actions are crazy | wrong | undemocratic