Surprise! The most "progressive" leftwing/ liberal cities in the US are..you guessed it, mostly white! A case of "do that racial integration thingy over there but not in my back yard". Who wudda thunk it that progressives/ liberals were so racist, huh?!
Aaron M. Renn at the indispensable New Geography site has a fascinating analysis of a curious aspect shared by progressive urban havens like Austin, Portland and suchlike: they have relatively few black people in them. Excerpt:
This raises troubling questions about these cities. Why is it that progressivism in smaller metros is so often associated with low numbers of African Americans? Can you have a progressive city properly so-called with only a disproportionate handful of African Americans in it? In addition, why has no one called these cities on it? As the college educated flock to these progressive El Dorados, many factors are cited as reasons: transit systems, density, bike lanes, walkable communities, robust art and cultural scenes.
But another way to look at it is simply as White Flight writ large. Why move to the suburbs of your stodgy Midwest city to escape African Americans and get criticized for it when you can move to Portland and actually be praised as progressive, urban and hip?
Many of the policies of Portland are not that dissimilar from those of upscale suburbs in their effects. Urban growth boundaries and other mechanisms raise land prices and render housing less affordable exactly the same as large lot zoning and building codes that mandate brick and other expensive materials do. They both contribute to reducing housing affordability for historically disadvantaged communities. Just like the most exclusive suburbs.
It doesn't surprise me that people want to live around people like them, whether in terms of race, class, educational level, whatever. I object only to any legal impediment to people being free to move and to live where they want to. I simply find it risible that progressives would criticize others for allegedly having bad racial motives for what they call "white flight" (though middle class people of all ethnicities do the same thing) when they themselves are doing the same thing.
Imagine a large corporation with a workforce whose African American percentage far lagged its industry peers, sans any apparent concern, and without a credible action plan to remediate it. Would such a corporation be viewed as a progressive firm and employer? The answer is obvious. Yet the same situation in major cities yields a different answer. Curious.
In fact, lack of ethnic diversity may have much to do with what allows these places to be "progressive". It's easy to have Scandinavian policies if you have Scandinavian demographics.