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At the moment, I am in Richmond, Virginia. It reminds me in many ways of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where I grew up. It’s the state capitol. It has a large black population. Most of the buildings are old. It rains. And they have some good food.

But they also have a breathtaking amount of shuttered storefronts. They are everywhere. And I’m in the nice part of town! I took this little video……….and every single block is like this:

A few general observations:

  • The buildings are all quite old; most of them brick construction, and I’d guess almost every building was constructed in the early 1900s;
  • Religion is obviously much bigger here; there are stations devoted to Christian broadcasting, and commercials show up for megachurches;
  • By far the biggest difference for me is the blackness of the place. The Bay Area prides itself on “diversity”, but it occurs to me that there are pretty much no black people on television (news shows, commercials, etc.) whereas here it’s almost all black people on every commercial. So the “racist” south actually is doing a far better job on diversity than the liberal Bay Area.