The absolute strength of the provincial nature of this all is hard to put into words.
You’re trained from a young age, mostly through schooling and neighborhood adults, that there’s only certain places you can go. You don’t go outside of that territory; that’s not your territory.
Now I was lucky; I broke out of it a little; I broke away to a private school for high school. I took tests, wrote essays, got a full scholarship.
I went ALL THE WAY from that dot and series of small dots on the right side. Being a lower income (I checked the data) full scholarship kid from a middle income town going to an UPPER INCOME school (I checked the data to be sure) was huge for me.
But there was some resentment from kids in the middle income town I grew up in; it wasn’t just a betrayal that I went to a different high school; it’s that I was going to an upper class high school, outclassing them – which wasn’t right because I was a lower income kid in my own town (kids always know no matter how much you try).
So all this seems nice and anecdotal and unrelated to the notion of food deserts – or low income, low supermarket access.
The thing is: from the predominantly white areas, the system of classes starts; I was of the lower/lower middle, and as you go left on the map, it goes to the upper classes.
But as you travel to the right on the map from where I grew up, the class system STOPS and it becomes ethnic enclaves. By the time I came along the clear divisions in Elizabeth NJ of “This is the blocks of the italian americans” vs the blocks of the Russians, vs the blocks of the Puerto Ricans, vs the blocks for the blacks, etc were a little less obvious; but even as the division REASONS blurred a little (language and culture), the learned geographical divisions remained.
A lot of the divisions are reinforced by the school system divisions (they’re not going to move schools around) and the local police force and firehouses but also anchored by the neighborhood shops that serve the communities.