Trine University Sociology Discussion

For this week, you have been assigned to read The Waning of American Apartheid?by Farley,

and Racial Formation Theoryby Jacobson. You have also listened to a This American Life podcast (#512, House Rules). Jacobson helps us understand how race/ethnicity are formed in society, whereas the Farley article discusses how housing and residential segregation has decreased over the past 30 years, and points to some of the changes in mentality that are correlated with the change. Meanwhile, the podcast episode examines how housing discrimination continues to be a meaningful issue in American cities, what has and has not been done, and how the issue connects to the broader political economy of society. For your paper, please address the following questions:

  1. Farley describes some recent changes in residential segregation. What are the trends in racial residential segregation, and where have these changes been occurring most rapidly? How have these changes correlated with changing perceptions about residential integration among individuals? Finally, Farley ends with a list of reasons to be optimistic about residential segregation. What are some of the reasons he cites?
  2. Briefly summarize the podcast episode, House Rules. How is residential segregation perpetuated in society today, and how have the forms of segregation changed over time? Why is housing and housing segregation so important for inequality in American society, and why does this make it so hard to address? What are the political and legal forces that help shape housing discrimination, and how does enforcement (or lack of enforcement) perpetuate discrimination?
  3. The Farley article and the podcast present two different perspectives on residential segregation. Is it necessarily the case that one has to be wrong? If not, how are they able to discuss the same problem from two perspectives at the same time? Further, how do the issues raised by the This American Life podcast complicate Farley’s reasons for cautious optimism? Will future steps toward more integrated neighborhoods be easier or more complicated?

Requirements:Formatting: The paper will be 2.5-3 pages (absolutely no more than 3) typed pages in Times

New Roman, 12 point font and with 1 inch margins on all sides. Please single space your paper’s heading, but double space the body of your paper.

Submission: You will submit a hard copy at the beginning of class. If you have printer problems, or do not attend class that day, you may submit a version to me by email and receive a 5 point deduction per day late.

Citations: You will include in-text citations that include the page number for any reference to the book or assigned media. Additional citations are welcome, but note required. If you cite additional sources, you must include a work cited page and you will cite your sources in a consistent and scholarly manner (ASA, APA, or MLA formats are acceptable).

Plagiarism: Your paper will not be plagiarized in any way. This means that your paper will be exclusively your work, it will not be fabricated in any way, and all work will be produced specifically for this assignment. Plagiarism includes making minor alterations to large chunks of text, and submitting it as your own work. A large portion of this assignment is to demonstrate that you understand the material, that you can apply the material in the real world, and that you are capable of thinking and writing about sociological concepts and processes. Plagiarizing the work of others does not do any of these things.

RUBRIC ATTACHED BELOW – 3 to 3.5 pages in length

(PODCAST THAT NEEDS TO BE LISTENED TO)

https://www.thisamericanlife.org/512/house-rules

the waning of
american apartheid?
by reynolds farley
The Obamas are the first African American family to reside at 1600
Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s hard to tell, though, if the rest of America
has followed suit, becoming a place where the color of your skin
no longer determines where you live. Where you live, after all, determines much about what happens to you and your family, where
your children attend school, how easily you can assess
health care (and the quality of that care),
your exposure to crime, your
opportunities for employment,
the quality of your
municipal services,
your local tax rates,
whether your home
appreciates in value,
and so on. Residential segregation is a lens to assess
whether the United States has
achieved the equality that some
while black-white segregation remains high
in many metropolises, there are reasons to be
optimistic that “apartheid” no longer aptly describes
urban America.
36 contexts.org
Photo by Steven Hoang via flickr.com
felt the 2008 election symbolized. And
African American migration to cities in both the North and
South accelerated during World War I. Almost immediately,
governments and private citizens adopted practices that insured
that blacks and whites would seldom live in the same neighborhood. In almost every city, a measure of violence greeted
blacks who dared enter white neighborhoods. Indeed, the most
important civil rights trial of the 1920s involved a Dr. Sweet, a
black dentist who purchased a home in a white neighborhood
of Detroit, then sought to defend it from a mob—a defense that
led to the death of a white protester. While a few cities legislated where blacks and whites might live, those ordinances
were ruled unconstitutional; restrictive covenants proved a
more effective and more peaceful way to insure that blacks,
Jews, or Asians would never live in a particular home. A
covenant was inserted into the property deed specifying that
only whites could own or occupy the
residence. In 1926, the Supreme Court
upheld such covenants arguing that
they were private agreements that did
not violate civil rights. In the same
decade, real estate associations began
to develop “ethical principles” that prohibited brokers from renting or selling to blacks or other minorities who wished to enter white neighborhoods.
By the 1930s, federal agencies began insuring homes in
an effort to stabilize the housing market during the Depression. A nationwide system for property assessment emerged.
Color-coded maps were prepared to indicate the credit worthiness of a neighborhood. All neighborhoods with black residents (or those presumed to be open to blacks) were colored
red—ineligible for federal loans. Later, after World War II, the
federal government became active in the housing market
through Veterans’ Administration and Federal Housing Authority programs. It is these efforts that were responsible for the creation of the “Crabgrass Frontier,” the suburban rings that now
surround older cities. These programs weren’t directly designed
to maximize black-white residential segregation, but they certainly had that result. Most suburban homes were built in areas
where brokers and lenders followed the color-coded federal
rules and denied housing to African Americans.
Together, governmental agencies, local officials, school
administrators, and real estate dealers thoroughly segregated
whites from blacks. Widely-held ideas that African Americans
were prone to crime, that attending school with black children
would greatly harm white children, and that housing prices
would plummet in any neighborhood where blacks lived all
motivated these practices. In 1965, Alma and Karl Tauber carried out the first comprehensive assessment of segregation,
concluding “Negroes are by far the most residentially segregated urban minority group… This is evident in the virtually
complete exclusion of Negro residents from most new suburban developments of the past fifty years.”
Racial riots in the 1960s brought segregation to the
nation’s attention. President Johnson’s investigative committee, The Kerner Commission, predicted that, unless there were
major changes, the country would soon consist of central cities
with black and poor populations, ringed by much more prosperous and largely white suburbs. A popular Soul Music song
summed it up: “Chocolate City, Vanilla Suburbs.” But change
did come. After the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Congress enacted an Open Housing Law (timid at the start, it was
subsequently strengthened). A Fair Housing movement sprung
up in many cities. Associations of real estate brokers changed
their ethical standards and adopted the non-discrimination
policies now required by law, and numerous studies of probable lending discrimination by lenders led Congress to pass the
Home Mortgage Disclosure Act in 1975.
Residential segregation is a lens to assess whether
the U.S. has achieved the equality that some felt
the 2008 election symbolized.
Still, in the early 1990s, sociologists Douglas Massey and
Nancy Denton would write in American Apartheid, “Residential segregation has become the forgotten factor of American
race relations. Until policymakers, social scientists, and private
citizens recognize the crucial role of America’s own apartheid
in perpetuating urban poverty and racial injustice, the United
States will remain a deeply divided and very troubled society.”
trends in racial residential segregation
Decennial censuses provide information about census
tracts—geographic units with about 4,000 residents that are
often considered “neighborhoods.” These tracts provide the
basis for most racial residential segregation measures , including the index of dissimilarity, which assesses how evenly two
groups are distributed across a metropolitan area. If every census tract were either exclusively white or exclusively black, the
index for that metropolis would be 100. If African American and
white residents were equally represented in every neighborhood, the index for that metropolis would be 0 (there’d be no
segregation). The chart on page 38 shows the index of dissimilarity for non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks for each
of the dozen largest American metropolises using constant
geographic boundaries starting with the 1980 Census and
measuring up to the 2010 Census.
As you can see, segregation declined across the decades
in every location. In 1980, five of the largest metropolises had
segregation scores in excess of 80, but thirty years later, the
highest score was New York City’s 77. Three of the city’s 2010
scores had dropped under 60, a level that we might call “moderate segregation.” Even Chicago and Detroit, bastions of racial
Contexts, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 36-43. ISSN 1536-5042, electronic ISSN 1537-6052. © 2011 American Sociological Association.
http://contexts.sagepub.com. DOI 10.1177/1536504211418452
summer 2011 contexts 37
Segregation of non-Hispanic whites from
non-Hispanic blacks
1980
1990
2000
Percent change,
1980-2010
2010
-14.6%
Chicago
-15.5%
Detroit
-22.0%
Miami
-5.4%
New York
-19.5%
Los Angeles
-29.0%
Dallas-Ft. Worth
-13.2%
Philadelphia
-24.1%
Atlanta
-17.6%
Boston
-17.8%
Houston
-17.6%
San Francisco
-12.5%
Washington, DC
Index of dissimilarity
40
60
80
100
Source: http://www.s4.brown.edu/us2010/
isolation, had become more integrated by 2010.
The graph on page 39 (left) shows that, in all metropolitan areas (394 are included), black-white segregation has
declined steadily across the decades. In 1980, the average blackwhite score was 73, and 10 percent of the metropolises had
scores above 75. Data from last year’s enumeration reveal an average segregation score of 59. Only three locations (Milwaukee,
New York, and Chicago) had 2010 indexes over 75, and many
southern and western metropolises had levels of black-white
segregation that might be termed “low” or “moderate.” More
than one-quarter had scores under 40, including Las Vegas, Salt
Lake City, San Jose, and Tucson. The pattern is extensive: during the 1980s, black-white segregation fell in 84 percent of the
metropolises; in the 1990s, in 87 percent; and in the last decade,
88 percent.
Although blacks and whites increasingly share neighborhoods, African Americans remain much more segregated from
whites than do Hispanics or Asians. As the graph shows, Hispanic-white segregation hardly changed between 1980 and
2000. There was a small decline in the most recent decade, but
that change was much less than the decrease in white-black
segregation. The segregation of Asians from whites has barely
changed at all. The Hispanic and Asian populations grew rapidly, thanks to substantial immigration, while the black and
white populations are growing slowly. The arrival of many Asians
and Hispanics in immigrant neighborhoods may explain why
their segregation trends differ from those of African Americans.
The racial composition graph on page 39 (right) shows
that both whites and blacks now live in much more racially
diverse neighborhoods than in the past. This is a result of
decreases in residential segregation and rapid growth of the
Hispanic and Asian populations. It was rare for whites to live
on a block with an Asian or Hispanic three decades ago, now
it’s common. As the graph shows, in 1980, the typical white
homeowner was racially isolated, residing in an area in which
88 percent of the neighbors were also white. By 2010, one in
every four of their neighbors was not white. Still, if race made
race and residence from the telescope to the microscope
by maria krysan
As scientific instruments used to reveal something about how
the world works, the telescope and the microscope each serve
distinct and complementary functions. So, too, with the tools
we use to understand patterns of racial residential segregation
in the United States. The Census and survey data used in the
accompanying article give us a useful telescope with which to
scan the horizon and view the extent to which race shapes
neighborhood patterns. But microscopes let us narrow our
view and provide for a closer inspection of the behaviors and
attitudes that make up those patterns. The insights from four
different types of data uncover some of the micro-processes
that may help explain why segregation, though on the decline,
is still far from extinct.
Discrimination as a moving target. Looking for a place
to live involves a number of steps: finding an available house or
apartment, contacting and meeting with the owner/agent, viewing the unit, submitting an application, securing approval, and
38 contexts.org
signing a lease or executing a contract. Most of the information
we have about whether race shapes how one is treated in this
process—including the national Housing Audit Studies reviewed
in the accompanying article—looks at one specific step in this
process: the face-to-face encounter between housing provider
and renter/buyer. But in the world of cell phones, caller ID, and
voicemail, and in the context of a widespread ability to discern
race based solely on a person’s voice, Douglas Massey and Garvey Lundy have shown, with research published in Urban Affairs
Review, that racial discrimination can happen even before homeseeker and housing provider ever meet.
In their rigorous audit study of the Philadelphia rental market, researchers posing as prospective tenants called the same
housing providers to inquire about a unit—there were men and
women, and they differed in terms of whether their accents
conveyed their status as white middle class, black middle class,
or black poor. Though all presented themselves as looking for
Racial composition of typical residential areas
Residential segregation in all metropolises
Non-Hispanic White
Non-Hispanic Black
Hispanic
Non-Hispanic Asian
Other
80 Index of dissimilarity
Racial composition of the neighborhoods of typical White
70
60
1980
Segregation of Blacks from Whites
2010
50
Segregation of Hispanics from Whites
Racial composition of the neighborhoods of typical Black
40
Segregation of Asians from Whites
1980
30
2010
1980
1990
2000
2010
Source: John Logan, Brown University, http://www.s4.brown.edu/us2010
Percent10
20
30
40
50
60
70
80
90
100
Source: John Logan, Brown University, http://www.s4.brown.edu/us2010
Metropolitan Detroit has consistently had extremely elevated levels of residential segregation along with a long history
of racial violence. In three different decades—that is, in 1976,
1992, and again in 2004—my colleagues and I conducted investigations to try to describe the causes of this persistent segregation. Using a number of survey instruments, we tried to
determine whether white residents felt comfortable with African
Americans living on their block, whether they would remain
should African Americans move onto their block, and whether,
if they were thinking about a new home, they’d consider neighborhoods in which African Americans already lived.
Along with introductory questions about their neighborhoods, and before we got into their personal racial attitudes,
we showed a large, randomly-selected sample of white
respondents cards depicting neighborhoods with racial compositions ranging from all-white to one-half white and onehalf black. First, we told them to imagine they lived in an
exclusively white neighborhood. For white residents of Detroit,
the same kind of apartment and having the same kinds of financial abilities, even the most basic courtesy of having one’s phone
call returned showed unequal treatment. At the two extremes,
87 percent of white middle class men were called back by the
housing provider, while just 63 percent of poor black women
were given that courtesy. And the differences didn’t stop there:
African Americans—especially poor African American women—
were disadvantaged in terms of whether they were told on the
phone that the unit was available, the quoted application fee,
and whether issues of credit worthiness came up. This study
and others confirm that discrimination is, in Massey’s words, a
“moving target.” Discrimination “with a smile” may have been
replaced by discrimination “with a dial tone.”
Is it race or is it class? The attitudinal data Reynolds Farley reports in this issue is a valuable tool for framing the landscape of racial attitudes related to residential segregation, but
it’s also a relatively blunt instrument. One shortcoming is its
singular focus on a neighborhood’s racial composition. Indeed,
some have argued that any reservations expressed—especially
by white respondents—about sharing neighborhoods with
African Americans may not be about race at all. To the extent
that people associate neighborhoods with more African Americans as being of lower quality (lower housing value appreciation, worse upkeep, higher crime rates, poorer quality schools,
etc.), one might argue that it’s not that people want to avoid
living with black people, it’s just that they don’t want lower
quality neighborhoods. Because the “neighborhood cards”
approach is silent on all other neighborhood characteristics,
it’s impossible to disentangle whether it is race or class driving
a reluctance to live in integrated neighborhoods.
Along with my colleagues, I tackled this challenge in a
recent experiment embedded in a random sample survey of
residents in the Chicago and Detroit metropolitan areas. In this
household-based survey, respondents were shown several
videos of actual neighborhoods that varied in terms of their
social class characteristics (size of home, upkeep of property,
etc.). Actors portrayed residents in these short videos, allowing us to experimentally manipulate the racial composition of
the neighborhood while holding constant its observable social
class characteristics.
no difference in where people lived, 14 percent of those neighbors would be black, given the proportion of urbanites who
are black. The actual number is just 8 percent black.
In 1980, African Americans were also racially isolated; 61
percent of their neighbors were also African Americans. By 2010,
probably for the first time in a century, black urban-dwellers typically lived in neighborhoods in which their race was a minority.
Reductions in segregation and demographic trends substantially
increased the representation of whites, Asians, and Hispanics in
their neighborhoods. Nevertheless, these data show that the
neighborhoods of the average black urbanite and the average
white urbanite remain very different in racial composition.
considering neighbors
Contexts, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 38-42. ISSN 1536-5042, electronic ISSN 1537-6052. © 2011 American Sociological Association.
http://contexts.sagepub.com. DOI 10.1177/1536504211418453
summer 2011 contexts 39
Neighborhood cards shown to white respondents
Scenario #1
Scenario #2
Attractiveness of neighborhoods for white respondents
Your house
Diagram of the
neighborhood
Your
house
Scenario #3
Your
house
1976
Would feel comfortable
in the neighborhood
93%
84%
76%
Your
house
83%
70%
58%
Scenario #4
Your
house
1992
66%
56%
43%
51%
35%
28%
2004
Would move out of
the neighborhood
Willing to move into
such a neighborhood
2%
4%
7%
88%
87%
73%
8%
15%
79%
69%
24%
50%
19%
29%
41%
39%
53%
64%
52%
42%
26%
35%
29%
16%
this was a realistic assumption. Then we showed them a card
depicting a minimally-integrated neighborhood with 14 white
families and 1 black family.
We asked whether the white respondent would be uncomfortable if his or her own neighborhood came to resemble the
one shown on the second card. If they said they would feel
comfortable, we presented them with a third, slightly more
integrated neighborhood card with 12 white and 3 black families. We continued showing them cards until they said they
would feel uncomfortable or came to the final card showing
a neighborhood with 7 white and 7 black families. At whatever
point a respondent said they’d be uncomfortable with the racial
mix of the hypothetical neighborhood, we asked if he or she
would try to move away from that neighborhood. If they said
they would move out, we assumed they would be even less
comfortable with higher densities of African American families, and we stopped asking questions.
Our results are shown in the figure above right. From 1976
on, the racial attitudes of white Detroit residents shifted substantially. In 1976, three-quarters said they would be comfortable if their neighborhood had one black family. Twenty-eight
years later, whites almost universally accepted that minimum
level of integration: 93 percent were comfortable. The presence of blacks still made a difference, though. In 2004, twothirds of whites said they would be comfortable living in a
neighborhood of 10 white and 5 black households. But when
the racial composition approached 50-50, many white respondents were uncomfortable; just one-half said they would be
comfortable in such a neighborhood (in 1976, just one-quarter of white respondents could say the same).
The post-World War II years were the era of white flight in
Detroit. Chicago alderman Francis Lawler once famously defined
integration as that brief interval between the arrival of a neighborhood’s first black family and the departure of its last white fam-
While showing that social class does matter—pretty much
everybody wants to live in a “nicer” neighborhood—our results
also show that even if a neighborhood is identical on all other
dimensions, the presence of black residents makes the area less
desirable for white homeseekers. African Americans, for their
part, are also influenced by race, but less so and in a different
direction: for them, all-white neighborhoods were least desirable and racially-mixed were most desired. To further make the
case that race—and not just social class—matters, white respondents who held negative stereotypes of black people were significantly more likely to be affected by the neighborhood’s racial
composition. Despite optimism about the racial attitude changes
documented by the survey data, this experiment demonstrates
people may be class conscious, but they’re not color blind.
Taking it to the real world. The neighborhood cards measure has also been criticized because it just isn’t the real world.
People don’t move into hypothetical neighborhoods, they make
actual housing decisions in real cities and neighborhoods. My coauthor Michael Bader and I asked a random sample of Detroitarea residents to look at a colorful map of the Detroit metropolitan
area that showed 33 different neighborhoods and communities
ranging from all-white suburbs to all-black Detroit neighborhoods.
They were then asked to identify communities in which they
would “seriously consider” living and any where they would
“never consider” living. There was some agreement between
black and white respondents: for example, neither group was
attracted to older, lower-income suburbs with little recent economic growth. But there were still striking racial differences; both
the race of the resident and the racial composition of the community affected whether or not a particular area was considered
desirable. And, controlling for community characteristics like housing values and location, we found that the ”whiteness” of a community predicted whether white people would seriously consider
moving there, while racial composition didn’t affect African American considerations. Specifically, a 10 percent increase in the proportion of white residents in a community was accompanied by
a 53 percent increase in the odds that a white person would ”seriously consider” it as a place to live. For African Americans, the percent white or percent black made no difference in whether they’d
“seriously consider” or “never consider” a community.
40 contexts.org
ily; historian Thomas Sugrue writes that, for many Detroit neighborhoods, that description fits the bill. But our studies show that
white people’s attitudes about moving away when African American families move into their neighborhood have changed profoundly and offer some hope that white flight is over. In 1976,
40 percent of whites said they would try to move away if their
neighborhood came to have a 10 white to 5 black families composition. After nearly 30 years, only 19 percent said they would
try to leave if their neighborhood became one-third African
American. Indeed, the majority of
respondents in the most recent study said
they wouldn’t try to move, even if their
neighborhood came to be roughly 50/50,
Still, though, a significant proportion of
white respondents said they would try
to move out if they became the minority group in their neighborhood.
After asking about their comfort with black neighbors and
whether they would try to leave, we gave white respondents
a set of all of the “possible neighborhood” cards. We asked
them to suppose they had found an attractive, affordable home
in each of the neighborhoods. Knowing only the racial makeup of each location, which might they consider? At all dates,
white respondents’ willingness to live in a given neighborhood
was strongly influenced by the number of black families living
there: higher densities of African Americans meant fewer Caucasians would consider the place. In 2004, almost all said they
would consider a minimally-integrated neighborhood (the one
with a single black family), and 88 percent were still willing to
consider the neighborhood with three black households. While
in 1976 just 25 percent would consider the neighborhood that
was one-third black, a majority of the 2004 sample would.
Finally, shown the half-and-half neighborhood card, just one
in six 1976 respondents told us they would consider buying a
home there. By 2004, the number had doubled to one in three.
When people consider new homes, they are still influenced by the racial composition of the area. Importantly,
though, our repeated studies demonstrate that Detroit area
The pattern for African Americans is especially important in
light of the frequent assertion (by scholars and policymakers alike)
that black people prefer “50/50” neighborhoods. Using a tool
that measures preferences in the real world reveals far more flexibility on the part of African Americans—and also reinforces the
conclusion that race still matters for whites. This emerges again
when the microscope is turned on actual behaviors.
From neighborhood change to changing neighborhoods. Indexes of dissimilarity are a great window onto what
neighborhoods look like—from a distance—and how they have
or have not changed. But they come up short for understanding who is actually changing neighborhoods and what makes
its residents move. People move to new neighborhoods for lots
of different reasons—they move because they want a bigger
house or need to be closer to work or because the racial composition of the neighborhood is changing. The latter, in the
context of moves made by whites, is often referred to as “white
flight,” and it’s been examined extensively through the lens of
Census data. Now, another growing body of research—made
possible by longitudinal data—allows us to answer specific
questions about the moves people make and assess the extent
to which neighborhood racial composition, independent of a
variety of other individual and neighborhood characteristics,
leads people to make housing decisions that, taken together,
contribute to persistent patterns of segregation.
For example, we can assess not whether a neighborhood
has experienced racial change, but whether individuals change
neighborhoods in the face of a large or growing minority population. We can also determine who is more or less likely to
do so. Sociologists Kyle Crowder and Scott South find that,
quite apart from individual characteristics that predict mobility (such as age, presence of children, and homeownership),
and above and beyond other neighborhood characteristics (like
average income levels and stability), the greater the percentage of minority residents in a community, the greater the likelihood that white families will move to a new neighborhood.
Interestingly, in an earlier article, Crowder found no effect
depending on which racial/ethnic group is present (African
Americans, Asians, or Latinos); instead, white people are particularly likely to flee multi-ethnic neighborhoods. But whites
Francis Lawler famously defined integration as the
brief interval between the arrival of a neighborhood’s
first black family and the departure of its last
white one.
whites have become more willing to accept black neighbors,
are increasingly likely to remain when African Americans move
into their block, and, to a much greater degree than in the
past, are willing to consider buying new homes in racially-mixed
neighborhoods. The decrease in residential segregation in metropolitan Detroit—a 14 percent decline from 1980 to 2010—
is congruent with changes in racial attitudes.
cautious optimism
Changing racial attitudes demonstrate some areas of optimism in housing equality. After 1968, many local studies assessed
the effectiveness of the Fair Housing Law by sending first a white
summer 2011 contexts 41
and then a black home-buyer to a realtor to inquire about a
home. In many cases, racial discrepancies were found. Sometimes this led to litigation, but often the emphasis was simply
put on publicizing the discrimination. In 1977, the Department
of Housing and Urban Development undertook a similar national
assessment and dispatched matched pairs of white and black
“buyers” to ask about housing advertised in the major newspapers of large metropolises. That study was repeated in 1989 and
2000. They revealed an unambiguous trend toward more equitable treatment of African Americans. For instance, in 1989,
sales agents provided information about significantly more homes
when the tester was white. By 2000, there was no such difference. Differential treatment was not completely eliminated—
boomed after World War II, as white residents fled from cities
with their old stock of housing and their rapidly growing black
populations. In New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Detroit,
black families who tried to move to the suburbs were often
met with violence. Suburban officials, formally and informally,
let it be known that no African American was welcome (Mayor
Orville Hubbard of Dearborn, Michigan became a national symbol of the implacable opposition of suburban white residents
to black newcomers).
Forty years ago, public policy and housing scholar Anthony
Downs observed that opening suburban rings to African Americans was the only way to reduce segregation and avoid the
racial conflicts that the Kerner Commission predicted. Now black
families seeking housing commensurate
with their income increasingly consider
the suburbs—even those that once had
reputations for extreme hostility. In 1990,
42 percent of the African American residents of metropolitan areas lived in suburban rings, and, by
2010, it was 60 percent. Between 2000 and 2010, the cities of
Chicago and Detroit each lost 180,000 black residents. While
some moved to the South, it’s notable that gains in the suburban black populations roughly match the loss in the central cities.
Data from Census 2010 have not yet been fully exploited. In
some places, central city black areas may be spreading into the
suburbs, but it appears that much of the rapid African American
growth throughout the nation’s suburbs is in places that have been
traditionally white. Some blacks may still face discrimination if they
search for suburban homes but the suburbs are much more open
When people consider new homes, they are still
influenced by the racial composition of the area.
black testers were still shown more homes in racially-mixed
neighborhoods and brokers were more likely to praise homes in
white neighborhoods, for example—but it had certainly
decreased substantially. Before the Civil Rights Revolution, brokers were taught that they had an ethical obligation to maintain property values by never introducing a minority to a white
neighborhood. When real estate brokers are trained now, they
learn about federal laws and about costly judgments levied
against brokers and firms who discriminate.
Suburbanization offers another glimpse of positive
changes. In the Northeast and Midwest, suburban rings
living in neighborhoods experiencing recent growth in the black
population—though not the Asian or Latino population—are
especially likely to leave.
In analyses using the same longitudinal dataset, social
demographer Lincoln Quillian further demonstrates in Social
Science Research that stubborn patterns of segregation are
maintained to a great extent not only by the decisions of whites
to leave particular neighborhoods, but also by their choice of
destination (generally, neighborhoods with few black residents).
Crowder also highlights how context matters in whether
housing choices help perpetuate segregation. The abundant
availability of alternative, all-white communities and the presence of new housing developments both increase the likelihood that white residents will flee. Findings like this merit close
scrutiny, as they may provide clues as to why some cities have
shown promising signs of integration, while others remain
stubbornly segregated.
Implicit, if not explicit, in proclamations of a “post-racial
era” is the notion that people have become color blind. In
some respects, the attitudinal data and some concrete achieve-
42 contexts.org
ments support this contention. Slow but steady declines in segregation, for instance, might be understood as marking the
beginning of the end of “chocolate cities and vanilla suburbs.”
But other studies suggest a less sanguine conclusion. Landlords are not color blind when choosing tenants; residents are
not color blind when evaluating neighborhoods; and when
people—especially whites—make moves, they’re not color
blind. These more microscopic investigations of the patterns
and processes related to residential segregation and how race
plays a role, suggest possible answers to the pressing question: Why are levels of segregation not lower still?
Maria Krysan is in the sociology department and the Institute of Government
and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She studies racial residential segregation and racial attitudes.
to African Americans now than in the past.
A demographic trend flowing from changing racial attitudes promises to gradually reduce segregation: residential
integration within households. It’s an important trend, but
hasn’t been discussed in this context. Consider young men
who married in the years just before Census in 1970. Fewer
than 2 percent of black husbands had married white wives, but
that number rose to about 12 percent in the most recent Census. Black-white marriages are no longer rare. Further, the
mixed race population is growing; when first given the option
to identify with multiple races in Census 2000, about one million people chose both black and white. Ten years later, that
increased to 2.1 million. Data from the American Community
Survey also suggest that the tradition of white and black couples adopting children of their own race is giving way to a
pattern in which the race of the adopted child is less salient.
Racial residential segregation scores will decrease as more
households include members of both races.
recommended readings
So, do we live in a country where the color of your skin no
longer determines where you live? We certainly haven’t come
that far. Race still makes a difference, and, as last year’s census reports, there are dozens of census tracts in America’s older
cities that remain monochromatic (albeit with smaller populations than in the past). However, racial attitudes have changed,
the ideal of equal housing opportunities is well-accepted, and
many of the structures that created and maintained the American Apartheid system have been greatly weakened or removed.
The long trend toward lower levels of black-white segregation
seems sure to continue.
Taeuber, Alma F. and Karl E. Tauber. Negroes in Cities (Aldine,
1965). The first authoritative study of the extent, causes, and persistence of black-white residential segregation in the nation’s cities.
Glaeser, Edward, David Cutler, and Jacob Vigdor. “The Rise and
Decline of the American Ghetto,” Journal of Political Economy
(1999), 107:455-560. The first study to thoroughly measure and
describe the substantial late twentieth century decreases in blackwhite residential segregation.
Krysan, Maria, Reynolds Farley, Mick P. Couper, and Tyrone Forman. “Does Race Matter in Neighborhood Preferences? Results
from a Video Experiment,” American Journal of Sociology (2007),
115(2):527-559. Documents the subtle way in which the race influences the judgments whites make about their neighborhood and
its amenities.
Massey, Douglas S. and Nancy A. Denton. American Apartheid:
Segregation and the Making of the Underclass (Harvard University Press, 1993). This authoritative book documented the persistence of black-white residential segregation in the decades after
the Civil Rights Revolution and shows the consequences of segregation for preserving black-white differences in education and
income.
Sugrue, Thomas. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit (Princeton University Press, 1996). Elegantly
recounts black-white conflict in the neighborhoods of post-WWII
Detroit.
Reynolds Farley is in the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. He has conducted research about racial trends
in the United States since the 1960s and maintains a website about the history and
future of Detroit at Detroit1701.org.
AD
summer 2011 contexts 43
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction prohibited without permission.
Sociology 101:
Summary Paper 3
Summary Paper 3: Race/Ethnic Stratification
For this week, you have been assigned to read The Waning of American Apartheid? by Farley,
and Racial Formation Theory by Jacobson. You have also listened to a This American Life
podcast (#512, House Rules). Jacobson helps us understand how race/ethnicity are formed in
society, whereas the Farley article discusses how housing and residential segregation has
decreased over the past 30 years, and points to some of the changes in mentality that are
correlated with the change. Meanwhile, the podcast episode examines how housing
discrimination continues to be a meaningful issue in American cities, what has and has not been
done, and how the issue connects to the broader political economy of society. For your paper,
please address the following questions:
1. Farley describes some recent changes in residential segregation. What are the trends in
racial residential segregation, and where have these changes been occurring most rapidly?
How have these changes correlated with changing perceptions about residential
integration among individuals? Finally, Farley ends with a list of reasons to be optimistic
about residential segregation. What are some of the reasons he cites?
2. Briefly summarize the podcast episode, House Rules. How is residential segregation
perpetuated in society today, and how have the forms of segregation changed over time?
Why is housing and housing segregation so important for inequality in American society,
and why does this make it so hard to address? What are the political and legal forces that
help shape housing discrimination, and how does enforcement (or lack of enforcement)
perpetuate discrimination?
3. The Farley article and the podcast present two different perspectives on residential
segregation. Is it necessarily the case that one has to be wrong? If not, how are they able
to discuss the same problem from two perspectives at the same time? Further, how do the
issues raised by the This American Life podcast complicate Farley’s reasons for cautious
optimism? Will future steps toward more integrated neighborhoods be easier or more
complicated?
Requirements:
Formatting: The paper will be 2.5-3 pages (absolutely no more than 3) typed pages in Times
New Roman, 12 point font and with 1 inch margins on all sides. Please single space
your paper’s heading, but double space the body of your paper.
Submission: You will submit a hard copy at the beginning of class. If you have printer
problems, or do not attend class that day, you may submit a version to me by email and
receive a 5 point deduction per day late.
Citations: You will include in-text citations that include the page number for any reference to the
book or assigned media. Additional citations are welcome, but note required. If you cite
additional sources, you must include a work cited page and you will cite your sources
in a consistent and scholarly manner (ASA, APA, or MLA formats are acceptable).
Plagiarism: Your paper will not be plagiarized in any way. This means that your paper will be
exclusively your work, it will not be fabricated in any way, and all work will be produced
specifically for this assignment. Plagiarism includes making minor alterations to large
chunks of text, and submitting it as your own work. A large portion of this assignment is
to demonstrate that you understand the material, that you can apply the material in the
real world, and that you are capable of thinking and writing about sociological concepts
and processes. Plagiarizing the work of others does not do any of these things.

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